Civil War Dresses
Despite the famous scene in Gone with the Wind, most Civil War dresses were not made from curtains.
It did happen in the South where there were fabric shortages, but most Victorian dresses for daily wear needed to be made of more durable material.
We associate Victorian women with hoop skirts, but they were only worn for special occasions.
The typical farm wife needed something more practical for doing chores. She still achieved a wide skirt by wearing lots of petticoats, but she did not have to deal with the swinging and often awkward hoop.
Photos of Civil War Clothing
Here some authentic period photos from the Library of Congress that show women in a variety of settings.
Please keep in mind that photography was rare and these women likely dressed up in their best outfit to have their pictures taken.
1862 — These ladies are working on supplies to send to the troops.
1864 — Here is a woman in a camp with the men.
1864 — The nurses in this picture are wearing average Victorian dress.
1865 — This lady is carrying a parasol to protect her skin from the sun. Suntans were considered a sign of physical labor, so fair skin was associated with wealth and the upper class.
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