Women in the South

The American Civil War rattled the lives of both civilians and women of the South as the Northern soldiers trampled their homelands. Unlike in the North, civilians had to endure warfare in their own lands. The two images below illustrate the Union soldiers in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The illustrations show a glimpse of how the lives of the Southerners were disturbed. Both images show areas of the town getting burned. Civilians and women at times displayed hostility towards the Union soldiers because of such occurrences as displayed in the two images. Despite the chaos unfolding in Fredericksburg, women did their best to ensure the South’s devastation was as minimal as possible. The women employed resiliency, intelligence and resourcefulness to achieve to minimize the damage. The Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia was an excellently documented battle that illustrates the hardships of civilians and women during the American Civil War. 

When Northern soldiers started arriving before the commencement of the Battle of Fredericksburg, there were no displays of violence.  Initially, civilians responded with indifference. Most of them simply cursed the Union soldiers under their breaths and went on with their daily lives.[1] As the war progressed, they became increasingly violent towards the Union soldiers especially since they felt the threat against them escalate. Violence surely escalated and chaos was unfolding right outside of homes of civilians.[2] There were civilians who decided to flee while others remained in Fredericksburg and hid.

The diary of a woman named Mrs. Judith Brockenbrough McGuire tells a story of a Fredericksburg family. They fled with their two children and servant as the battle escalated in their area.[3] They had nowhere to go yet they knew they had to escape their town.[4] This family is one of the numerous families that decided to flee to escape imminent danger as the war progressed.

After the Battle of Fredericksburg, the civilians suffered from hunger pangs as the destruction resulted in the halt of agriculture. They had to repair their homes and salvaged as much as they could from the rubbles of their destroyed town. For the most part, civilians worked

[1] Fred SpotNPS, “Civilians and the Civil War” YouTube.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Matthew Page Andrews, Women of the South in War Times, 184.

[4] Ibid, 185.