Women of the Civil War Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1469 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

¶ … Civil War era [...] important women of the Civil War, including the way women were treated and the various roles they played in relation to the civil war. Of course, there were thousands, even millions of women who played crucial roles on both sides fighting the Civil War. Women had to stay home and run the farms and plantations in the South when their men marched off to war. In the North, women turned to nursing and taking care of the homes when their men left to fight. Every woman played a crucial role in their families during the Civil War, but there were some who truly stand out as women and as public servants, and whose accomplishments are still important today.

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Women served in many ways during the Civil War. Some worked as nurses and doctors. Some actually dressed as men and fought in the war. Some spied for the North, and some for the South, bringing back valuable information that military leaders put to good use. One of these spies was Belle Boyd. Boyd is probably one of the most well-known female Confederate spies since she wrote about her encounters after the war and even toured the country talking about them. She was successful because the Union men did not expect a woman to be a spy, and because she understood how to deal with men and to play up to their male pride while obtaining the secret information she wanted. One historian notes, "With the element of surprise as her weapon, Belle succeeded in securing and transmitting information so valuable to Confederate troops that Stonewall Jackson commissioned her a captain and made her an honorary aide-de-camp" (Faust 215). Boyd was only one of numerous women who served as spies during the Civil War. Some dressed as men to complete their missions, while others used their feminine whiles, just like Boyd, to gain valuable information for their commanding officers. Some women also dressed as men and fought in the war.

Term Paper on Women of the Civil War Assignment

One of the most notable women who dressed as a man was Jennie Hodgers, who served under the name "Albert Cashier." Hodgers came from Illinois, and enlisted in the 95th Illinois Volunteer Infantry of the Northern Army in 1862 when she was only eighteen. She drilled with the unit, and her unit eventually ended up serving under Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee. She fought at Vicksburg and other notable battles, and one of her biographers notes, "A comrade later recalled that 'in handling a musket in battle, he was the equal of any in the company'" (Dumene B03). She fought alongside men for years, who only noticed that she was small in stature and did not grow a beard. In fact, she made it through the war without any wounds, and she continued to live as a man until 1911 when a physician learned the truth, Cashier was a woman. No one knows why Hodgers fought as a man and continued to live as a man. However, "According to one source, she told a sergeant who served with her, 'The country needed men, and I wanted excitement'" (Dumene B03). Hodgers was not the norm, but there were many other women who fought on both sides of the war dressed as men. Usually, their identities were never discovered unless they were wounded or killed.

Another famous woman who made a name for herself during the war was Mary Edwards Walker. Walker was a real abnormality. She was a physician and the only woman to ever be given the Congressional Medal of Honor. At first, she volunteered in the Union medical corps because the Union Army would not officially allow her to serve. Later, she developed into the first women surgeon in the U.S. Army, official or not. One historian writes of Walker,

She was then appointed assistant surgeon of the 52nd Ohio Infantry. During this assignment it is generally accepted that she also served as a spy. She continually crossed Confederate lines to treat civilians. She was taken prisoner in 1864 by Confederate troops and imprisoned in Richmond for four months until she was exchanged, with two dozen other Union doctors, for 17 Confederate surgeons (Johnson).

Mary Edwards Walker continued to serve the Union Army, first as a doctor in a Louisville female prison, and later in an orphan's asylum in Tennessee, and there is still speculation that she… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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