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Civil War - The Home Front

Updated on May 3, 2015
Virginia Allain profile image

In researching my Civil War ancestor, I became fascinated by all aspects of that war. If you're a Civil War buff, check out my topics.


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

show route and directions
A markerNancy Angeline (Long) Tower's birthplace -
harrison Indiana
get directions

B markerWhere Nancy and Abraham Tower lived when he left for the Civil War -
Leopold IN
get directions

C markerLaclede, Missouri -
Laclede, MO 64651, USA
get directions

Where Nancy moved to be with her sister after Abraham was missing-in-action.

D markerTyro KS - where Nancy Tower lived for the last years of her life. -
Tyro, KS
get directions

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

Cabin in the state of Virginia.
Cabin in the state of Virginia. | Source

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.


Anna Elizabeth Dickinson by IsisoftheEast

© 2011 Virginia Allain

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    • profile image

      tinac4242 4 years ago

      I love to read about history and see what life was about in these times. Very informative.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I can't wait to read more about this aspect of your family history. I tend to like the personal stories more than the big historical ones.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Excellent and informative - great work! Blessed by a SquidAngel!