Whether a woman was the mistress of a plantation, the wife of a yeoman farmer, her life was defined by work. Only a small number of women, those related or married to the South's premier planters escaped the demands of society. Plantation women passed quickly from carefree belles to matrons in charge of children, often overseeing the work of household slaves. Many mistresses, especially those on smaller plantations, did work, taking on tasks seen as too insubstantial for slaves, including making candles, sewing clothes, and preparing certain foods. All of these duties were to be done while preserving the mannerisms their husbands expected (Grander, 3).
"After the soldiers left, silence and anxiety fell upon the town like a pall, what should we do next? To be idle was torture" (Confederate, 24) Sara Pryor wrote in her diary. Since women were not allowed to fight in the war they provided clothing, tents, and other supplies for the soldiers who would. Judith McGuire wrote, "Ladies assemble daily, by hundreds, at the various churches, for the purpose of sewing for the soldiers" (Confederate, 25). Many women were excited by the idea of being able to support their cause. The women of society made clothing and bandages for the soldiers. The women who were brave enough to work in the munitions factories usually poor women made cartridges for the soldiers' rifles. Many women were beginning to