Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (Fred W. Morrison Series in Southern Studies)

Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (Fred W. Morrison Series in Southern Studies)

Drew Gilpin Faust

Language: English

Pages: 326

ISBN: 0807855731

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

When Confederate men marched off to battle, southern women struggled with the new responsibilities of directing farms and plantations, providing for families, and supervising increasingly restive slaves. Drew Faust offers a compelling picture of the more than half-million women who belonged to the slaveholding families of the Confederacy during this period of acute crisis, when every part of these women's lives became vexed and uncertain.

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blockade We Southern girls can be content With goods that's Southern made We scorn to wear a bit of silk A bit of Northern lace, But make our homespun dresses up And wear them with a grace.2g Rhetoric combined with necessity to encourage domestic cloth production. As early as February 1862 Mary Speight observed that "there is not a { 46 ) Changing Lives yard of domestics to be bo't in G[eorgia]." "Thrown," as Sarah Espy put it, 6 6 on their own resourses," ladies began to bring wheels and

Presbyterians, reflected the tenacity of their evangelical proslavery vision in their indignant feelings of betrayal at the departure of their human property. Eva Jones was distraught when three female slaves seized their freedom "without bidding any of us an affectionate adieu." Mary Jones felt deeply wounded by what she regarded as slaves' "ingratitude." Committed to a conception of slavery as a Christian institution founded in reciprocal rights and duties, she could understand blacks' desire

in the "feeding department." Although she had few concerns about maintaining her own propriety, Chesnut did not like seeing younger ladies, particularly unmarried women, exposed to the scrutiny and the comments of common soldiers, who too often showed insufficient respect for female delicacy. "I cannot bear young girls to go to hospitals, wayside or otherwise," she wrote.53 Cornelia McDoilald of Winchester endured extraordinary hardships with her children in that occupied city during the course

expectations? In fact, the reviewer asserted, Macaria was only a "quasi-novel-a new experiment in the art of book-making called forth by the times through which we, the citizens of the Southern Confederacy, are now passing," for "although love forms the great staple of the work, yet it is introduced with the special design of making it subservient to what is regarded as the higher dictates of patriotism." In Macaria woman had dared to privilege public over private matters. The reviewer objected

impressed for war. Sarah Estes, a refugee, was unable to attend church because of her frequent relocations, and she feared "I will get to be almost a heathen." Near battlefields, churches became hospitals, making regular religious observances all but impossible. Many churches were { 184 } Women and Religion

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