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Women

o	They Brought in Their Dead and Wounded on Hay WagonsThe majority of the Library of Virginia's holdings that pertain to white Confederate women's involvement in the Civil War are letters and diaries. These sources provide information on an individual woman's opinions on the war, involvement with the war effort, and description of the fates of family and friends. Although there are several larger collections of letters and lengthy diaries, researchers will also need to comb collections of family papers and collections that consist of only a few letters or pages from a diary for information on women during the Civil War.

How to Search the Catalogs:

Conduct a keyword or subject search heading in the catalog using the following examples of Library of Congress subject headings.

[Locality] History Civil War, 1861-1865 Women
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Participation, Female
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Personal Narratives
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Virginia Women
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Women
Women History Civil War, 1861-1865
Women Virginia [Locality]
Women Virginia History Civil War, 1861-1865
Women and War Virginia Civil War, 1861-1865
Women Clerks Confederate States of America

Selected Published Resources

Barber, E. Susan. "Sisters of the Capital": White Women in Richmond, Virginia, 1860–1880. Ph.D. diss., University of Maryland, 1997.

Blanton, DeAnne, and Lauren M. Cook. They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press: 2002.

Campbell, Edward D. C., Jr., and Kym S. Rice, ed. A Woman’s War: Southern Women, Civil War, and the Confederate Legacy. Richmond: Museum of the Confederacy; Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996.

Cashin, Joan E. First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis's Civil War. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006.

Chesnut, Mary Boykin Miller. Mary Chesnut's Civil War. Edited by C. Vann Woodward. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

Thomson, Elizabeth Christina. "Beautiful Daughter of the Stars": Women of the Valley During the Civil War. Ph.D. diss., University of Guelph, 1999.

Varon, Elizabeth R. Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Selected Manuscript Collections

Letter of Lt. Frank C. Barnes, 56th Va. Regt., to Adeline Egerton, 1864 March 13 Letter of Hill Carter Bradford, 5th Va. Cavalry, to Adeline Egerton, 1865 Feb. 4 Letter of F. C. Barnes, 56th Va. Regt., to Adeline Egerton, Letters of Adeline Egerton, 1856-1869 Adeline Egerton. Letters, 1856–1869 (bulk 1861–1865). Accession 38559.
Letters, 1856–1869 (bulk 1861–1865), sent to Adeline Egerton (Edgerton) (b. 1832) of Baltimore, Maryland, principally by Confederate prisoners of war held in various Union prisons. The large majority of prisoners write to obtain needed clothes, provisions, and money from Egerton, the wife of a Baltimore merchant. Their correspondence contains evidence that Egerton was an agent for a Baltimore women's group supplying destitute Confederate prisoners with needed goods. The bulk of the letters come from prisoners held captive at Fort Delaware (Maryland), Fort McHenry (Maryland), Point Lookout (Maryland), and Johnson's Island (Ohio). Also of note are letters written from members of the Immortal 600 while in Georgia and South Carolina and a letter from a prisoner held at Rock Island Prison (Illinois). Aside from the goods exchange, the letters also contain information concerning the prisoners' medical condition and care, rank and unit, point of capture, period of captivity, and family members.

Carmichael Family. Letters, 1862–1864, 1908. Accession 24459.
Letters, 1862–1864 and 1908, of the Carmichael family of Danville, Virginia, consisting of letters from Mary C. Carmichael (1810–1866) to her son Lieutenant Charles C. Carmichael (1839–1905) of Company C, 30th Virginia Infantry, Gorse's Brigade, Pickett's Division. Letters consist mainly of personal matters and news of events in Danville and of family and friends. Also includes a certificate to S. A. Tinsley for his purchase of Confederate bonds, and a letter, 24 July 1908, from Loring W. Muzzey of Lexington, Massachusetts, to Lucy Ashby Carmichael (1856–1936) of Fredericksburg and King George County, Virginia, regarding their friendship and containing a burial notice about Hannah Louisa Whitman (1823–1908), sister of the poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892).

Letter of Eliza to Minnie Holmes, 1862 March 31 Letter of Eliza to Minnie Holmes, 1862 March 31, page 2 Minnie Holmes. Letters, 1862. Accession 38470.
Letters, 31 March 1862–26 July 1862, to Minnie Holmes of Loudoun County, Virginia from a friend named Eliza and a cousin in Iowa, K. O. Holmes. Eliza writes about friends and that she is unconscious about the war except for the newspapers. K. O. Holmes discusses the settling of his father's affairs, the legal profession, the differences between Iowans and Virginians, Iowa's participation at the Battle of Wilson's Creek, the possibility of his joining the army, Minnie Holmes's support for the Union, and his hopes that the Union will be saved.

Margaret Muse Pennybacker. Reminiscences: War Memorial, 1860–1864. Accession 26252.
Reminiscences, 1860–1864, of Mount Jackson, Shenandoah County, Virginia, during the Civil War, by Margaret Muse Pennybacker (d. 1919). The town was occupied several times by the Union forces during the war.

Mary Cary Ambler Stribling. Diary, 1862. Accession 25390.
Diary, 1862, of Mary Cary Ambler Stribling (1835–1868) of Fauquier County, Virginia, recounting the experiences of herself and her family during the Civil War. Stribling comments extensively on relations with local blacks, slave and free; her impressions of Yankees, particularly those foraging in northern Virginia; her despair at the lack of reliable news from either side; and her confidence in the Confederate armies. She describes the news and rumors that they receive concerning the war, including the Peninsular campaign, Jackson's Valley campaign, the Battle of Shiloh, the fall of New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Battle of Malvern Hill. Includes a typescript copy of the diary.

Letter of Bettie Price to J. M. Bennett, 1st Auditor, 1863 February 18Virginia. Auditor of Public Accounts. Applications of Ladies for Clerkships on Virginia Treasury Notes, 1861–1864. Accession APA 324.
Applications of ladies for clerkships, 1861–1864, relating to the act of the General Assembly passed on 31 March 1862 to provide for currency notes in denominations of less than five dollars. Local governments could issue notes in denominations less than one dollar. In 1862 the General Assembly authorized the state to issue notes in a one dollar denomination. An applicant's letter found in this series states that the work was to be done by women. Although the journal of the House of Delegates does not specifically refer to the employment of women, it must have been understood that women would fill these positions.