Resource

Scenes from the Confederate Home Front

A Baltimore artist depicts the hardships and struggles of Confederate women.

Valiant Men

Adalbert John Volck (artist), “Valiant Men – “Dat Fite Mit Siegel,” Confederate War Etchings, 1863. New-York Historical Society Library.

Print Image
Tracks of the Armies

Adalbert John Volck (artist), “Tracks of the Armies,” Confederate War Etchings, 1863. New-York Historical Society Library.

Print Image
Slaves Concealing Their Master

Adalbert John Volck (artist), “Slaves Concealing Their Master from a Search Party,” Confederate War Etchings, 1863. New-York Historical Society Library.

Print Image
Searching for Arms

Adalbert John Volck (artist), “Searching for Arms,” Confederate War Etchings, 1863. New-York Historical Society Library.

Print Image
Offering of Bells

Adalbert John Volck (artist), “Offering of Bells to be Cast into Cannon,” Confederate War Etchings, 1863. New-York Historical Society Library.

Print Image
Making Clothes for the Boys

Adalbert John Volck (artist), “Making Clothes for the Boys in the Army,” Confederate War Etchings, 1863. New-York Historical Society Library.

Print Image
Jamison’s Jayhawkers

Adalbert John Volck (artist), “Jamison’s Jayhawkers,” Confederate War Etchings, 1863. New-York Historical Society Library.

Print Image
Formation of Guerilla Bands

Adalbert John Volck (artist), “Formation of Guerilla Bands,” Confederate War Etchings, 1863. New-York Historical Society Library.

Print Image
Cave Life in Vicksburg

Adalbert John Volck (artist), “Cave Life in Vicksburg During the Siege,” Confederate War Etchings, 1863. New-York Historical Society Library.

Print Image

Background

Confederate women experienced the ravages of the Civil War more intimately than Union women. Both nations lost husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers, but the smaller population of the Confederacy meant that these losses added up to a higher percentage of the total population. The loss of trade throughout the war meant that Confederate women lacked the food and goods they needed to survive. And by the war’s end, nearly every part of the Confederacy had been invaded or occupied by Union troops, bringing the violence and horrors of the battlefield directly into many women’s lives and homes.

About the Image

These engravings were created by Dr. Adalbert John Volck during the first half of the Civil War. Volck was a German immigrant who worked in Baltimore as a dentist. He created the engravings as a response to the pro-Union work of another German immigrant artist named Thomas Nast. Volck wanted to make illustrations that were sympathetic to the Confederacy. In all, he published 30 engravings that he circulated to 200 subscribers.

These nine engravings from Volck’s collection highlight the struggles and efforts of Confederate women. Because Volck’s goal was emotional impact rather than accuracy, the scenes should not be taken as absolute fact. However, they do evoke the trials and tribulations experienced by Confederate women throughout the war.

Vocabulary

  • Confederate: Relating to the group of states that seceded from the United States before the Civil War in order to preserve slavery.
  • engraving: A picture made from an engraved plate of metal or wood.
  • Union: The name for the states that remained a part of the United States during the Civil War.

Discussion Questions

  • What do these scenes reveal about life on the Confederate home front?
  • Why do you think Volck dedicated so many of his 30 engravings to the experiences of Confederate women?
  • What is the value of examining works of art that don’t necessarily depict exact events?
Print Section

Suggested Activities

Themes

AMERICAN CULTURE; DOMESTICITY AND FAMILY

New-York Historical Society Curriculum Library Connections

Source Notes
Print Section
Print Entire Page