Confederate Daughters: Coming of Age during the Civil War explores gender, age, and Confederate identity by examining the lives of teenage daughters of Southern slaveholding, secessionist families. These young women clung tenaciously to the gender ideals that upheld marriage and motherhood as the fulfillment of female duty and to the racial order of the slaveholding South, an institution that defined their status and afforded them material privileges. Author Victoria E. Ott discusses how the loyalty of young Southern women to the fledgling nation, born out of a conservative movement to preserve the status quo, brought them into new areas of work, new types of civic activism, and new rituals of courtship during the Civil War.
Social norms for daughters of the elite, their preparation for their roles as Southern women, and their material and emotional connections to the slaveholding class changed drastically during the Civil War. When differences between the North and South proved irreconcilable, Southern daughters demonstrated extraordinary agency in seeking to protect their futures as wives, mothers, and slaveholders.
From a position of young womanhood and privilege, they threw their support behind the movement to create a Confederate identity, which was in turn shaped by their participation in the secession movement and the war effort. Their political engagement is evident from their knowledge of military battles, and was expressed through their clothing, social activities, relationships with peers, and interactions with Union soldiers.
Confederate Daughters also reveals how these young women, in an effort to sustain their families throughout the war, adjusted to new domestic duties, confronting the loss of slaves and other financial hardships by seeking paid work outside their homes.
Drawing on their personal and published recollections of the war, slavery, and the Old South, Ott argues that young women created a unique female identity different from that of older Southern women, the Confederate bellehood. This transformative female identity was an important aspect of the Lost Cause mythology—the version of the conflict that focused on Southern nationalism—and bridged the cultural gap between the antebellum and postbellum periods.
Augmented by twelve illustrations, this book offers a generational understanding of the transitional nature of wartime and its effects on women’s self-perceptions. Confederate Daughters identifies the experiences of these teenage daughters as making a significant contribution to the new woman in the New South.
There has been much scholarship on how the U.S. as a nation reacted to World War I, but few have explored how Alabama responded. Did the state follow the federal government’s lead in organizing its resources or did Alabamians devise their own solutions to unique problems they faced? How did the state’s cultural institutions and government react? What changes occurred in its economy and way of life? What, if any, were the long-term consequences in Alabama? The contributors to this volume address these questions and establish a base for further investigation of the state during this era.
David Alsobrook, Wilson Fallin Jr., Robert J. Jakeman, Dowe Littleton, Martin T. Olliff, Victoria E. Ott, Wesley P. Newton, Michael V. R. Thomason, Ruth Smith Truss, and Robert Saunders Jr.
Published to mark the Civil War sesquicentennial, The Yellowhammer War collects new essays on Alabama’s role in, and experience of, the bloody national conflict and its aftermath.
During the first winter of the war, Confederate soldiers derided the men of an Alabama Confederate unit for their yellow-trimmed uniforms that allegedly resembled the plumage of the yellow-shafted flicker or “yellowhammer” (now the Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus, and the state bird of Alabama). The soldiers’ nickname, “Yellowhammers,” came from this epithet. After the war, Alabama veterans proudly wore yellowhammer feathers in their hats or lapels when attending reunions. Celebrations throughout the state have often expanded on that pageantry and glorified the figures, events, and battles of the Civil War with sometimes dubious attention to historical fact and little awareness of those who supported, resisted, or tolerated the war off the battlefield.
Many books about Alabama’s role in the Civil War have focused serious attention on the military and political history of the war. The Yellowhammer War likewise examines the military and political history of Alabama’s Civil War contributions, but it also covers areas of study usually neglected by centennial scholars, such as race, women, the home front, and Reconstruction. From Patricia A. Hoskins’s look at Jews in Alabama during the Civil War and Jennifer Ann Newman Treviño’s examination of white women’s attitudes during secession to Harriet E. Amos Doss’s study of the reaction of Alabamians to Lincoln’s Assassination and Jason J. Battles’s essay on the Freedman’s Bureau, readers are treated to a broader canvas of topics on the Civil War and the state.
Jason J. Battles / Lonnie A. Burnett / Harriet E. Amos Doss / Bertis English / Michael W. Fitzgerald / Jennifer Lynn Gross / Patricia A. Hoskins / Kenneth W. Noe / Victoria E. Ott / Terry L. Seip / Ben H. Severance / Kristopher A. Teters / Jennifer Ann Newman Treviño / Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins / Brian Steel Wills
Published in Cooperation with the Frances S. Summersell Center for the Study of the South