Laura F. Edwards (Fellow, 2007–08)
October 7, 2010
When we think of southern women during the Civil War, we usually think of white women from slaveholding families who aligned themselves with the Confederacy. The problem with this image is that it conflates the South, which was a large and varied geographic region, with the Confederacy, which was a political movement that formed its own government and separated from the rest of the United States. Not all women who lived in the South were Confederates, and even those women who supported the Confederacy had differing levels of commitment to the cause. There were enslaved women who opposed the Confederacy from the start and saw the war as an opportunity to escape slavery; white women who remained loyal to the Union; and white women who came to oppose the war, even as they continued to support the Confederacy in theory.