Being a civil war re-enactor’s ‘widow’ for a few years after my husband got involved in this hobby, I felt that if I wanted to see anything of my husband in the nice weather, I needed to get involved. At first I was a spectator, but then decided to join in the fun. The 14th CVI didn’t have women soldiers, and sporting a woolen uniform and carrying a rifle wasn’t my idea of fun, but I thought that trying to portray an 1860’s soldier’s wife was something that I could look into. I did a lot of reading and research -- on the computer, at the library, and by talking to other folks interested in the period. I try to accurately dress and display items that a woman would have used during the U.S. Civil War period. Though the times may have been simpler, they certainly weren’t easier. Many of the women not only had crops, animals, and children to attend to, but when camps were near their homes they would supply the soldiers with supplemental food and clothing, since a lot of the time, the US Government was sorely lacking in that capacity. The US Christian Commission and the US Sanitary Commission (predecessor to the American Red Cross) helped many of the soldiers in their spiritual and temporal welfare throughout the war. Citizen’s donations and support were vital for the soldiers’ well-being. When the battles were near women’s homes, they cared for the wounded. Many nearby homes and churches were used as hospitals after a battle. Simple tasks such as ripping and rolling bandages, baking bread, fetching water, and tending to the wounded were invaluable. .Many of the women had fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons fighting the war and felt that by helping someone near to them maybe someone in turn would help their loved ones who were far away. They say that behind every good man is a good woman. I truly believe that if women in that time period, as well as today, didn’t do their part, this country would not be what it is today. God bless the United States of America!
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