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Women in the Civil War

The purpose of this research is to examine the status of women who lived in the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee during the Civil War. The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which the experience of women of that region was shaped by events in the US in the mid-19th century and then to discuss, with reference to documents generated from the period, ways in which women were obliged to adapt to a situation in which men in their prime were essentially absent, owing to their commitment to resolving the war between the states, with a view toward showing that the experience and behavior of the women in this part of the country were more concerned with local and family issues than with the grand designs of either Union or Confederate priorities.

The geography of the region--eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina take in the part of the Appalachian region known as the Great Smoky Mountains--had the effect of isolating the settlers in the area from the context of the slave-holding South. A number of sources make reference to the social effects of the region's geography. In the introduction to an annotated diary from what the editor calls a yeoman farmer of western North Carolina, for example, the reference is to "the hermetic world of Appalachian North Carolina" and to "the [] hermeticism of the mountain hollows and Thomasson's [the farmer's] hardscrabble day-to-day existence." The area is fertile and not inaccessible, being served by rivers and roads, which as a practical matter meant that 19th-century settlers were able to devise modest agricultural industry and support a modest local market economy. The relative isolation of this part of the Southern terrain from the rest of the Deep South, described in North Carolina as its western piedmont region, is referred to by various sources independently. Mr. Whitelaw Reid, a Republican travel journalist from Ohio who, according to his editor W...

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Women in the Civil War. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:23, November 30, 2021, from