THIS PAGE IS DEDICATED TO MY RESEARCH ON WOMEN IN THE CIVIL WAR
In the summer my husband and I go to some of the battlefields. We
visit museums, and old book stores. We pick up journals and diaries
detailing information on the role of women in the Civil War.
I also play a Civil War woman at the reenactments in which we participate.
I will add to this site interesting articles and research.
Women and the Civil War
* Connecticut in Gettsyburg
* Eyewitness accounts: Gettysburg
* Revealed in a cemetery
* A girl remembers Gettysburg
Matilda (Tillie) J. Pierce, was the daughter of James and Margaret Pierce.
She was born in Gettysburg about 1848 and was age 12 in 1860.
She witnessed the battle of Gettsyburg when she was 15 years old.
These are her recollections which she confided in her friends and had
published in 1840. She kept her eye witness account quiet until
then not wanting to sound as if she thought she were a heroine.
She made that clear.
She considered herself a loyal American daughter. She was born in
Gettsyburg so it is her hometown and she loved it.
Back then it was country,
situated near the southern border of Pennsylvania.
It was a small rural community without much fame until the battle took
place there. The only famous place was the Lutheran College and
Theological Seminary which was open to men students.
By the time she wrote this piece about her experience, Gettysburg had
become a tourist attraction even in 1888. Many entrepreneurs had set up
businesses to cash in on the people who still remembered the battle from living through
the time either in person or vicariously through newspaper articles.
While we think of Culp Hill as the place of a brutal battle, she remembers
it as a charming place to play, to have picnice and enjoy
her friends and family.
Before the canons roared there was laughter on Culp Hill, birds singing,
lovers holding hands. Afterwards, it remained a sacred
memorial to the dead.
No one in Gettsyburg ever thought the war would come to its verdant fields
or interrupt the quiet, pastoral life of the town. I it is forever
now a place of memory where the spirits of the dead linger.
Even hardy men cannot prevent themselves from a tear or two
knowing the slaughter which went on in Gettsyburg.
She was educated at the Young Ladies' Seminary where she received her diploma.
She about 15 at the time. During the war, the Seminary doors
were open to the wounded and the dying and women with little or
no experience of nursing, helped to comfort the wounded.
Another battle hospital was the former Old College Church on
Chambersburg Street. She writes about ordinary people in the people,
tradesmen and farmers who would up bravely helping in the war effort.
These were civilians who had no training in arms. The younger men had left
to join the union. When the battle came to Gettsyburg, the older
men, and even women remained faithful to the Union.
Even students and citizens able to fight were mustered up into emergency
troops. These were under the leadership of Col. Wm. Jennings
and were known as the Pennsylvania Emergency Troops.
These men had to stand their ground when the forces of the South, under
General Lee invaded the small town in hunt for shoes for his men
and against the orders of the commanding General.
The date was June 26th.
Loyal citizens hid wounded Union soldiers in their homes. This action saved
these young men from the horrors of such prisons as Andersonville.
Please return for more articles/essays from my research on the Civil war
and the role women played. They did not stand up for medals or even
consider their actions heroic. They knelled to comfort the wounded
and dying. They opened their homes to save young Union soldiers
wounded in battle. They baked and cooked what little food they
had to feed the army.
Bea Sheftel, writer and researcher
Civil war woman reenactor.