The contributions of women during the American Civil War have been typically examined within the broader picture of a nation or state-wide mobilization of citizens during a time of war. In this paper, I seek to show the mobilization of women during the Civil War from a regionalized perspective limited to the Upcountry of South Carolina and the effect their development of aid societies had on the war as well as on their place as white women in the Confederacy. Female-run aid societies began for the purpose of gathering supplies for soldiers. Within two years they had founded hospitals and were charged with the welfare of not only soldiers but of their own communities. In examining the aid societies of several Upstate counties, I argue that there is a clear progression from the private to the public, reflecting a challenging of gender boundaries. These changes to the role of white women in the South would have a lasting impact. It would influence a memorialization of the Confederacy in later years. By examining the words and deeds of such women, I outline exactly how they moved from traditional “women’s work” to highly public leadership roles. The nature of their involvement also shows that women were quite capable of vehemently supporting the Confederate cause, and its associated ideology. Through this study, I intend to portray this changing concept of white womanhood in the South brought about by the Civil War, its causes, and its impact within Upstate South Carolina.
Aranda, Elizabeth and Harris, Carmen
"A Noble Duty: Ladies’ Aid Associations in Upstate South Carolina During the Civil War,"
University of South Carolina Upstate Student Research Journal: Vol. 14, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/uscusrj/vol14/iss1/4