Exceptions to this rule are often notable because of the unusual nature of their subjects. Examples of exceptional Civil War women include women who served as spies in the army, women who dressed as men in order to fight beside their loved ones, and women who participated in male-dominated professions such as medicine and politics.

The life of the "average" woman is harder to pinpoint. Diaries provide some insight. Cornelia Jay (shown at left in an undated photograph), the daughter of John C. Jay, kept a diary from 1861 (when she was 22) through 1873. Her life, however, filled with social events and an extended tour of Europe during the war, is a reflection of her economic status.

Next page