| American History Stories, Volume IV|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of the great conflict from the time Lincoln became president and the southern states seceded, through the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, until the close of the war. Includes poems, songs, and illustrations commemorating the events. Ages 8-12 |
THE HOME SIDE OF THE WAR PICTURE
It would not be fair at all to the women and children of
these times, neither do I think it would be a true story of
the war if I were to tell you of nothing but the battles.
Battles are terrible enough; or if you think so, grand
enough, and brave enough. But you must not think that
the whole of war is carried on in the battle-field.
Suppose, little boy and little girl, there were a war going
on in our country to-day. Suppose your father were to go
as a soldier to this war. He might look very fine as he
marched away in his blue coat, with its gilt braid and its
 brass buttons. You might be very proud of him, as no
doubt you would be; but do you think that would be all,
just your seeing him look handsome and brave, and your
feeling proud of him?
I am afraid after he had gone and the house was so quiet,
and mamma looked so pale and white, and every day when
the newspaper came you hardly dared read it for fear you
would learn that your papa had been shot dead, or that he
had been put into the black prisons—I am afraid you would
come to think that there was something more to war than
plumes and brass buttons.
And suppose, by and by, you should hear that your papa
was starving, that his shoes and stockings were all worn
out, and that his feet were lame and sore from
marching the hot, rough roads, and that he was sick and dying!
Suppose as the long weeks went on, mamma should have
to go out to find some work to earn money to feed you and
your little brothers and sisters—would war seem then a
beautiful thing, do you think?
But this is what always does come into the homes when
the papas and the big brothers go to the battle field.
Mamma's heart grows very heavy, I fear; and the little
children, too, begin to learn that war is a sad, sad thing.
But in this civil war of ours, I must tell you how brave
these mothers and children were. How generous they were
and how willing to work.
 The rich sent money and food for the soldiers most freely;
but the clothes, the stockings,—these things came usually
from the poor who had no money to give. Everywhere
societies were formed, called "Soldiers' Relief Societies."
The rich would bring to these societies money and cloth and
yarn, and the poor people who had nothing to give, would
take the cloth and the yarn home to make up into clothes
and stockings for the soldiers. In among these wretched
battles, I must tell you a story now and then about these
good women and children.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics