The conflict in the novel is the tension between acting and doing nothing, the old life and the new, in the early days of the American Civil War.
Here is an excerpt from the "Overview" section here at eNotes:
"As the war unfolds, Rosemary and her friends cannot escape its impact on their lives. No longer can Rosemary and Mary Byrd live in the world of parties, shopping, and servants tending to their every need. The war tests their ability to survive on a daily basis—what they eat, how they dress, where they live, and what they think is moral and right."
Here are the a portion of the lyrics to a popular civil war era song, "The Homespun Dress".
The Homespun Dress
by Carrie Belle Sinclair
Oh, yes, I am a Southern girl,
And glory in the name,
And boast it with far greater pride
Than glittering wealth and fame.
We envy not the Northern girl
Her robes of beauty rare,
Though diamonds grace her snowy neck
And pearls bedeck her hair.
For the sunny South so dear;
Three cheers for the homespun dress
The Southern ladies wear!
The homespun dress is plain, I know,
My hat's palmetto, too;
But then it shows what Southern girls
For Southern rights will do.
We send the bravest of our land
To battle with the foe,
And we will lend a helping hand
We love the South, you know.
You can find the rest of the song and other tunes of the era by visiting this link: