The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

Parents’ Roles

What were mothers like?

The short answer is that they were quite different in 1865 from what they had been in 1861. When the war began, there was an upwelling of patriotism—North and South—a rush of adrenaline if one likes, that lasted for almost a year. When that was exhausted, the people at home had to make adjustments.

Some Northern women entered factories. Thousands upon thousands of Southern women knitted socks and caps for the soldiers. Some women dropped everything to become army nurses, and others actually dressed as men to serve in battle. Just how the children at home coped remains one of the mysteries of the time.


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