The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

Women’s Roles

Were all mothers and fathers, then, patriotic?

They all appeared to be. We cannot know what they thought in the recesses of their hearts, but in public virtually everyone appeared committed to the cause. In New York City, it was the cause of commerce and of Union; in New Orleans it was the cause of freedom (from the Yankees) and commerce. To be sure, the initial patriotism waned when the first soldiers lacking limbs came home, or did not return at all.

Just as virtually everyone asserted his or her patriotism at the war’s beginning, almost everyone expressed shock when the casualty lists appeared. No one had warned the general public of the dangers of this war, or the ways in which the instruments of destruction had increased in power.


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