The majority of Hoosiers in the Civil War lived in rural areas. This meant that most Indiana families lived on farms where work was shared between men, women, and children.
When Abraham Lincoln first called for 75,000 troops to stop the rebellion, Indiana quickly provided its required 7,500 volunteers. Over the course of the next four years, more than 200,000 Hoosier men served in the military. Just as those on the home front did throughout the rest of the country, Indiana’s women took jobs that had previously been filled by men. In particular, those in rural areas worked hard to keep their farms running. In Indianapolis, they worked in the city’s munitions factory, and the Sisters of Providence were given the task of running the City Hospital for sick and wounded soldiers. Women also supported the war effort by contributing to local Aid Societies and later the state and national Sanitary Commissions.
The Civil War was the defining event in many children’s lives. Children in the Civil War often continued going to school, and they still played and did their chores.
Those who had a father or brothers (or both) serving in the Army certainly felt that absence and often had to do more chores to help keep homes and businesses running. Younger sons often took the responsibility of being the “Head of the Household,” and sons and daughters had to help their stressed and worried mothers. These additional responsibilities sometimes made it difficult for children to attend school. This was especially true for families in rural areas.