When most people think of the Civil War, they think of the men that fought in it. However, many women also played significant roles in the Civil War. These roles both had some women stay within their traditional gender roles and require others to act outside the “Sphere of Domesticity”.
One traditional role that many women played was as nurses for the army. Some nurses included Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton, and Louisa May Alcott. Another traditional role done by women was organizing charity. Alice Chapin was one of these people. She sent gifts to soldiers and cared for victims. Many other women worked in soldiers aid societies. They went around their towns and gathered donations of food and clothing to send to the front line. They also made their own stuff to send to the soldiers. This aid was an intrical part of the war.
Martha Coston was one woman who acted outside the “Sphere of Domesticity”. After her husband died, she continued his work of developing a flare for the navy. She then sold it to them and her flares were used for decades after. Other women who played nontraditional roles were Belle Boyd and Rose O’Neal Greenhow. Both women served as spies for the confederate army. They left their homes and went undercover in the north stealing secrets. They even killed union soldiers. Other nontraditional roles included women who left their families to become nurses and women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the war. All of these roles in the war were performed by women who acted outside the traditional “Sphere of Domesticity”.