Monday, October 05, 2009

The Civil War “Marrying Craze”

The diaries of hundreds of women of the time attest to the “marrying craze” sweeping the South. "Every girl in Richmond is engaged or about to be”, wrote Phoebe Pember Yates in February 1864. Fear of spinsterhood and natural desire heightened by the immediacy of war led to many unconventional matches, many reflecting the truth of a phrase common to the time, “The blockade don’t keep out babies.”

Things in the North were somewhat better, but single men were still scarce. Mary Livermore wrote, "Wisconsin and Iowa are run by women". Women were doing jobs previously performed by men. Women were in the fields, behind store counters and manning factories. Recuperating soldiers were eagerly sought after.

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