Civil War - The Home Front
What Was Life Like for Women While the Men Went Away to the Civil War?
The battles and campaigns of the Civil War are quite well documented, but I see little information about the effects of the war on the wife and children left behind. What was life like on the home front during the Civil War? That's a big topic, so I'll narrow it down to what was life like in Southern Indiana for my great-great grandmother, Nancy Angeline (Long) Tower.
Her husband, Abraham Bates Tower was mustered into Company G, 93rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry on August 28, 1862. It was three years before he came back from the war, a greatly changed man. They are listed as living in Leopold, Indiana at the time of his enlistment. I'll share with you here what I can piece together of her story.
(The photo shows Nancy Angeline and Abraham Bates Tower some time after the Civil War. She is holding a grandchild in the photo.)
Some Background Information on Nancy Angeline Long
She was born May 2, 1840 in Harrison, Harrison County, Indiana, United States
Her parents are Thomas Long and Nancy Ann Daggs
Nancy Angeline is the sister of Rebecca Long, Mildred Long, Mary Jane Long, Sarah J Long, William Long and Minva Long.
Nancy Angeline and Abraham Tower had been married for four years when he left for the Civil War. At that time, they had 2 young children.
She died August 4, 1909 in Tyro, Montgomery County, Kansas. Nancy Angeline had a stroke and was cared for by her daughters, Alice and Lissa. In mid-1907, her daughter Viola Matilda Tower McGhee came from Arkansas to take care of her. (from the book My Flint Hills Childhood)
Places in Nancy Tower's Life
Where Nancy moved to be with her sister after Abraham was missing-in-action.
We Don't Know What Kind of House the Towers Lived in
It might have been like this vintage log cabin. Perhaps they were living with the Tower or the Long family and did not have a place of their own. I want to find out more about that.
Before the war, the census shows Nancy and Abraham sharing a house with another couple. Both men are listed as coopers (barrel makers). Both couples had young children.
Perhaps It Was a Cabin Like This One
Women's Role on the Home Front
Recipes from the Civil War Era
Corn was commonly made into meal in Indiana and was served regularly as cornbread or corn muffins. Here's a Civil War era cornbread recipe.
Questions I Want to Answer about Nancy Tower's Life during the Civil War
- Where was she living? In the home they had before the war? With her parents? With Abraham's parents?
- What was she living on? Did Abraham get a signing bonus that she could draw on? Did he send money from his pay? What about after he was missing and presumed dead and there would have been no pay?
- Did they live in the country or in the town? What kind of house was it? How was it furnished?
- What was Abraham's job before the war? If it was farming, was Nancy able to keep the farm going?
Update: In the 1860 census, AB Tower (age 22) and Nancy A. Tower (age 20) are living with S.J. Linn (age 22) and Rebecca J. Linn (age 21). There were two children in the household, Sarah A. Tower (age 8/12) and Mary E. Linn (age 7/12). Also in the household was Nancy's mother, Nancy A. Long (age 54). Both AB Tower and S.J. Linn are listed as coopers.
- How did she travel to Missouri to stay with her sister after she thought Abraham was dead? I'm guessing this was by train, but the railroads must have been busy with moving troops and goods for the war. Missouri was part of the Confederacy, while her home state of Indiana was part of the Union.
How Would Nancy Angeline Dress?
Women's Clothing from the Civil War Era
This would depend on their social status in the community and their lifestyle. I need to find more about Nancy and Abraham's background for this.
Read about the Clothing Worn in the Civil War Period
Anna Elizabeth Dickinson by IsisoftheEast
Learn More about Women's Clothing in the 1860s
- How-To Wear Civil War Era Dresses
Dressing in a Victorian-style gown is a fun and feminine way for women of all ages to get to play "dress-up". It's particularly exciting if you are attending a Civil War reenactment where everyone else is in costume too!Credit: upickme91 via Ebay ...
- How to Get Started as a Lady Civil War Reenactor
I've always been something of a Civil War geek, and I'd seen Civil War reenactors in movies such as Glory and North and South, but I always thought that was something you had to go to school for, or at least have some sort of prior experience in,...
Links about Women in the Civil War
- Civil War Women Blog
Abolitionist Movement African American Women Authors and Poets Battle of Gettysburg Civil War Diaries Civil War Doctors Civil War Events Civil War Generals Civil War holiday Civil War Leaders Civil War Nurses Civil War Places Civil War Soldiers Civil
© 2011 Virginia Allain