Rebel Women vs. Yankee Women
Many stories have been told about the Civil War; there is the story of Gettysburg, Stonewall Jackson’s death, Robert E. Lee leading his solders, and many more. However, we only hear the smallest amount of information about what the wives of these soldiers are doing. It would be interesting to dig deep into the details of the support army general wives gave, what the government expected from women of both sides of the war, and the main differences of lifestyle back on the home front. Women were a huge part of the Civil War and supported the soldiers in many ways. My goal is to find the difference between the support Robert E. Lee’s wife and George Meade’s spouse gave. Robert E. Lee was an outstanding leader so it is a wonder what sort of support he received other than from his soldiers and assistants. George Meade was also an interesting character of the war and took reign at a difficult time, right before Gettysburg; he would have needed some emotional support. Mary Anna Randolph Custis was General Lee’s wife, married in 1831. Even though many women were not educated, Custis had a fine education and was intelligent. Mary’s mother, Molly, was a huge advocate for freeing slaves and eventually had Mary believing in the same rights. They tried to weaken the harsh conditions of slavery and let their own slaves free. However, they were not quite convinced African Americans should be part of the society.1 Mary had many suitors; she turned down requests from distinguished cousins, Sam Houston and two sons from the Revolutionary war hero, Harry Lee. It was believed that there were few worthy of her love, but Robert E. Lee claimed it. He was a distant cousin to her and a childhood friend. Although others thought their finances and sexual life was a scandal, they were wedded. The life of a military wife that Mary had to begin living was a worry to General Lee. She grew up sophisticated and had a wealthy life. Mary, even though she missed...
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