Civil War Women
"The story of the war will never be fully or fairly written if the achievements of women in it are untold."
Frank Moore
Women of the War, 1867
Women may have been little recognized for their contributions to the war effort, but they were not untouched. In reality, hardly a woman was not impacted by the war. Fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons were away fighting. Many women were left at home to fend for themselves, keep a family going, or maintain a business. Some went out and raised awareness and support for the needs of the troops, working with an expanding network of women. Others took their expected roles of nurturing, encouraging, and sustaining outside the home, to the soldiers in the field and in hospitals.

Women got involved in varying degrees and on different levels—local, regional, or national. Some gave what time and money they could, even if it was a little. Others traveled to the soldiers, working in horrendous conditions, all hours of the day and night, sacrificing their good health and even, in some cases, their lives. Aid societies, hospitals, the U.S. Sanitary Commission, the U.S. Sanitary Commission Hospital Transport Service, and other groups had a positive impact on the war effort because of the contributions of women. Other women went a little more outside the bounds and spied for their cause or followed a particular unit as a daughter of the regiment. There even have been numerous discoveries of women who disguised themselves as men in order to serve as soldiers.

Throughout history, war has often provided opportunities for women to go outside their sphere. The advancements made by women during war have not always been permanent in their time, but women did show what they were capable of doing. During the Civil War, women wanted to alleviate the suffering and, in the view of many, simply do their duty as the men did theirs. After the war, women would look back on their experiences as something that shaped them, and the war. What would "the story of the war" have been without the contributions of women?

women_home civil war nurses sanitary commission daughters of the regiment women's service in the west relief societies naval academy hospital transport service