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They Also Served

They Also Served

by Robert Wilson, Carl Clair, Carl Clair
Celebrating his first night in the President's House, John Adams offered the following toast, "May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this house." To which his wife Abigail replied, "Remember the ladies.

It is hoped that this modest work, which we have entitled "They Also Served", will shed new light on the lives of the remarkable women who shared the


Celebrating his first night in the President's House, John Adams offered the following toast, "May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this house." To which his wife Abigail replied, "Remember the ladies.

It is hoped that this modest work, which we have entitled "They Also Served", will shed new light on the lives of the remarkable women who shared the history of this terrible time along with their warrior husbands. We have gathered these stories from various sources including books, magazines, the Internet, and several archival collections. A conscientious effort has been made to insure the information used in the telling of these stories has not only been accurate, but also fully documented.

After Fort Sumter, the men left in droves obeying the call of their governments to serve with the armies being formed, not to return for years or at all. The glamorous picture of the brave men riding off to war is a popular one, however, it remained for the wives to take up the many burdens their departures left behind. Overnight, wives became heads of family with sole responsibility for maintaining home and hearth. Most were completely unschooled in managing household finances or supervising plantation or farm laborers. Alone, they bore the deaths of their children and suffered the shock of news from the front that their husbands had been killed or captured.

Somehow, most of them survived and, in the process, added poignant, and truly amazing stories to Civil War folklore.

They managed the home front as single parents for years. They followed their husbands to the front providing comfort and support, displaying great courage under dangerous and tryingconditions. They provided badly needed nursing care. They developed skill at unraveling the politics of the military bureaucracy seeking ways they might support the careers of their loved ones. They suffered the anguish of spousal unfaithfulness. They served and died in support of a conflict that they little understood. Throughout the long four years they remained faithful to their respective causes without complaint and, often, with good cheer.

One of our early favorites was the fascinating Fanny Haralson Gordon, wife of Confederate General John Brown Gordon. This formidable woman decided to remain with her husband as much of the time as possible under what, at times, became truly hazardous conditions. With the professional help of the staff at the University of Georgia Libraries we were able to develop a profile of Fanny's life prior to, during, and after the Civil War. Her spectacular story drove us forward with renewed energy. We next found the flamboyant Libby Custer, the noble and stoic Mary Custis Lee, followed by the melancholy Fanny Chamberlain. We were hooked.

And so, we have heeded the admonition of the remarkable Abigail and hope this book will help in "Remembering the Ladies"


Product Details

Xlibris Corporation
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are Saying About This

Roger Monthey
Roger Monthey, Cumberland Fireside, Maine
They Also Served is an excellent short read filled with interesting vignettes on wives of Civil War generals. Carefully researched and with an easy-to-read flowing style, I highly recommend this book to all devotees of the Civil War who may not be acquainted with stories of these women who shared the history of their warrior husbands. This book brings insights into the personal lives of these families, through the lens of letters sent to and from the front, or from personal diaries. There are lots of interesting tidbits of information which will add much color and intrigue to your knowledge of Civil War history.
Rita M. Bean
Rita M. Bean, Professor of Education, University of Pittsburgh
In this book, Wilson & Clair describe the lives of 33 women who were wives of Civil War Generals. The title of the book, They Also Served, reveals a great deal about the viewpoints of the authors as they tell the tales of these remarkable women and their lives. Fundamentally, they demonstrated that the strength, courage, tenacity, and love of these women were influential in how their husbands lived and performed their duties.

Many of these women actively lived with their husbands at their postings, often putting themselves in danger. For example, Fanny Haralson Gordon, wife of Major General John Brown Gordon, left her two sons with grandparents and followed her husband to the front lines. When he was wounded at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), she cared for him during his recovery. Indeed, he claimed that he owed his life to her nursing.

Although I enjoyed reading about all of the wives, one of my favorite ladies was Julie Dent Grant, wife of Ulysses Grant. Mrs. Grant, who served as first lady during the eight years of Grant’s presidency, went on to work for women’s suffrage and also wrote her own memoirs. I was intrigued with the fact that six of these women became authors, some writing about their husband’s lives while others chose to write novels, memoirs, or children’s stories.

It is obvious that Wilson & Clair did extensive research to uncover the fascinating lives of these women. The stories are at times sad at times, somewhat humorous. But each one of these short vignettes captures not only the lives of these women, but provides important insights into the lives of their husbands at this important time in U.S. history. The book broadened my knowledge of the Civil War in a very personal way by telling the stories of individuals who were deeply affected by that war. But, most of all, the book illustrated for me the key role of women not only in supporting the work of their husbands, but as individuals with their own stories to tell.

Meet the Author

Robert Wilson (b. 1957) is a British writer of crime novels best known for his Bruce Medway series, set in West Africa; the Javier Falcón series, set in Spain; and the Charles Boxer series. The stand-alone book A Small Death in Lisbon won the Gold Dagger Award as the Best Crime Novel of the Year from Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association. The author of more than a dozen books in all, Wilson divides his time between the UK and Portugal.

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