Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Women in the Civil War: North and South
My favorite things are anything vintage.
Stuffed away in my closet I have a blue parasol trimmed with white lace, a pair of old lace-up, pointy boots.
And a hoop skirt.
As flighty and unpredictable as any belle from the Civil War.
But the reality of the role of women during the War Between the States is more than flirty belles twirling a pretty parasol. Women worked as nurses, volunteered as soldiers, risked their lives as spies. They were The Women of the Civil War: North and South.
This is the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War. I've always loved this era since I first saw Scarlett sitting on the front porch at Tara with the Tarleton Twins and pooh-poohing the idea of war coming. So I've just finished my own Civil War novel--a time travel...more about that coming up. I'll update as things progress.
One thing the women of the North and South had in common was their love for the men fighting. They became nurses, took wounded into their homes, sewed blankets and uniforms, baked breads and jellies, and fought beside them. They did everything they could to help their cause.
Can you imagine living in a time when wearing a corset day and night was required? Women found themselves not only hampered by stays, but petticoats and those hoop skirts. I got my hoop skirt from the costume department in a theater where I worked years ago...they were throwing it away!! No, I couldn't have that. I was thrilled to take it off their hands. Since then, I've worn it under a Civil War era gown to commemorative events, book signings, and costume parties.
When I was writing my CW time travel, I put it on again. Just to get the feel of what it was like.
Floating...is how I would describe it.
It's so important to walk the walk, talk the talk of the time. I'm fascinated with the women who fought as soldiers. Imagine trying to keep your identity secret among a bunch of rowdy troops. Not easy. According to reports, many women signed up to get a regular paycheck. How about being a nurse? You had to be over thirty and plain.
And what about being a spy? Sounds glamorous...but dangerous. Imagine hiding a letter written in cipher in your pantaloons.
Thanks for stopping by...and as I mentioned, more about my Civil War time travel when I have news!