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.
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.