"THE WORLD WILL LITTLE NOTE NOR LONG REMEMBER": WOMEN AND GENDER IN THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG
Ericson, Christina Lynn
Muncy, Robyn L.
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This thesis is a gender analysis of the experiences of women in and around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War battle in 1863. It examines ten eyewitness accounts written by these women to assess the impact of both the battle and the war upon them. It concludes that neither the battle nor the war was a "watershed" for these women. Gettysburg women appear to have more similarities with Southern women than other Northern women due to experiences including dealing with the realities of men's absence, military occupation, and battle. The most striking difference between the women of Gettysburg and other Northern women is the absence of a "second generation" of benevolent ideology. Instead of subscribing to the "new" efficient view of benevolence, Gettysburg women retained a sentimental, localized and much less structured form of charity. This thesis explores image versus reality. Personas and images of the Battle of Gettysburg that persist in popular memory often are not, and indeed never were, an accurate picture of contemporary gender relations. Realities of individuals were often modified to reinforce existing gender roles. Traditional images of Gettysburg women as passive witnesses to the battle are an example of this. Female eyewitness accounts of the battle actually revealed fluctuations in acceptable "manly" and "womanly" behavior. Though these women did not "seize" the opportunities of their non-traditional service during the battle, the significance of these experiences should not be overlooked.