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Vermont Women and the Civil War
“Vermont women enlisted for the duration.” So said a Vermont historian assessing the war years of 1861-1865.
Vermont’s remarkable Civil War battlefield record is well documented: breaking the flank of Pickett’s Charge, the great stand at Wilderness, the climatic assault at Petersburg.
But little is known of how Vermont women sustained the home front. With nearly 35,000 of the state’s able-bodied men at war, the monumental tasks of keeping more than 30,000 farms in operation became very much a female enterprise.
And women took the place of men in factories and worked after hours making items needed by the soldiers. A Vermont woman edited anti-slavery newspapers, and others spoke against slavery. Also, Vermont women served as nurses in the state’s military hospitals and in the war zone, and taught newly-freed slaves in the South.
This story is told in their words, from letters and diaries that describe life during the Civil War in the Green Mountain State. And at least one Vermont woman appears to have secretly enlisted and fought in a Vermont regiment.
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