Of all the wars in the history of the United States, the Civil War is the only one fought intensely in the midst of the lives of its women. Not only was it fought in their houses and fields, towns and cities, but it also decimated their families and destroyed their lifestyles and culture.
This course looks at some of those affected women through their personal diaries, journals and memoirs, popular forms of expression in the 19th century. The writings of Mary Chestnut, Kate Stone, Belle Boyd and Rose Greenhow, to name a few, take us into the lives they lived in the war as wives and mothers, nurses and spies, and also, in the case of Mary Todd Lincoln and Varina Davis, as sharers of their husband’s presidencies.
Our source will be Mothers of Invention by Drew Gilpin Faust, the former president of Harvard. The course will conclude with a discussion of the book that expressed in romantic fashion all there was to say about the women in South and how they lived through the Civil War: Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell.