Women & Guns in the Civil War era
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Thread: Women & Guns in the Civil War era

  1. #1
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    Women & Guns in the Civil War era

    Hi All,

    Hoping somebody can help me here. A Wake Forest student is doing a research project about women arming themselves during the civil war and reconstruction era. She requested assistance from our department, but I could not track down any Colt firearms ads, catalogs, or otherwise suggesting any direct marketing from Colt towards women in this area. The earliest I can really find is for the model 1908, which of course does not fit her timeframe. Does anyone here have any ads, or potential resources that may dive into any type of detail on the subject? I would like to be able to provide at least a small amount of direction. Thanks!

    Paul
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    Howdy,

    I googled "armed women during the civil war" and found this among others. More info that might be interesting in the bottom of the page. Female Soldiers in the Civil War

    Maybe something to start digging into.

    Best regards, Mel
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    There weren't.

    At that time, directing ads of that nature was unheard of, because of the 'delicate nature' of ladies of the era.

    The little single-shot were always around, as were small pocket revolvers - but those small defenders were initially designed for men and their vest pockets and suit coat pockets.

    Women who needed something really liked them, and often had someone purchase one for them for their use, since the locations where they were most commonly sold in town weren't generally places where ladies frequented - but they could be mailed for, as well.

    The term 'Muff Pistol' came about because those diminutive weapons were popular during an era when women carried muffs, in lieu of purses, and some could accommodate a more diverse inventory beyond mints, mirrors and powder.

    They also armed themselves with weapons left at home by their men - or sent home from their departed.

    These were eminently practical women, and many were good shots, simply because they knew 'why' they may need to be, but as far as documenting much of anything, your Wake Forest student will have to read a lot of material to find any sort of reference that's not anecdotal.
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    I doubt back then, Paul, Colt's directed any firearms literature to women specifically. And as Mel points out, above, some women actually found arms and disguised themselves to join the fight.

    Somewhat interesting, I copied this from the Smithsonian:

    "Even though women weren’t legally allowed to fight in the Civil War, it is estimated that somewhere around 400 women disguised themselves as men and went to war, sometimes without anyone ever discovering their true identities."


    Why weren’t women allowed to fight in the Civil War?
    At the time, women weren’t perceived as equals by any stretch of the imagination. It was the Victorian era and women were mostly confined to the domestic sphere. Both the Union and Confederate armies actually forbade the enlistment of women. I think it was during the Revolutionary War that they established women as nurses because they needed help on the front when soldiers were injured. But women weren’t allowed to serve in combat. Of course, women did disguise themselves and enlist as men. There is evidence that they also did so during the Revolutionary War.


    Related Content





    Bonnie Tsui is the author of She Went to the Field: Women Soldiers in the Civil War, which tells the stories of some of these women. I spoke with the San Francisco-based writer about her research into the seldom-acknowledged participation of women in the Civil War.
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    Tony

    “It's sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues. There is iron in your words of death for all Comanche to see, and so there is iron in your words of life. No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men. The words of Ten Bears carry the same iron of life and death. It is good that warriors such as we meet in the struggle of life, or death ---- it shall be life.” - Ten Bears - “The Outlaw Josey Wales”

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    I doubt she was seeking information on those women who opted to serve the colors - they would have been issued what weapons their units supplied, and there a goodly number of stories and reference materials dealing with them.

    I suspect the request was directed more towards female-specific firearms marketing specific to the era, and while there were a wealth of catalogs for women - none featured firearms, unless one includes the ubiquitous 'Sears, Roebuck and Co., and 'Montgomery Ward & Co.' wish books that sold everything.

    I've actually fielded this one several times before - with answers pretty identical, but I think they wound up picking different topics.

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    You are right, Dogface.

    Seeking information about specific brands of arms especially issued to female, disguised, soldiers would be pretty hopeless and try to write an essay about it would most certainly be even worse. I thought that by the aid of my attached file she (the student) could narrow it down to a few specific women and try to figure out what armament they used and write an essay about them instead of female armament in general, which is a too broad and huge subject to write an essay about.And as you state in your first post "There weren´t"

    Mel


 

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