George W. Chambers. In the Tennessee Mountains, 1887. Tennessee State Museum.
In a time when women were looked to for civility and beauty, many struggled to maintain those values during the Civil War. Soldiers of both sides pillaged the southern landscape, looking for food, warmth, and shelter. Women were left with little to support their families physically or spiritually–ordinary household goods were in short supply and almost no luxury items were available. While most struggled to keep households running at subsistence level and stay in touch with family members at the front or “refugeeing” away from the zone of war, others turned to creative pursuits to keep minds and hands occupied.