Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868

TitleCapital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRoberts, Cokie
Number of Pages544
PublisherHarper Collins
CityNew York, NY

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Washington, D.C. found itself caught between warring sides in a four-year battle that would determine the future of the United States. After the declaration of secession, many Southern women left the city, leaving their friends to grapple with questions of safety and sanitation as the capital was transformed into an immense Union army camp, and later a hospital. With men marching off to war, either on the battlefield or in Congress, the women of Washington joined the cause as well. Women went to the Capital City to enlist as nurses, supply organizers, relief workers, and journalists. Many risked their lives making munitions, toiled at the Treasury Department printing greenbacks to finance the war, and plied their needlework skills at The Navy Yard to sew canvas gunpowder bags for the troops. Cokie Roberts chronicles these women's increasing independence, their political empowerment, their indispensable role in keeping the Union unified through the war, and in helping heal it once the fighting was done. She concludes that the war forever changed the place of women.

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