Civilian Life

During The Civil War

About The American Civil War

The Civil War was a war fought between the United States Of America and the Confederate States Of America from 1861 to 1865. The war began when the southern states seceded from the U.S., mainly because the issue of slavery was already dividing the country. The United States thought that the southern states were wrong to leave the Union and initiated a war that raged across the country for four years. After four years of conflict, General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate troops to Ulysses S. Grant in 1865.

The Life Of Soldiers

The first soldiers who joined the army had moved overnight from their status as civilians to volunteer soldiers with the encouragement of their communities. Military life turned out to be far different than what the majority of Civil War soldiers had expected. Only a tiny fraction of any soldier’s time was spent in front line combat. Instead, the vast majority of his existence revolved around the monotonous routines of camp life. Twice as many soldiers died from disease and poor hygiene as from bullets. Soldiers caught in battle also had to suffer through the horrendous conditions in prison camps. Around 50,000 men died in civil war prison camps. There were over six hundred thousand total deaths during the civil war.

Role of Women And Children

The Civil War caused difficulties for the people at home as well as the soldiers. On both sides, women and children contributed greatly. Women often worked part-time to earn money while their husbands were away fighting. Many women took roles that they normally wouldn’t have, like being nurses or clerks. Some women even worked as spies for the government. Some children worked part time to fill the shoes of their brothers who had to fight during the war.

Families often gathered around war bulletins, which were usually posted in newspapers or outside of telegraph offices to look to see if anyone they knew were injured or killed.

Life In The North

Since the Union had most of the nation's factories which caused more than two-thirds of the railroad tracks in the nation to be in the Union and transportation was easier in the North. When the South seceded, they took most of the nation's farming land with them. The North had limited amounts of resources that were exclusively grown or made in the south. Although the North did not experience anything too drastic, such as a famine, some civilians still perished in local mob attacks.

Difficulties In The South

Although the North endured hardships as well, Southerners suffered especially because most of the fighting took place on Southern soil. One example of this is the Union blockades in 1863 that caused food and supply shortages in the South. The blockade also prevented the South of trading with other countries. Because of this, many plantations switched from growing cotton to raising grain and livestock. As the military conflict escalated into a total war, civilians often fled or hid in cellars as their own communities became battlegrounds.