Life under Union Occupation: Elite Women in Richmond, April and May 1865

USS ALASKA

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Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU Scholars Compass
Theses and Dissertations Graduate School
2016

Life under Union Occupation: Elite Women in Richmond, April and May 1865

by Amanda C. Tompkins

Virginia Commonwealth University
This Thesis is brought to you for free and open access by the Graduate School at VCU Scholars Compass. It has been accepted for inclusion in Theses and Dissertations by an authorized administrator of VCU Scholars Compass. For more information, please contact libcompass@vcu.edu.

This paper crafts a narrative about how elite, white Richmond women experienced the fall and rebuilding of their city in April and May 1865. At first, the women feared the entrance of the occupying army because they believed the troops would treat them as enemies. However, the goal of the white occupiers was to restore order in the city. Even though they were initially saddened by the occupation, many women were surprised at the courtesy and respected afforded them by the Union troops. Black soldiers also made up the occupying army, and women struggled to submit to black authority. With occupation came the emancipation of slaves, and this paper also examines how women adjusted to new relationships with freed blacks. By the end of May, white women and white Union soldiers bonded over their attempt to control the black population, with some women and soldiers even beginning to socialize.

https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5151&context=etd

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USS ALASKA
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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Thanks for this! With parts of Richmond reduced to ruins in those awful riots life must have been arduous at best for everyone. I'd had an idea civilians remained hostile so good to read some began the process of gluing ourselves back together. Must read this, thank you!
 



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