One of the things we like to do at the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery is talk about women and their role in the War Between the States. Women during the War made many contributions to both north and south, but also fought a war of gender and social reform on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.
Opportunities during the war became available in a variety of vocations never before offered to women. Nursing, for one, had always been thought to be a man’s job, far too stressful for the “delicate nature” of the “weaker sex”. Despite this attitude, women entered the war effort in droves as nurses to help care for the unbelievable number of casualties.
Kate Cumming was one of these stalwart women. I recently did a talk about the journal she kept during the War.titled: Kate Cumming, the Journal of a Confederate Nurse. I ordered it on Amazon and found it quite intriguing and enlightening, as she wrote daily about her experiences of nursing the wounded during the heartaches of war.
Her faith in God is paramount and she sees everything that happens through the prism of her Christian commitment and knowledge of scripture. It is a difficult book to read as it describes the horrendous suffering that the valiant soldiers of the south experienced.
However, it also describes the accomplishments and fortitude of the women of the Confederacy who were willing to give up so much to nurse our wounded during those four years of bloody conflict. They cared passionately about what they were doing for The Cause.
As they say about movies – “read it or miss it”? I say, read it!!!