For the Cause: Women and
During both the American Revolution and the Civil War, women
variety of jobs, all in support of the cause. The term "war
usually refers to a man who unselfishly risks his life to fight.
very few women actually went into battle, they were as heroic as
men who did. This is the frontispeice image from L. P.
book entitled Women's Work in the Civil War. It is an
by H. L. Stephens with a quote by Barbara Frietchie below it
'Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, but spare your
the American Revolution, it was common knowledge that in order for
nation to survive as a republic, citizens had to practice virtue,
willingness to give up personal interests for the common good.
had to be patriotic, moralistic, and of course, virtuous. The
virtue gave women's domestic role much more recognized importance
previously had had. Women took on an important supportive role by
goods and increasing home production. They also became "Deputy
taking over their husbands' responsibilities while he was away at
image to the left, a widely circulated 1780 broadside, describes how
felt about their role in the war effort and the years following
Click on the image to enlarge.
|This Civil War broadside, written by a
woman, pledged to support the United States and refrain from extra
and luxuries in order to help strengthen the armies and bring an end
the war. Not unlike women of the Revolutionary generation, these
willing to do whatever was needed for the greater good, even if
self-sacrifice. Though not shown, this broadside includes space
pledge for women to sign their names and places of residences. Click
the image to enlarge.
Many women took on a more active role by becoming nurses in the
A few women became well known for their efforts, but many others
anonymous. They all served selflessly, even if it meant leaving
families for an extended period of time.
The image at top right is entitled, "Leaving the Hospital
for the Battle Field," from Frank Moore's 1866 book Women
The bottom right image shows a woman writing a letter for an
soldier, fromWinslow Homer's series of lithographs called
Sketches, published by Louis Prang & Co. in 1863. It is
"The Letter for Home."
|Though it was unusual, some
were brave enough to enlist in the army by disguising themselves as
Of the women who did enlist, a few openly enlisted as women, gaining
for their heroism. The woman in uniform is Kady Brownell, who became
for saving lives on the battlefield. This image comes from Frank
1866 book Women of the War. The image on the left is an
announcing the lecture of Mrs. F. L. Clatin, a former female cavalry
disguised as a man during Civil War. Click on this image to