Women in the war Feed

Marriage And The Civil War

Unidentified Soldier In Union Uniform With Family-Marriage And The Civil War

Nearly 620,000 men were killed in the war, a number approximately equal to the deaths in all other American wars from the Revolution to the Korean War combined. The deaths of huge numbers of men, rendered “the assumption that every woman would be a wife … questionable, perhaps untenable.” 

As young American women watched the death and destruction from war surround them, they began to face a very real fear that marriage for their generation might not be as assured as it had been for their mothers. These fears were grounded in the reality that the war was leaving the number of marriage-age men and women dramatically unbalanced. The desire of women to marry quickly led to a wartime marriage boom.  Richmond, the Confederate capital, hosted hundreds of wartime marriages, leading observers to marvel at the “marriage frenzy.”

The 1890 census, taken about 20 years after the war, confirmed that marriage age had increased slightly. Most women who married post-war did so at the age of 23, while most men married at 27. In the hard-hit South, the 1860s saw a lag in marriage rates, but 92 percent of the women who came of marriage age during the war eventually married. 

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

Va. group looks to honor female Civil War soldiers with monument


  • 1835061
  • 1835051

 This is a Civil War era photo provided by the Library of Congress shows Frances Clalin Clayton, who disguised herself as a man, "Jack Williams," to fight in the Civil War.  (Library of Congress | via Associated Press)

Onofrio Castiglia, The Winchester Star
The Associated Press
© May 24, 2015


When considering the millions of men who fought in the American Civil War, one local group highlights the fact that some of them were not men at all — but women, in disguise.

On May 15, Steve Killings, board president of The Academy for Veteran Education and Training — an educational nonprofit group located at Historic Jordan Springs — said that the organization is trying to erect a monument to honor the more than 500 women who posed as men so they could fight.

According to the Civil War Trust, more than 3 million soldiers fought in the war (about 620,000 lost their lives, nearly as many as all other American conflicts combined).

Killings said that there is no memorial anywhere dedicated to the little-known group of women who fought as valiantly as their male counterparts, and not as nurses or seamstresses, but as combat soldiers.

"There have been 513 positively identified women who fought in the war," Killings said. "It's a field that's not very well documented because women had to hide their identities."

According to Killings, Tonie Wallace and Greig Aitken — the owners of Historic Jordan Springs — are donating a portion of their land to the public trust for construction of the monument.

He said that Jordan Springs is an ideal spot, as it is close to battlefield sites in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia and a scenic drive from Washington, D.C.

"This area is Civil War history-central," Killings said. "It really is a perfect place for (the monument)."

Apart from being one of a kind, Killings said the monument — titled Glory Honor's Stone — will also stand out in that it will house a data depository where academics and historians can preserve collections of related documents and artifacts.

An online funding campaign has been launched in support of the monument. A stated goal of the fundraising is to "inspire and validate all American female soldiers now and in the future for their brave service and sacrifices."

The fundraising is being done through razoo.com — a crowdfunding website — and the goal to be reached is $75,000 in three months.

Killings said that the project got underway at Jordan Springs on May 8, when representatives of U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, R-10th, and state Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville, attended a meeting for the project.

Brig Gen. Wilma Vaught, founder of the female veterans memorial in Arlington, was also present at the meeting, Killings said.

He said the monument will be accessible to the public and is meant to be a Virginia State Park, though he believes there is the potential for it to be a national monument.

"The idea is to make this a state park, but we're seeing interest on the national level as well."

Anyone wishing to donate to the project can visit razoo.com/story/Glory-Honor-S-Stone-A-Monument-For-Women-Soldiers-Of-The-American-Civil-War.

Additional information can be found on the monument's Facebook page at facebook.com/womenscivilwarmemorial.

From: Hamptonroads.com

Anna Elizabeth Dickinson- A Name Lost To History

Colorized photo by Stacey Palmer thecivilwarparlor tumblr.com

Civil War Era-
 Orator, Abolitionist, Women’s Advocate, Author, Playwright And Actress

  •  First woman to speak before the United States Congress
  •  First white woman on record to climb Colorado’s Longs Peak in 1873.

One newsman wrote that she “could hold her audience spellbound for as much as two hours.  She gave the impression of being under some magical control.” Averaging a speech every other day, she earned as much as twenty thousand dollars annually – an amazing amount for that era.

In 1861 she held a position at the U.S. mint in Philadelphia, but she was fired for publicly accusing General George B. McClellan of treason in the loss of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. Thereafter she devoted herself to the speaker’s platform.

She addressed venereal disease in a lecture titled “Between Us Be Truth” and spoke on polygamy in “Whited Sepulchers.”  Her most popular talk was about Joan of Arc, and some people referred to her as the “Civil War’s Joan of Arc.”  She also published several books, the most radical of which was a novel sympathetic to interracial marriage, What Answer? (1868).

By 1891, showed such signs of paranoia that she was involuntarily committed to a Pennsylvania hospital for the insane.  She filed lawsuits upon her release, was adjudicated sane, and recovered damages from newspapers – but the experience shook her self-confidence and ended her career. Fame arguably had come too easily, too early in her life.  Although she was a genuine celebrity and an asset to the Union in the Civil War, Anna Dickinson lived the next forty years in the households of friends, unnoticed and unwanted by the public.  She died just days before her ninetieth birthday.


Colorized photo by Stacey Palmer thecivilwarparlor tumblr.com

Confederate White House housekeeper

Confederate Housekeeper660Mary OMelia is seen in an undated photo provided by the American Civil War Museum. OMelia served at the White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va.,as housekeeper for Jefferson Davis and his first lady, Varina Davis, and was a confidante of the first lady.The American Civil War Museum

RICHMOND, Va. –  Mary O'Melia left Ireland for America as a young widow with three children before she was hired as housekeeper at the White House of the Confederacy. An intimate witness to history, she also has been much of a mystery.

That was until this year, when a woman with a distinctive Irish lilt to her voice called The American Civil War Museum. The housekeeper, the woman said, was related to her late husband, and she had in her possession a necklace that Confederate first lady Varina Davis gave O'Melia.

But there was more.

"What really took my breath away is she said she had a photograph of Mary," said Cathy Wright, curator at the Civil War Museum, formerly the Museum of the Confederacy.

 "Considering that it's been almost 150 years since she left the White House that anyone has been able to look at her face is just remarkable," Wright said in an interview.

Continue reading "Confederate White House housekeeper" »

Widow Of Civil War General Philip Sheridan

Widow Of Civil War General Philip Sheridan

The wife of Lieutenant General Philip Sheridan and the daughter ofBrigadier General Daniel H. Rucker (also buried at Arlington). She was born in 1856 at Fort Union, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) and married Sheridan in Chicago on June 3, 1875. She is buried in Section 2 with her husband.

Chicago Daily News, Inc., photographer. CREATED/PUBLISHED
[1924 July 16?]

Half-length portrait of Mrs. Philip Sheridan, widow of Civil War General Philip Sheridan, smiling and sitting in an upholstered chair with a fan in her lap in a room in Chicago, Illinois.


Mrs. Philip H. Sheridan, 83, widow of the Union Army’s Cavalry leader, died yesterday afternoon at her home, 2211 Massachusetts Avenue N. W., Washington, D. C., after a long illness. The home is a short distance from Sheridan circle and the equestrian statue of her husband. Death came nearly half a century after the death of her famous husband.

Last of the widows of top-flight Union Army leaders, Mrs. Sheridan was a noted beauty and popular in Washington society.

All her life, Mrs. Sheridan had lived in Army circles. She was the daughter of General D. H. Rucker, who was Quartermaster General of the Army. About 24 years younger than General Sheridan, who was born in 1831, Mrs. Sheridan spent most of her girlhood in Washington and at Army posts. She was born at Fort Union, New Mexico.

While a bridesmaid at a wedding in Chicago, in 1874, Irene Rucker met General Sheridan, who made his headquarters there. For the next few months he courted her steadily, and contemporaries still recall the hero of the Civil War and “pretty Miss Rucker’ riding down Wabash avenue in an open carriage. They were married the following year.

This photo negative taken by a Chicago Daily News photographer. Cite as: DN-0077384, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/ireneruc.htm

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

Making Havelocks for the Volunteers

During the four years he spent documenting the Civil War for Harper’s Weekly, Winslow Homer also depicted the war’s effect on those back at home. Two months after the conflict broke out, he highlighted the domestic role of women in this illustration of a sewing circle in which respectable young women diligently sew uniforms and attach havelocks (sun-shielding coverings) to the back of military hats. Though the image seems to be one of tranquillity and comfort, the ladies’ somber expressions hint at the emotional restraint exercised at this urgent and uncertain time. The large flag at right and the portrait of the soldier at left suggest both the patriotic and personal devotion behind the women’s work.

Nancy Hart Douglas-(1846–1913)- One tough Southern Lady


  • DSC04234-1
  • 1897934_623339797747478_631945185579563769_n
  • 10153054_623339764414148_152736068885717573_n

Nancy, joined the Moccasin Rangers-they were pro-southern guerrillas until 1862. Nancy served as a Confederate scout, guide and spy. She carried messages between the Southern Armies traveling alone by night and slept during the day. Nancy also was an "underground" worker. She saved the lives of many wounded Confederate Soldiers hiding them with sympathizers and often nursing them to health again. Nancy served as a guide for Confederate detachments. She peddled eggs and veggies to Yankee's to spy on them. She hung around isolated Federal outposts in the mountains, to report their strength, population and vulnerability to General Jackson. Nancy led Jackson's Cavalry on several raids against Union Troops.

In the summer of 1862, the wrathful Federals offered a large reward for Nancy with the order of her arrest. Nancy was twenty years old when she was captured by the Yankees. Lt. Col. Starr of the 9th West Virginia captured Nancy at a log cabin, while she was crushing corn. A young female friend was also captured with her. Nancy was jailed in the upstairs portion of a dilapidated house with soldiers quartered down stairs and a sentry guarding her in the room, at all times. Guards constantly patrolled the building on every side.

Nancy gained the trust of one of her guards. She was able to get his weapon from him and she shot him dead. Nancy then dived headlong out the open window into a clump of tall jimson weeds. She took Lt. Col. Starr's horse, and rode bare back. She was clinging low to the horse's neck, Indian fashion. About a week later at 4:00 o'clock in the morning, July 25, 1862, Nancy returned to Summersville with 200 of Jackson's Cavalry led by Major R. Augustus or Col. George Patton's 22nd Virginia Infantry. Nancy was still riding Lt. Col. Starr's horse. They raided the town, setting fire to three houses, including the commissary store house, destroyed two wagons, and took eight mules and twelve horses, as well as several prisoners, including Lt. Co. Starr.

From Defending the Heritage on Face Book

Emilie Todd Helm

Emilie Todd Helm (1836-1930) “Rebel In The White House”

 “The child has a tongue like the rest of the Todds.” —

Abraham Lincoln

Emilie Todd was Mary Todd Lincoln’s half-sister. In 1856 she married Benjamin Helm, a Confederate general. After Helm’s death in 1863 Emily Helm passed through Union Lines to visit her sister in the White House. This caused great consternation in the Northern newspapers. Emily Helm took an oath of loyalty to the Union and was granted amnesty.

As one of Robert Smith Todd’s younger daughters, Emilie was a beautiful debutante from a wealthy and influential Kentucky family when she married Ben Hardin Helm in 1856.  Widowed when General Helm, the last commander of the “Orphan Brigade,” fell at Chickamauga, Emilie and her daughter Katherine accepted the offer of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln to stay with them in Washington during the winter of 1863-64. 

While there, even though she kept a very low public profile, Emilie was labeled the “Rebel in the White House” with her presence causing the Lincolns some political discomfort.  Lincoln’s comment was made to a complaining General Daniel E. Sickles, after Sickles had baited Emilie by stating that the Confederate soldiers were“scoundrels [that] ran like scared rabbits” at Chattanooga.  Emily retorted that the Confederate soldiers had only “followed the example the Federals had set them at Bull Run and Manassas.”  Later in her life, Emilie was appointed postmistress of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and became known as the “Mother of the Orphan Brigade” for her continued support to the survivors in the years after the Civil War.  Additionally, Emilie became an inveterate letter writer, genealogist, and raconteur, as evidenced by her collection of papers held in the Kentucky Historical Society. 

Source: Kentucky Historical Society Collections

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr




Her struggles to reconcile being the sister of a Confederate soldier and the wife of a Union officer.

Septima Levy Collis was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1842. She married Charles H. T. Collis of Philadelphia in 1861.  He joined the 18th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment at the start of the war and returned to Philadelphia to form a company known as the Zouaves D’ Afrique.  

"I have no hesitation in calling what I am about to write a "war record," for my life was "twice in jeopardy," as will be seen later on, and I served faithfully as a volunteer, though without compensation, during the entire war of the Rebellion. It is true I was not in the ranks, but I was at the front, and perhaps had a more continuous experience of army life during those four terribly eventful years than any other woman of the North. Born in Charleston, S. C., my sympathies were naturally with the South, but on December 9, 1861, I became a Union woman by marrying a Northern soldier in Philadelphia. The romance which resulted in this desertion to the enemy would perhaps interest the reader, yet I do not propose to tell it; for I am sure sure the very realistic life which it enabled me to experience for three winters in camp at army headquarters will interest him more. My first commander was Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, to whom I reported on December 11, 1861, at Frederick, Md., where my bridegroom was then a captain of an independent company, which he named and equipped as "Zouaves d’Afrique."

Despite her southern sympathies, Collis supported her husband and accompanied him throughout the war.  Her memoir, A Woman’s War Record, recounts her experiences at the front lines as well as social life away from camp, including the time she met President Abraham Lincoln. Of particular note are her struggles to reconcile being the sister of a Confederate soldier and the wife of a Union officer. She wrote:

"My brother, David Cardoza Levy … was about this time killed at the battle of Murfreesborough …This was the horrible episode of the civil war to me, and although I had many relatives and hosts of friends serving under the Confederate flag all the time, I never fully realized the fratricidal character of the conflict until I lost my idolized brother Dave of the Southern army one day, and was nursing my Northern husband back to life the next."

Collis’ experiences were far from unique. During the war, families were divided from loved ones for a myriad of reasons – whether ideological disagreements, geographical separations, or the strain of war itself. Numerous accounts, both published and private, document the distress, helplessness, and emotional turmoil that families often felt as the result of these challenging circumstances.



Elizabeth Temms


by Renee Murphy


Originally Posted on September 5, 2012 

(WHAS11) -- A national landmark divided.  On one side the Civil War's Union soldiers and on the other, the Confederate soldiers and one civilian, a woman by the name of Elizabeth Temms.

“This cemetery is simply an outdoor museum, a time capsule. Everyone in here has a unique story. Elizabeth Temms story is just a little bit more unique,” said J. Michael Higgs, with the Cave Hill Heritage Foundation.

At Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville sits a tombstone with barely visible markings.  It’s the site of Temms burial.

Temms helped Confederate soldiers avoid a Union ambush on her plantation in Georgia.

“She alerted the confederacy that the union was sitting there and waiting for them so they were able to thwart their attempt and she was then thrown in jail by the Union forces,” said Higgs.

Temms was taken to a prison for the Confederates at 12th and Broadway in Louisville.  

“General Sherman had no compassion when it came to sympathizers to the South. They were all cast in jail and Elizabeth Temms was thrown in an ice house on the prison grounds.” Said Higgs.

The Cemetery wants to restore Temms grave marker, and they explained why it's important to preserve a piece of history that is still divisive to this day.

“History is history and some of it is good and some of it is bad. We simply cannot neglect the fact that the civil war happened. There was a Union, there was a confederacy, this is just a simple part of history.”