Front cover image for Women's war : fighting and surviving the American Civil War

Women's war : fighting and surviving the American Civil War

Stephanie McCurry (Author)
The Civil War is remembered as a war of brother against brother, with women standing innocently on the sidelines. But battlefield realities soon challenged this simplistic understanding of women's place in war. Stephanie McCurry shows that women were indispensable to the unfolding of the Civil War, as they have been--and continue to be--in all wars. With a trio of dramatic stories, McCurry explores unique facets of women's wartime experiences, each one of which played an important part in redefining the meaning and stakes of the Civil War. Clara Judd, a female spy who was imprisoned by the Union for treason, sparked a heated controversy over the principle of civilian immunity, leading to lasting changes in the international laws of war. The hundreds of thousands of enslaved women who escaped to Union lines during the conflict upended military emancipation policies aimed only at enslaved male soldiers. Union leaders responded by casting fugitive black women as "soldiers' wives," offering them a protection of sorts but placing a lasting obstacle on their path to freedom. In the war's aftermath, the former Confederate Gertrude Thomas wrestled with her loss of status amid economic devastation, social collapse, and the new freedom of her former slaves. War and emancipation touched even her intimate family, revealing the full extent of the break in history Reconstruction represented.-- Provided by publisher
Print Book, English, 2019
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2019