Jacquie Burkhardt

During the civil war women took on a lot of duties. Women in the civil war were characterized as the supporters of the war effort. Many women worked as nurses, civil rights advocates and suppliers of food, equipment and money. Their social role was to aid the war effort by providing for the soldiers. A lot of women opened their homes and supplies to troops traveling through, this was almost expected of them to do. It was expected of women to contribute in some way to the war effort, either through providing supplies, acting as nurses or as part of the group that traveled with the soldiers. Some women were more vocal and contributed greatly to the civil rights and abolitionist movements.

At the time of the civil war women were in what has been described as the “cult of domesticity” and all their duties were within the home. Their roles in the war reflected this. Most of the duties were things that they had been doing at home, like providing meals or keeping the camp orderly and clean. However the war also brought along room for change. As the men starting leaving for the war, many voids in daily life began to be filled by women. Women wanted a chance to participate in the lives that men lived, free from society’s restrictions on their role. War gave some a chance to do just that. Some women went even farther and completely went against society’s role for them. There are over 400 counts of women fighting in battles disguised as men. In one account, it wasn’t revealed that the soldier was a women, until she gave birth in the camp. War offered a chance to not be confined by the standards of society. The roles of women in the Civil War both reflected the current social roles of women and allowed for some women to break out of these norms.

Picture: http://www.civilwarsignals.org/pages/articles/womensoldiers.html