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Women's Civil War Diaries

Updated on April 26, 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.


Women's Diaries Online Give Insight into the Civil War

I'm researching the lives of my Civil War ancestors, Abraham Bates Tower and his wife, Nancy Angeline, I was delighted that he had a pocket diary that was passed down in the family. How wonderful it would be to have a diary for his wife too. This made me wonder about other women of the Civil War era and what their diaries would tell us about their lives and the effect of the war on women and children.

Fortunately there are some women's diaries published in book form and some that can be read online. Others are carefully secured in the rare book collections of universities and museums. Some remain in the possession of descendants of the original writer and may eventually become available for researchers and Civil War buffs with the easier methods of self-publishing available now.
Perfect Penmanship - Beautiful Antique Engraving by AntiqueImages

Women in Illinois in the Civil War - Video from YouTube

Illinois During the Civil War, 1861-1865: Women and Gender Roles in Civil War Illinois and the North

Listen to a Reading of Marie Ester Brandt's 1861 Diary (Hanover, Indiana)

Mary Chesnut's Illustrated Diary - from the Civil War

Mary Chesnut's Illustrated Diary: Mulberry Edition (2 Volume Set)
Mary Chesnut's Illustrated Diary: Mulberry Edition (2 Volume Set)
"The famous diarist Mary Chesnut recorded the events and her reflections on the Civil War and its leading personalities from within the aristocratic circles of Southern society." (Amazon listing) This edition includes her complete diaries plus her photo collection that was lost until 2007.

Links to Women's Civil War Diaries - that you can read online

Duke Libraries

Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture

Women in the Civil War

Here are diaries that have been published and some social histories.

Diaries Create a Picture in Our Minds of a Person and a Time - that is long gone

we have to sit in the dark except for an hour or so that the children are learning their lessons

Kate : the Journal of a Confederate Nurse
Kate : the Journal of a Confederate Nurse
Follow the daily life of a woman nursing the wounded soldiers of the South in the Civil War. It's also filled with fascinating information for Civil War buffs and historians interested in medical practices of the time and how a hospital worked in the 1860s. Kate comments on war news and gives the names of many that she nursed. If you are looking for a Confederate ancestor, check the index of this book.

Not a Diary, But a Memoir of a Freed Slave - She married a soldier and traveled with a black regiment serving as a nurse

You can read the whole book online.

Civil War Diary of Cornelia Henry - A North Carolina woman's journal

Fear in North Carolina - The published diary of Cornelia Henry and family

Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journals and Letters of the Henry Family
Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journals and Letters of the Henry Family
What was it like for a Confederate family in western part of North Carolina? These letters and journal entries give some idea of that time.

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