Sunday, November 13, 2011

13 November 1867: "with a view to matrimony"

On this day in 1867, the following personal ad was run in the Southern Watchman:

The names used by the young women placing the ad are likely pseudonyms, since they are engaging in somewhat forward behavior for "refined and accomplished" ladies "of good family." However, the war had changed the social world and expectations for many young southern women. Even before the end of the conflict, "changed attitudes and often changed strategies proved necessary as women recognized that men were becoming ever scarcer resources."

Due to poor record keeping during the war, the exact numbers of casualties on either side of the hostilities are unknown.  Of the estimated 1.2 million men who served in the Confederacy, approximately 250,000 were killed in action or by disease, and another 90,000 were wounded.  Estimates for Georgia were that of the approximately 120,000 men who served, between 11,000-25,000 men died in the war. It is generally believed that the country lost nearly 25% of military age (also marriageable age) men. 

Though there is record of some women embracing "spinsterhood" has a patriotic endeavor, "more common...were those single women who remained committed to increasingly impossible hopes." 

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