The Southern Homefront

After the first few months of the war, the South was facing many shortages, especially clothing the first winter. As the first winter of the war approached, the Confederate army needed wool clothing to keep their soldiers warm. The South did not produce much wool and the North restricted wool from being imported abroad. People from the all over the South donated their warm clothes to the cause.

Almost all the shoes worn in the South were manufactured in the North. With the start of the war, shipments of shoes stopped and there were few new shoes available for years.

Money was another problem. The South’s decision to print money to pay for the war simply led to unbelievable increases in prices for basic items. By the end of 1861, the overall rate of inflation was running 12% per month. Profiteers often bought up all the goods in a store to sell them back at a higher price.

The women’s role changed. With the absence of men, women became heads of households. Women served the Confederate government as clerks and became schoolteachers for the first time. Women at first were denied permission to work in military hospitals, but when casualties rose to the point that wounded men would die in the streets, female nurses would not be denied.

The most unpopular act of the Confederate government was the institution of a draft. Loopholes permitted a drafted man to hire a substitute, leading many wealthy men to avoid service. Many started to conclude that it was "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight." This sentiment and the suffering of their families led many to desert the Confederate armies.

Following the fall of Atlanta, soldiers worried more about their families then staying to fight for their new country. Much of the confederate army started home to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

Source: The Southern Homefront
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