Like the soldiers of the armies, they [the women] were from every rank in life, and they exhibited a like persistence, endurance, and faith. There are many hundreds of women whose shining deeds have honored their country, and wherever they are known, the nation holds them in equal honor with its brave men.
The story of the war will never be fully or fairly written if the achievements of women in it are untold. They do not figure in the official reports, they are not gazetted for deeds as gallant as ever were done; the names of thousands are unknown beyond the neighborhood where they live, or the hospitals where they loved to labor; yet there is no feature in our war more creditable to us as a nation, none from its positive newness so well worthy of record.
Frank Moore, Women of the War, 1866 (2)
In the years since the end of the conflict, ideas from the late 19th and 20th century have romanticized and glorified the image of the Civil War. Patriotic and moral issues have often overshadowed the grim reality of death, family dissolution and mourning. The primary focus of Civil War study emphasizes military and political history. A less-told story of valor and sacrifice is revealed in an area of history that has been considered to be of secondary importance. Knowledge of the philanthropic involvement of women and the federal government's increasing reliance on their efforts during the war has been dimmed by the concept that these skills were inherent to their roles in society. The roles of women significantly altered as their new responsibilities took precedence over those that were considered the normal female domain. In the world of political unrest and domestic upheaval, the security of family structure and community cohesion were suddenly assaulted by the overwhelming necessity of supplying the continually increasing war machine with food, arms, uniforms, and medical supplies, as well as moral support. The social and domestic challenges encountered by those entrusted with the maintenance of northern industry and way of life, generated enormous volunteer involvement and community support. In turn, these stimulated the expansion of women's roles in society and in the industrial world.
Proceed to The War Spirit At Home.
Visit the Virtual Exhibits to see objects from The Barnum Museum's collection.
The Barnum Museum
820 Main Street
Hours: 11-3 Thur & Fri
The People's United Bank Gallery, located at the back of the building is open and free to the public to view the restoration and conservation process. The Barnum Museum's historic building remains closed to the public following tornado damage suffered on June 24, 2010.
Visit www.barnum-museum.org for more information.