The Civil War was a huge aspect in America’s history. This could seem quite obvious but it did indeed leave a very large footprint in the plan for America. If it weren’t for the Civil War our nation could possibly be split as of today. Fortunately, America is only one nation, under God, to quote Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address. During the Civil War there were many contributors, one of the many just so happened to be women. Women in general did a massive amount of help during this war. It is depressing to look back now and notice the little thanks they received.
Therefore looking back we are sure to recognize those women and how they contributed. Women had large roles and many different jobs and talents put to use in the Civil War. To begin, the Civil War was fought over the decision to extend slavery into the western lands or to abolish slavery altogether. Even conversations about this topic brought uproars and debates. According to the New York: Columbia University Press, “The election of the anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln caused the southern states to secede from the Union to form the Confederate States of America. As a huge conflict, the slaves were set center stage and all the commotion was directed towards slavery and whether or not to keep it. In this war, however, women wanted to be part of it. Usually women were pushed out of the picture and this was a man’s job. Women worked their way into the war in many different ways, though. Secondly, Women contributed as nurses in the Civil War.
The general idea of a nurse is usually females, and in this case, females were the majority. “At the beginning of the war, nurses were merely volunteers who showed up at military hospitals. ” (Ed. Brigham Narins) Throughout the war they began to establish certain groups of nurse teams and those teams would be assigned to different hospital tents. Eventually the nurse system became very organized and some nurses would even help wounded soldiers on both side of the battle. There were many nurses who then went off and accomplished many different things like writing books. Clearly, nursing was one of the many different things that women did in the war. To go more in-depth, a very famous female nurse in the Civil War was Clara Barton. Clara was first known for founding the American Red Cross.
She was also the first woman to work for the US Patent Office, as well as being the first woman to receive the same income as her male coworkers. However, when the war came around Clara stepped away from her position to tend to wounded soldiers. Clara declined any salary or pay whatsoever for tending to the sick and injured soldiers of the war. Gale, Cengage Learning informs us that, “Previously, it was unprecedented for women to be on the front-line, but Barton eventually became so trusted that she worked exclusively on battlefields for much of her career.
Mrs. Clara Barton soon became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” and was eventually made Superintendent of the Union nurses. Barton witnessed sixteen different battle fields and so inclined her to encourage the United States to adopt the Red Cross model she has seen when working for the US Patent Office. And ultimately, she pushed it far enough that they passed the patent for American Red Cross because of Clara Benton. Next, women served as spies in the Civil War. This sounds surprising at first but its rather reasonable.
A general wouldn’t expect a woman serving them or bandaging their wounds to be paying attention to what they’re saying, much less understand what they would be talking about. The spies also helped move slaves, through the famous Underground Railroad. Research in Context says, “Harriet Tubman volunteered for the Union as a cook and a nurse before she was recruited by Union officers to establish a network of spies in South Carolina made up of former slaves. ” Tubman also did many other things that had to do with the Underground Railroad, her name found its way to fame. Spies were only one job that women occupied in the Civil War.
To continue, women dressed themselves as men and fought in battle as well. There were a number of women in battle, more than one would imagine at first. Nobody really knew, though, until after the war was over. They would find the bodies of women who they expected to be women and they would notice women in hospital tents as well as them coming clean after the war was finished. According to Liane Hansen, “There was a women from Saunemin, Illinois who served in the Civil War — one of the hundreds of women who served secretly in the conflict. You see, Jennie Hodgers passed herself off as a man, Albert Cashier.
This was not the first case of a woman in the war, of course. In fact there are many other names that come up when searching for women who fought in the Civil War. Another great example of a woman in combat in the Civil War is Martha Coston. She not only fought in the war, she also invented the chemical-based signal flare as well as being a single mother at the same time. Her husband had the idea for the flare, but she was the one who put it into action after her husband passed away. The Encyclopedia of World Biography states, “Coston taught herself chemistry, pyrotechnics, and the art of procuring lucrative government-defense contracts.
Her patented Coston signal flare was widely used in the decades before the development of ship-to-shore radios and other types of electronic maritime communication. ” This woman was a busy one. After the Coston signal flare was patented and manufactured, the family help up the business. They then manufactured the flares themselves and they were quickly adopted by the Union Army warship commanders during the Civil War. Furthermore, it’s sometimes hard to understand why women weren’t allowed to fight in the war, in present day we have females overseas.
Back in the day, women were not seen as equal, in fact they were ranked just above the slave population. When Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he referred to all men being equal, but the category of men were only discussing white males who owned land. This left out females and children as well as all the black population, even in the slave was freed. But when it came to this Civil War they managed to find their way around it. ” It was the Victorian era and women were mostly confined to the domestic sphere. Both the Union and Confederate armies actually forbade the enlistment of women. (Gale, Research in Context) There is proof that neither side accepted women into the war. Included in the efforts were women who weren’t in combat nor did they serve as nurses, they simply helped from their home. Women from both the North and the South side made many contributions to the war efforts. Some wives donated handmade goods for the soldiers.
Others volunteered their time in different charities to help raise the funds for the war. As it is, women took up many tasks usually performed by the men of the colonies. Reason being, is that during the war there were few male workers who weren’t enrolled in the war. For example, most workers in ordnance laboratories and factories (places that developed and manufactured ammunition) were women, as were many telegraph operators. ” (Patricia D. Netzley) As a closer example, women in the south would sew clothing as it was running shy as the war progressed. Obviously, there were women who contributed to the war efforts behind the scenes. The Civil War brought upon The Sanitary Commission. Women came together in over 7,000 Northern cities to form the U. S. Sanitary Commission. This standardized and upgraded the care of soldiers during wartime.
It was founded in 1861 and was named the Women’s Central Relief Association of New York and nicknamed by the soldiers “The Sanitary. ” According to American Journey, “Soldiers hailed the arrival of medicine and care with the call, ‘how are you, Sanitary? ’” This group raised money for supplies and trained nurses. Also, they organized bazaars and fairs to help raise money for the widows, disabled soldiers and orphans. This organization also traveled long journeys to visit men in remote army encampments, just to be a smiling face greeting them.
The Sanitary Commission was a job well done by the women during the war. When the war ended there was still hardships and grief for the women whose husband, brother, or son were in the Civil War. This war placed a terrible emotional burden on women from the North just as much as the South side. During the war, they were at home worrying constantly for the men they sent into war. There was reports in the newspaper about the battles and the women followed that diligently, but they mostly just waited anxiously for their loved ones to come home.
Kevin and Laurie Hillstrom note, “Throughout the war years, women often gathered at train stations across the country to hear the names of the dead called, and to comfort those who were grieving afterward. The endless fear and sadness took a heavy toll on them. ” When looking back over the war, there were many grieving women stuck at home. In conclusion, Women had large roles and many different jobs and talents put to use in the Civil War. Many women contributed as nurses and spies. Others enlisted themselves and dressed as men to fight in battles and march with the soldiers.
Also, there were many women who took on male roles back home, such as working in factories and other business around their community. And of course, there were the kind women who worked to help the soldiers from home. They would sew clothing for the soldiers as well as make homemade goods. Finally, there was the amazing organization of The Sanitation Commission, which was considered a huge help to the soldiers who were wounded or just all around depressed. To end, there were very many roles in the war that occupied women.