Women of the Civil War : the denial of gender assumptions
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A female nurse by the name of Kate Cummings described the following scene in her diary that she had witnessed when she served on a battlefield: "Gray-haired men--men in the pride of manhood--beardless boys...mutilated in every imaginable way, lying on the floor...so close together that it was almost impossible to walk without stepping on them...." The Civil War was an ugly conflict of violence and brutality between citizens on American soil. Historically, battle scenes depicted brave, fallen male soldiers, heavy artillery fire, gruesome conditions, and fellow countrymen attacking each other. Shockingly, not only did brother fight brother, but sister fought sister. Women during the Civil War found various ways to play crucial roles both on and off the battlefield, and the works written by these fearless women reveal the jobs they undertook, despite socially understood "rules" that told them to do otherwise. By taking on roles predominately held by men, the female population defied the laws of sexism and ultimately scrambled pre-existing gender roles during the Civil War era.