What role did women have during the Civil War?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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During the Civil War, women played the sorts of roles that were typically available to women in those days.  For the most part, their direct roles in the war were limited to acting as nurses and as spies.  There were some women who disguised themselves as men so as to be able to enter the military.  However, this was not very common at all.

It is believed that something like 400 women served as soldiers in the war.  They had various motives for doing so, ranging from a desire for adventure to dedication to one side or the other.  However, this small number of women fighting did not have any great impact on the war or on society.

It is said that about 3,000 women worked as paid nurses and many thousands more worked as volunteers.  This was the role that was played by the largest number of women and it was the most visible role.

Of course, women also played a role by working in jobs that men had left to go fight and by keeping families together for the duration of the war.

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