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The Women Of The Confederacy by Francis Butler Simkins & James Welch Patton

The Women Of The Confederacy 
by
Francis Butler Simkins & James Welch Patton

CHAPTER I
CHAMPIONS OF THE SOUTHERN CAUSE

IN the uncertain months that preluded the beginning of the Confederate War the zeal of the Southern women for action was equally as great as that of their masculine associates. United in the belief that the people of the North were in a conspiracy against the basic elements of their civilization and regarding the cause of the secessionists as both supremely righteous and unconquerable, these women were valiant champions of the South. As in the case of the men there were differences of opinion regarding the proper course for the South to pursue. Some women manifested a wise pessimism, and others timidly expressed a desire for caution; but the majority threw aside whatever misgivings they may have entertained, urged secession upon their leaders, and although they lamented war showed little hesitancy in insisting upon this step when they became convinced that it was necessary in order to secure the independence of the Southern States.

FEMININE INTERPRETATIONS OF NORTHERN MOTIVES

The belief that the North was in a conspiracy against the Southern civilization was centered around the conviction that the main purpose of the Northern leaders was to excite servile insurrection. Many women read the pronouncements of the abolitionists with both alarm and disgust, and others were filled with terror and bitterness when the attempt of John Brown to arouse a slave rebellion seemed to indicate that the abolitionist leaders were prepared to translate their pronouncements into actions. "The horrible, horrible time that has come to us,” was a typical feminine reaction to the news of the raid at Harpers Ferry; "our world seems topsy-turvy. We feel that we can trust none of the dear black folks who, before this, we relied on at every turn.” Many women believed that places "were marked on John Brown’s map of blood and massacre, as the first spots for the negro uprising for the extermination of the Southern whites.” Brooding over this act and other events of the inter-sectional struggle, the women found it difficult to believe that the ambitions of John Brown, were merely those of a misguided fanatic. In their minds these ambitions represented the desire of the entire North. Union with such a people seemed to them intolerable, and, consequently, when the plans for the coercion of the South took form, the defeat of these plans was held to be more than a mere military or patriotic necessity. The threat of interference in Southern matters involved, in the minds of the women, the menace of servile insurrection, and a servile insurrection meant to them the destruction of a cherished civilization, devastation, and death.

As events progressed, the feminine interpretation of other phases of Northern activity was scarcely less flattering. To some "Lincoln and his crew” were “blasphemous infidels and cowardly fanatics,” guilty of "duplicity and cowardly sneaking;” to others "the black administration” at Washington was so bloodthirsty as to entertain the desire "to come down here and sweep us all away.” The wife of an important political leader in Alabama expressed the belief that a mad desire for gold on the part of the Northerners had aroused in them an ambition to exploit and plunder the section where gold dollars were supposed to be had merely by shakmg a cotton plant; and George Cary Eggleston encountered a woman who firmly believed that in the event of a Northern victory the Negroes and plantations would be confiscated and reassigned to Northern owners.

The assertion on the part of Northern statesmen that their proposal to coerce the South was motivated only by a desire to preserve the Union was drowned in a wave of ridicule and sarcasm. It was useless,
said the women, for the Northerners to cry "Union” when the words "Monarchy” and "Tyranny” would be more applicable to their actions. A Northern victory, they believed, would mean disgrace to the South and a type of bondage insufferable to an Anglo-Saxon people.’’

These attacks upon the motives of the North were accompanied by intolerance and suspicion of strangers and persons who did not share the strong sentiments of the Soutiiem women. Federal sympathizers were designated by unpleasant names and were given to understand in no uncertain terms that their presence was not desired in the South. "Eyes flash, cheeks bum, and tongues clatter,” said a Union woman of New Orleans in describing the reaction to her suggestion that the path to victory was not flowery, and when a Philadelphia woman expressed doubts to Mary Boykin Chesnut regarding the possibility of Southern success, the latter diarist "contradicted every word she said, with a sort of indignant protest.” Northern governesses, especially, were suspected of disloyalty and dismissed from plantations where they were employed, sometimes on very insignificant pretexts. In Florida one was accused of holding a Negro boy in her lap and kissing and crying over him;’ another was charged with bursting forth in a tirade of invective and abuse.” Other persons suspected of similar misdeeds were threatened with more fearful treatment. At Camden, South Carolina, a mob of women cried for the hanging of a group of strangers who had done nothing more sinister than to walk on a trestle in a swamp.“ For a Southern woman to marry a Northerner was considered the most dreadful reproach that might come upon her family. "Married to a Yankee!” exclaimed a wealthy North Carolina woman whose niece had thus disgraced herself. "A man against whom her brothers might perhaps be sent. It is terrible to think of.”

THE JUSTICE OF THE CONFEDERATE CAUSE

The attacks of the Southern women upon Northern aspirations and activities were inevitably supplemented by fervent proclamations of the justice and righteousness of the Southern cause. A favorite device was to draw parallels between the struggle for American independence and the struggle for Southern independence. It was asserted that the tyranny of the Northern majority over the Southern minority was as oppressive as that of the British crown over the American colonies in 1776; that the right of the Southern states to secede rested upon as secure a foundation as the right of the American colonies to revolt; and that the duty of the Southerners to repel the projected Federal attempt at subjugation was as urgent as had been the duty of the colonists to expel those who sought to reassert the British authority in America. On Washington’s Birthday, 1862, a feminine Virginia patriot wrote, "Has there been a day since the Fourth of July, 1776, so Ml of interest, so fraught with danger, so encompassed by anxiety, so sorrowful, and yet so hopeful, as this 22nd of February, 1862? Our wrongs were then great, and our enemy powerful, but neither can the one nor the other compare with all that we have endured from the oppression, and must meet in the gigantic efforts of the Federal Government.”

Realizing that the attack upon slavery was the principal argument of those who condemned the Confederate cause, the women joined their masculine associates in the defense of that institution. Believing it to be "the great dividing line that marks us as a peculiar people,” they justified it on the conventional Southern theory of the inequality of the races. “The black man was characterized as scarcely a high animal, an inferior being in whose coarse blood yet moved wild instincts and who could never be taught the wholesome economy and pride which distinguished the white man.” Proceeding on this hypothesis, many women confidently felt that only with the Negro as a slave would life in the South be tolerable either to the slaveholders or to that portion of the white population which held no slaves. It was, therefore, expected that all classes of Southern whites should and would unite for the retention of the existing status of the Negro.” When approached by outsiders regarding the alleged cruelties of the institution, the women refused to recognize the necessity of abolition, stating that the Negroes’ "condition was much improved of late” and that the clergy were "exercising themselves to prevent the ties of matrimony being broken by sale.” Still other women, impelled by the same defense mechanism, affirmed that it was the high mission of the South to rescue slavery from the obloquy which a treacherous enemy had imposed upon it and make “the peculiar institution” the basis of the highest civilization.

OPTIMISM AND BRAVADO

It was not difficult for the Southern women, at least in their more confident moods, to allow their belief in the justice of the Southern cause to lead them into an attitude of contempt for the ability of the North, accompanied by an optimistic conviction that the Confederacy was unconquerable. It was said that the Federal government did not possess sufficient stamina to attempt seriously the subjugation of the South; that Northern opinion was disunited; and that threats of occupying the South would disappear as soon as the obstacles in the way of such an accomplishment were apparent. Credence was given to rumors that many Federal officers were disaffected; that the Northern capitalists would not support their government unless a decisive victory was won; that the whole North would gladly avail itself of an opportunity for peace; that "every Irishman’s heart was with his Catholic brothers south;” and that the Lincoln government, realizing that it did not have the power, would abandon its attempt to coerce the South. Such reports prepared the women for the acceptance of the wildest rumors of Northern confusion and disaster once the war had gotten under way. That these rumors were exaggerated or without foundation had little effect upon the buoyant optimism of the Southern women. "According to the theory popular with romantic people,” wrote one of them, "the real truth underlies the common surface, and it is only by realizing what we feel and cannot see that we reach it. The character of the Northern troops was unfavorably contrasted with that of the Southern armies. One woman declared that the Northern regiments were being recruited from thieves and cut-throats released from jail; another stated that they were being gathered from "the riffraff, the offscourings of the cities,” and that "the scum of Europe” had been induced to come to America by promises of army pay. The Southern regiments, on the other hand, were said to be composed "mainly of gentlemen—the best blood of the South.” These gentlemen were believed to be brave, accustomed to riding, shooting, and other outdoor activities and actuated by the holiest of patriotic emotions—the desire to expel an alien invader from their soil. It requires little imagination to infer the result which was expected by the Southern women when armies composed of men of such supposedly contrasting qualities should come in contact with each other.

The belief that the South was unconquerable because of the superior fighting qualities of its armies was more pronounced among the women than among the men. A Virginia woman shed tears for the safety of her soldier-husband, but the idea that the Southern armies could be defeated never entered her mind; another received "with utter scorn” the skepticism of old men concerning the successful outcome of the war. When a wealthy North Carolina planter suggested to his gardener-wife that she might be planting flowers in the conqueror’s path, she impatiently retorted, "I plant flowers for our own path! A short time of conflict and the day is ours! . . They can never overcome us, never conquer us! We fight for our Birthright! Freedom! Let them try their lasted blockade! Who cares? "Whom will they hurt most—us? Themselves or England! Not us!” 

Among some women this spirit of optimism persisted even when it became apparent that the superior power of the North would make possible invasion and perhaps devastation. "The Federals,” they asserted, "may go on invading us and despoiling our land until there are not six men left in the South and still they will gain nothing. . . . They may lay waste our country in ruinous heaps, and exterminate us, but they will not subdue us.” And, as will appear later, after heaps of bodies as well as of ashes had actually been created, many women did not despair. They took refuge in fanciful hopes that the great nations of Europe—France or England, or both—would intervene and stay the criminal hand of the North; and when those hopes failed to materialize there remained as a final refuge. Divine Providence, a just and all-powerful force which, it was felt, would not let the seal of final failure be placed upon a cause as just as that of the Southern Confederacy.

Often this confidence in the Confederacy was accompanied by a show of bravado. "Hurrah for the rattlesnake bold,” cried the maidens of Charleston; the younger girls answering," 'For fearful its wrath to the foe in its path, be he president, peasant, or king.’ "I once thought,” wrote a Virginia girl caught in the enthusiasm of the spring of 1861, "how awful civil war would be, but now I feel and see it will be the best for the South, for victory will crown her efforts and God will heap misery on those who seek to destroy the peace of this glorious nation.” Other young women, joyously banqueting with newly-mobilized troops, participated in drinking such toasts as: "A short and glorious victory,” "South Carolina, the first in the Constellation of the new Republic,” and "Missouri, the last but not the least to rise against Tyranny.” Still transported in the glow of romantic fervor, one of these banqueting girls wrote some time later, “Visions of glory rise before us, victory, and then peace, with untold prosperity in the wake, to crown with immortality the brow of this fair young Republic.” 

It is very improbable that the Southern women actually intended to use weapons against the enemy, but their boasts of such intentions were sufficiently emphatic to impress English visitors. Catherine Cooper Hopley saw young ladies firing pistols, "vowing to shoot the first 'Yankee’ who comes within sight of their homes,” and boasting that "there’s not a man, woman, or child who can hold a gun or pull a trigger, who will not fight or die sooner than be any longer under the control of the Yankees.” Another English observer believed that "in case Richmond should become invaded a large number of Amazons will be found ready to defend their principles, their property, and their homes by sheer force of arms.” "'You see. Sir,’” he was told, " 'when the Yankees kill all the Southern men, they will have to fight the women—and they’ll find them a more formidable foe than they expected.’” 

With characteristic lack of foresight thousands of women failed to realize that they were about to become actors in a great tragedy. Caught in the swirling emotions and enthusiasms of a people mobilizing its resources and men for a terrific struggle, during the first half of 1861, they manifested a tendency to associate war only with gold lace and plumes, bands of music, prancing steeds, and handsome officers. Their time was occupied with waving handkerchiefs at passing troops, visiting camps to witness parades, and participating in the presentation of flags. There was gayity at every important center, and the prevailing excitement afforded an outlet for frustrated emotions. "I grew up in a night,” wrote a Virginia woman, years later, in describing the effects of participation in the pleasures of the time, adding that "the woods were full of handsome and delightful officers and privates, eager to be entertained and heartened for the fray.” At Richmond, where thousands of troops were concentrated, the hotels and boarding houses swarmed with women eager to share the excitement. "Great was the enthusiasm,” said Mrs. Gilmer Breckinridge in recalling the situation. "What more stirring than the sound of the drum! What more inspiring than the graceful manoevers of the Zouaves, the Rifles, or the Rangers!”

THE SALT OF REALITY

It should not be assumed, however, that all of the feminine champions of the cause of the South were motivated by the supreme optimism and the arrogant faith which have just been described. The wiser ones tempered their emotions with the salt of reality, philosophized upon the vanity of war, and looked with great apprehension upon the tasks that confronted the South. "All is beautiful but rebellious man whose spirit seems filled with discord,” mused a discerning woman amid the calm of a South Carolina spring. "What an unhappy state our country is in. Every young man has entered camp. How many miserable and anxious hearts there are and yet may be. Still more painful, what a sin for thirty millions of people to rush madly into war.” The better informed women accepted without complaint the challenge of the North, but they did so without any illusions regarding the long period of tears and privations which lay before them. Varina Howell Davis clearly foresaw the diffiiculties which faced the government of which her husband was the head, believing that the North would give the South "a hot time.” Amid the war enthusiasm of Charleston, Mrs. Louis D. Wigfall, wife of the fiery Texas secessionist, joined with Mary Boykin Chesnut in discussing the possibility of slave insurrections and other horrors of civil war. Mrs. Chesnut herself was too skeptical to share with her South Carolina friends their hopes regarding the alleged benefits of secession. "My companions,” she wrote in December, 1860, "breathed fire and fury, but I dare say they were amusing themselves with my dismay, for, talk as I would, that I could not hide.”

Indeed there were few Southern women, at least in their quiet and thoughtful moments, who did not experience anxieties concerning the trials which in the past had been the usual lot of women in war times. A Tennessee girl, after joyously bidding godspeed to her favorite regiment, returned to the solitude of her room, prostrated with sorrowful emotion, to write, "I can only shed bitter tears for those poor boys. I know what is before them, and my soul tells me many will never see their homes and their dear ones again. ... I am crushed. I can only weep and pray.”" Such feelings of doubt and anxiety, however, were not uttered in loud tones during the months in which secession and war were precipitated; rather did they tend to be stifled by feelings of the opposite character. Moreover, Aese gloomy thoughts served to give a serious intensity to war emotions rather than to engender hostility to the efforts of the war-makers. Women who shared such thoughts were often as belligerent as those who entertained the rose-tinted notions regarding the glorious future of an independent South. Sorrowful women united with joyous ones in crying, "Come weal or woe, success or adversity, we will willingly go down with the cause we have embraced.”

AGITATION AND PROPAGANDA

Convinced that a continuation of the union with the North was insufferable and that the South was capable of sustaining an independent existence, the Southern women translated their feelings and thoughts into active agitations. They advocated secession, military preparations, and other belligerent activities with a zeal and a conspicuousness hardly in keeping with the restrictions imposed by a Victorian convention regarding the public agitations of their sex. The intense character of this agitation was equaled by the prevalence of its manifestations. One of the most obvious examples of pro-Southern activity on the part of women was the behavior of the wives of Southern Congressmen and Senators during the crisis which culminated in the withdrawal of these men from the national legislature. Early in the crisis these women drew strict social lines between themselves and former Northern friends, dropping names from calling lists and avoiding social functions where they might meet Republicans. They hailed the secession of South Carolina as "glorious news from the South,” and they listened with approval while one of their group explained that South Carolina would not submit to what was interpreted as the North’s putting its foot upon that state’s neck. They thronged the Congressional galleries, and amid the dramatic scenes which occurred when their respective husbands renounced their allegiance to the United States, they encouraged the speakers with hysterical cries of sympathy and admiration. 'The final withdrawal of the Southern members awakened in them feelings of triumphant satisfaction, for they believed that the die had been cast in the struggle to preserve cherished virtues of family and state; and they left the Federal capital filled with emotions of self-esteem, fancying that with them departed all the charm and vivacity from the social life of the city. At home in the South, they accepted without question and with a sardonic satisfaction the rumors describing the boorishness and the "shabby economy” of Mrs. Lincoln and the other wives of "Black Republicans.”

It was inevitable that feminine enthusiasm should reach its highest point in Charleston, the earliest center of decisive action. On the eve of the secession of South Carolina the atmosphere of that day "rippled and swelled with excitement. . . . The young girls devoted their time to manufacturing every kind of patriotic device in palmetto and silk ribbon. . . . Every young woman was as defiant, as determined, and as ardent as her brother or her sweetheart.” Women packed the halls of the secession convention, and when the famous ordinance was signed they greeted it with fluttering handkerchiefs and shouts of impassioned emotion. As the issue over Fort Sumter grew intense, feminine excitement increased. There were regrets over the pending resort to violence, but the women felt that the conduct of their opponents had made such a step necessary. The intentions of Lincoln were assailed, and his acts were interpreted as those of "a treacherous government who, whilst pretending to treat, assuring its own cabinet and the Nation that no reinforcements should be sent, deliberately breaks faith and attempted it.”

The belligerent emotions of the Charleston women rose to their highest pitch during the bombardment of Fort Sumter. On the day before that event women rushed out of their homes and mingled with the men with unaccustomed freedom. Some prayed for those in danger; others boasted that the male members of their families were on the islands with Beauregard. Early in the morning of April 12th, when the sound of guns announced that the attack had begun, they sprang from sleepless beds and with strained eyes watched the bombardment from roofs and galleries, alternately cheering the attackers and praying for their safety. There was great rejoicing when the fort was taken by the Confederates. "I hope,” wrote a member of the Pettigrew family to a relative, "you have received the glorious news and join with us in feelings of intense thankfulness! To think that our troops are in Sumter, the stronghold that has appeared so menacing for so long.” Mary Boykin Chesnut described the groups of women who for days afterwards thronged the Battery as "Ae very liveliest crowd I think I ever saw, everybody talking at once.” Among the better informed this rejoicing was largely due to the fact that neither friend nor enemy had been killed; but one high-strung woman, whose son had enlisted, expressed disappointment to an English traveler because every Yankee in Sumter had not been exterminated.

The women of Virginia participated less demonstratively than those of South Carolina in the events of the spring of 1861, but their belief in the necessity of decisive action was no less pronounced. Assuming, for the first time in their history, a prominent part in political activity, they crowded the hall of the state convention to urge the hesitant delegates to sever the bonds which united the Federal government and the Old Dominion. "Governed by feeling,” one of them afterwards confessed, "we thrust judgment in the bacground, and were for immediate action. We taunted our grand old mother State with her prudence, her slowness—indeed we were so unfilial as to say that she was in her dotage.” Observing the presence of the women m such large numbers, and the fact that they were so unfilial as to engage in political discussions in the presence of the assembled delegates, a prominent Virginian stated in disgust that "on one or two occasions some of them have set bad examples to the men in keeping order,” and added, with a touch of sarcasm, that within a week “they will set out the night before” in order to get seats in the convention hall." These women beamed with satisfaction when they were assured that secession was inevitable. “Day after tomorrow the vote of Virginia on Secession will be taken,” wrote Judith W. McGuire, "and I, who so dearly loved this Union . . , must now earnestly hope that the voice of Virginia will give no uncertain sound; that she may leave it with a shout.”

After these women had done their part in assuring the secession of Virginia, they became enthusiastic over the serious duties which that action involved. "I am ready,” ran a typical expression of their sentiments, "to do all in my power for my country; yes, I would gladly lay down my life for my country’s sake” Their most immediate duty was to welcome the troops from the South. This obligation they assumed so avidly that, as Mary Boykm Chesnut disdainfully remarked, they were so forgetful of class distinctions as to come for a company of "sandhill tackeys” in carriages “They feted them,” continued the disgusted South Carolina aristocrat, “waved handkerchiefs to them, brought them dainties with their own hands, in the faith that every Carolinian was a gentleman, and every man south of the Mason and Dixon line a hero.”

The women of North Carolina were especially resentful against the politicians and those of their male relatives who resisted the movement to secure the union of that state with the Confederacy. "Oh, that North Carolina would join her Southern sisters, in blood, in soil, in climate, and in institutions the same. Would that those vile party politicians had no lot or part in her fate,” wrote Catherine Ann Edmonston as she observed the trend of events from her plantation home in Halifax County. When the male members of her family spoke affectionately of  the national flag, she replied, "Who cares for the old striped rag now that the principles it represented are gone? It is but an emblem of past glory.”' Another North Carolina woman threatened to expatriate herself because her relatives were opposing secession. "In truth,” she wrote to her brother, "abuse of that noble little state of South Carolina is the only subject upon which nearly all men agree in this state. If we disgrace ourselves, as I think we will do if we keep on in this way, I intend leaving the state, for I have no part in this shameful policy.” These and similar threats were never executed, however, for North Carolina finally seceded Then delighted women "rushed into each others arms” and with "universality and eagerness” entered the struggle that lay before them.

The same spirit of enthusiasm was in evidence among the women of other sections of the South. An English observer found many men in Savannah who would willingly have shirked the responsibilities of war, "but there was not a woman in this party,” he added. "Woe betide the Northern Pyrrhus whose head is within reach of the Southern tile and a Southern woman’s hand.” "'Who would be the thrall of the Yankee.?’” cried a young woman with flushed cheeks and beaming eyes as she addressed the applauding students of the female seminary at Tallahassee, Florida.

"'Who in this crowd dares blame the noble old state of South Carolina ... for throwing off the oppressor’s yoke? I glory in her pluck.’” At Montgomery, women criticized the Confederate statesmen for harping on the mistakes of the past and the difficulties of the future rather than exulting over the accomplishments of the past and the golden opportunities which the future was thought to hold. At New Orleans, women were jubilant when Louisiana seceded and "blithe and gay” when the state flew to arms. Nor were the women of remote Arkansas to be outdone in martial enthusiasm. "It is very painful to see,” wrote a visitor among the feminine secessionists of that state, "lovable and intelligent women rave until blood mounts in face and brain.”

WOMEN OF THE BORDER STATES

Some of the most striking examples of women who championed the Southern cause with greater vehemence than the men were to be found in the border states. In Maryland, northern Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, women ostentatiously sang rebel airs, waved rebel flags, dressed in rebel colors, and uttered rebel sentiments in the presence of the enemy, with an abandon beyond the courage of their male associates. In addition to this they secretly gathered information and prepared supplies for the men in gray who were encamped to the south of them; and, with these valuable commodities hidden under the hoops of their skirts, they made frequent visits to the territory controlled by the Confederates. 'That they outshone the men of their communities in pro-Southern activities and expressions of opinion was in part due to the unwillingness of the Federal authorities to deal as summarily with hostile women as with men of similar views, but it was also due to the fact that the Southern sympathies of the more emotional sex were so powerful that they left no room for considerations of prudence.

Certain women of the border states served the Southern cause so notably in the months during which the war was inaugurated that they deserve especial mention. One of these was Virginia B. Moon, a Memphis girl who was attending a school in Ohio. She was so exasperated when a Federal flag was raised over the institution that she shot it down, and when expelled from school for this act she assumed the perilous avocation of smuggling dispatches and contraband goods through the lines. Of similar spirit but more famous were Jennie and Hetty Cary, two charming Baltimore sisters, whose signal act of patriotism concerned the most famous of Confederate war songs. Jennie set James Ryder Randall’s "Maryland, My Maryland” to die music of "Lauriger Horatius,” and she and Hetty gave the song its first rendition before a group of Baltimore girls. Incurring the disfavor of the Federal authorities in that day, the two sisters fled to Virginia, carrying with them drugs, uniforms, and copies of the song. From the doorway of a tent at Mannassas they introduced the stirring lay to a large gathering of soldiers. The soldiers sang it with enthusiasm, and soon its martial strains held the whole South enraptured. The most conspicuous Southern sympathizers among the women of the border territory were Augusta Heath Morris, Catherine Virginia Baxley, and Rose O’Neal Greenhow. They not only dispatched secret information to the Confederate commanders in northern Virginia, but they were also vigorous in their abuse of the hated Lincoln administration. Rose O’Neal Greenhow, a prominently-connected widow living in Washington, asserted that wherever she went, even in the galleries of the Senate, she poured out the vials of her wrath upon the heads of the Republican leaders, a practice which was by no means stopped by their throwing her into prison.

********

By such championing of the Confederate cause the women of the South did their share in bringing on one of the greatest wars in American history. They put themselves in an aggressive state of mind by indulging in the belief that the North was in a conspiracy against their happiness and social welfare; by assuming an intransigent attitude toward those who disagreed with them; by fervently proclaiming the justice of slavery and other phases of Southern civilization; by imagining the South to be unconquerable because of the supposedly superior quality o£ its morale and military forces; and by thoughtlessly boasting of their prowess and by acting as though they were not on the brink of a serious tragedy. That the wiser women did not share with their more credulous sisters in the more roseate phases of this extravagant program detracted little from the aggressive character of the attitude manifested by the Southern women as a whole; for the pessimistic joined with the optimistic in cherishing the grievances of their section. That these women were profoundly stirred and tremendously in earnest will be made clear in the chapters which follow.

Francis Butler Simkins and James Welch Patton The Women Of The Confederacy (Richmond: Garrett & Massie, Incorporated, 1936), 1-13.

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