Women in the Civil War Essay

Submitted By YumiOi
Words: 1554
Pages: 7

The Heroes of our Heroes
The Civil War was no doubt one of the most gruesome and bloody battles that Americans fought. The Civil war had a total casualty 618,000 and some experts say the total reached 700,000. This number crushed all wars in American histories in lives lost and damage done. Though the war sacrificed thousands of patriotic American men, both African American’s and whites; the most silenced number of people who were the angels of the civil wars were women.
Both confederate and Union forces were against women enlisting to serve in the war. They were stern on this decision, believing that a woman’s place is in the home. Through the outbreak of the war 1861 women were as eager as any other male to volunteer and to fight for the cause. Women were the backbone of the forces and were the care takers for the soldiers. They convinced the Federal government to agree to create a “preventive Hygienic and sanitary service for the benefit of the army” called the United States Sanitary Commission at first to combat preventable diseases causes by bad cookery and bad hygiene. Florence Nightingale was one of the most notorious active women during the civil war, her legacy lives on till today known as the mother of modern nursing. The Union had personally invited her to help with the medical field and shortage in the beginning of the war. She established training and educating women on how to care for the wounded and sick. The hands on nurses faced battle field conditions and open fire trying to get to the wounded. Even with the technological advances in weaponry during the Civil War the biggest cause of death and lives lost was from Disease and infection. The war meant shortage in man power and the draft took many doctors and medical professionals away from their duties; leaving the women nurses with the decisions to tend to major injuries such as amputations and stitching back not only the physical wounds of these soldiers but the broken spirits of them as well. They gave hope were hope was lost and were the caretakers of hundreds of lost and hopeless men. Though Florence Nightingale was the inspiration of the many women nurses of the union, Dorothy Dix was chosen to be the first superintendent of the U.S Army nurses June 1862. The army was in desperate need of any aide but the nurses recruited by Dorothy Dix had to meet certain standards, such as her nursed had to be between thirty-five and fifty years old in good health, of high moral standards, not too attractive, and willing to dress plainly. Over Three thousand nurses served the Union through Dix’s appointments. The war was a calling for many women who wanted to break free of the traditional “womanly image”. Even without the aid societies women whom volunteered in Union hospitals had proven their abilities to qualify as nurses. Despite the tremendous effort and dedication Army surgeons and other male staff still showed prejudice against women, and were unhappy to see women enter a male dominated work field. With the rush of casualties during the war and the overworked army surgeons Army nurses were the ones who provided cleaner conditions and equipment for the victims and soldiers of the war. The nurses of the civil war will always be the unsung hero of their day, fed patients, wrote letters, read, and prayed to the troops. They also managed supplies and staffed hospital kitchens and laundries. As if women were not already treated unfairly, slave women had the lowest of the low duties. Being a woman slave never spared a slave woman of rape, abuse, labor intensive jobs, and heavy duty lifting. When African American women served in the Union army as nursed they were only allowed to care for the African American soldiers and the dangerously ill patients.
Women whom were not able to participate actively made their impact by going door to door asking for donations towards for the union. They collected supplies such as canned food and medical supplies. They held county