The Civil War is most often described as one in which brother fought against brother. But the most devastating war fought on American soil was also one in which women demonstrated heroic deeds, selfless acts, and courage beyond measure. Women mobilized soup kitchens and relief societies. Women cared for wounded soldiers. Women were effective spies. And it is estimated that 300 women fought on the battlefields, usually disguised as men. The most fascinating Civil War women include:
- Harriet Tubman, a former slave, who led hundreds of fellow slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad
- Four hundred women who were seized in Roswell, Georgia, deported to Indiana, and vanished without a trace
- Belle Boyd, the "Siren of the Shenandoah," who at the age of seventeen killed a Union soldier
- "Crazy" Elizabeth Van Lew, who deliberately fostered the impression that she was eccentric so that she could be an effective spy for the North
"The poor fellow sprang from my hands and fell back quivering in the agonies of death. A bullet had passed between my body and the right arm which supported him, cutting through my sleeve and passing through his chest from shoulder to shoulder." ―Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross
"We were all amused and disgusted at the sight of a thing that nothing but the debased and depraved Yankee nation could produce. [A woman] was dressed in the full uniform of a Federal surgeon. She was not good looking, and of course had tongue enough for a regiment of men." ―Captain Benedict J. Semmes, describing Mary Walker, M.D.