The Civilian Experience
After being mere spectators at the war's early battles, civilians in the war zone later would become unwilling participants and victims of the war's expanding scope and horror.
In response to the hardships imposed upon their fellow citizens by the war, governments and civilians on both sides mobilized to provide comfort, encouragement, and materiel goods. On the other hand, the Confederate government failed almost completely to care for the families of its soldiers.
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The extreme demands of wartime industry and the loss of traditional family breadwinners to military service caused hardship, but also presented opportunities to women for employment, volunteerism, and activism that previously had been unavailable to them. While many of these gains would be temporary, the Civil War nonetheless represents an important step forward in American society's view of the role of women. Women were increasingly seen (and saw themselves) as the foundation of the respective war efforts-sustainers of the will to fight - or to desert. Read more
Petersburg National Battlefield
With more than 4 million men serving in the Union and Confederate armies during the course of the war, women during had opportunities to contribute to both the military and society in general in ways never before imagined. At the Union supply base at City Point, Virginia, as throughout the country, women served important roles as caregivers, laborers, hospital managers and more. Read more