Eliza Horton

Many women were mothers, sisters and daughters of men who fought in the war. Perhaps the hardest thing to bear was the death of a loved one. Mrs. Eliza A. Ryer of Yonkers learned of her son's death through a letter from his superior officer. The letter states: "Corp'l Ryer by his manly and soldierly conduct had won the love and esteem of his comrades [Co. F 5th New York Zouaves] and his loss is greatly felt."

Mrs. Eliza Ann Horton of White Plains was lucky enough to see her son William return from three years at war with the 6th New York Heavy Artillery. She celebrated her son through poetry (she wrote under the nom de plume Annie Hawthorne) and through a collage formed of pictures of William, insignia of the 6th NYHA, American flags, and poems. In the poem "To My Son" she writes: "You go to the battle, my son,/ Win for yourself a bright wreath…Though my heart-strings are braided with thine/ I'll loose them, and let thee go." Eliza Horton's poems were collected by E. Jay Hanford and published in 1910 under the title The Poems of Annie Hawthorne (Eliza Ann Horton).

Read on: Women's War Work