"Petticoat Gunboats": The Wartime Expansion of Confederate Women's Discursive Opportunities Through Ladies' Gunboat Societies

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
4,001
#1
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Trace: Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange
Masters Theses Graduate School
5-2013

"Petticoat Gunboats": The Wartime Expansion of Confederate Women's Discursive Opportunities Through Ladies' Gunboat Societies
by Cara Vandergriff

This Thesis is brought to you for free and open access by the Graduate School at Trace: Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange. It has been accepted for inclusion in Masters Theses by an authorized administrator of Trace: Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange. For more information, please contact trace@utk.edu.

Abstract
This study represents a feminist historiographical recovery of the discursive practices of Confederate women in Ladies' Gunboat Societies in the Civil War South, with particular attention to the rhetoric of club formation, epistolary writing, and networking through national newspapers. A turn toward an examination of process-oriented rhetoric as supported in the work of Andrea Lunsford and Robin Jensen provides a robust framework for the methodology of recovery of non-traditional rhetorical texts in this project. As we explore these process-oriented texts, we discover the material motives Confederate women had for contributing to the war effort in an unprecedented way: the construction of weapons of war. This thesis also discusses the mantle of virtuous nationalism and Republican Motherhood Confederate women appropriated in order to participate in new public and political discursive territory. Contrary to some historiographers' view that these discursive breakthroughs were only temporary and that Southern women did not hold the discursive gains allowed during war time, this thesis maintains that new important gains gave Southern women new rhetorical skills that they would use in the formation of postbellum organizations like Ladies' Memorial Associations.

https://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2593&context=utk_gradthes

Learned some new words while reading this... :smile:

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

Attachments


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
4,001
#3
Indeed ma'am, after reading this, I realized it was much more about women's expanding roles and involvement during wartime than the gunboats themselves. Funny how in times of crisis that commonly held, narrowly and strictly defined 'beliefs', 'roles' and 'tradition' are widened and relaxed in an effort to support requirements. And once such latitude is given, it is almost impossible to take back and return to the former status quo.
55

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 6, 2016
Messages
984
#4
The first time I read about women’s role in shipbuilding was when I studied the Fingal soon to be CSS Atlanta. When it landed in Savanah two brothers were contracted to fit her as a ironclad - which was financed by the ladies of Savannah, a first for me to hear about this.

Thanks for the link - the paper was interesting and filled in the rest of the story. It made sense that women, when the lived and stayed on the coast and did not flee inland, would want ships protecting their harbors. I never realized how important the Confederate government thought of them until I read this - - -

“President Jefferson Davis himself collaborated with the Gunboat Society, offering expert knowledge to help the directresses make up their minds as to how they could best go about collecting funds and raw materials necessary for their endeavor.”

They were determined ladies that really made a difference. Perhaps the most profound statement was when I read one lady in her search for funds wrote - - -

"Having already given what is more precious than money, or any earthly treasure—some of us our beloved husbands, and most of us our noble sons, let us unite our efforts to strengthen their hands and cheer their hearts by the purchase of such a vessel, which, with the blessing of God, may prove as formidable to our enemies as the Virginia”.

I especially smiled when I read about an article that was published in the Southern Illustrated News in February 1863 that bore the title - “What Can Woman Do?” apparently whatever they are determined to do.
 

Similar threads




(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top