In honor of the 150 Anniversary of the Civil war we gather our permaculture posies, bind are breasts for uniform, prepare the wash tub, and gather the gear of gauze, cotton and whiskey to help at the field hospital.
With quill and parchment in hand, Women often joined the civil war as a way to earn money. The first paid positions for women were the cook and the nurse but others found a pension as soliders or spies more rewarding financially. The hoop skirt was the perfect disguise, lashing a map, directions or instructions to the inside of the boning, women carried messages accross the mason dixon line.
On the battlefield, a lady of charity would find great risk to herself as she mended britches, soothed the pain of the injuried and provided hospice care to those mortally wounded. When the men moved to the next battlefield the women carried on bringing supplies of apples, pickles and preserves often to the hospital steward to provide comfort to those with grave injuries.
Women were resourceful and brought many herbs and remedies from their kitchen gardens including; yarrow and sage to muddle, steep and apply as a poultice to the bruise, scrapped and wounded. Out of cotton gauze? Women used the lambs ear plant provided a soft banadage in place of cotton.
While not fun and games, women would bring dice, cards and whiskey to distract those recovering from injury. She might disguise those items that were frowned upon in a hollowed out bible as not to catch the wrath of the commissed officers.
The Ladies Aid Society was the first to host quilt raffles, pie eating contests, carnivals for children and tea to raise money for the war. Women also organized to provide better conditions in the prison camps by bringing linens, hay and beding, often petitioning Indiana's Governor Morton to provide knitted socks and mittens to the prisoners.
What an honor it is to portray and reflect on the root of sufferage and freedom for all. Huzzah to our ancestors and the women of the civil war!