Over the years, we’ve highlighted photographs of individuals from the Civil War period who did not formally serve in the military. They include servants to soldiers, women who supported the war effort as vivandières and nurses, children in military-inspired costume, family portraits and other male and female non-combatants.
These men, women and children composed the dominant share of the population. Take everyone enumerated in the 1860 census, 31 million. Subtract those who served in the military (3 million), and the remainder is 28 million—or 90.3 percent of the population as a whole.
The Citizenry seeks to capture, through photos, the generation who supported soldiers and sailors in blue and gray.
I’m delighted to announce a new department to recognize them.
Credit for the new department is due to Senior Editor Rick Brown, who mentioned the idea to me at the recent collector’s show in Gettysburg.
Elizabeth Topping, an authority on the subject, also deserves many thanks. She pointed out to me during an exchange of emails, “All civilians were connected to the war—If they did not participate in the war directly as nurses, doctors, sanitary or Christian commission workers, or worked in munitions or in making uniforms they participated in other ways. Many boxed homemade sundries and foodstuffs to send to soldiers in camp and hospital. Many gave food and drink to soldiers as they passed through their cities and towns. Many buried soldiers that were family, friends and strangers. Many held concerts, theatrical benefits, fairs, bazaars, raffles, lotteries, etc., to raise money to aid the soldiers. There was barely a soul whose life was not touched in some way by the war. And let us not forget—those soldiers weren’t birthed from a military womb—they were civilians before and, if they survived, after the war.”
I wholeheartedly endorse Elizabeth’s perspective. I am confident that The Citizenry will bring to life representative faces and stories of the many millions who often worked quietly behind the scenes from 1861 to 1865—and add to our knowledge and understanding of those tumultuous times.
If you have images or ideas to contribute, let me hear from you!
Ronald S. Coddington
Editor and Publisher
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