The mood in Virginia at the time of the breakout of the Civil War was anxious and unsettling. Consider the scene of a grandmother presenting her grandson with an umbrella as he marched off to Bull Run:
How surreal it was for for the women, mothers, grandmothers, sisters and beau's to stand by and watch their men march off to war. Of course, the soldiers were not using unbrellas. Carrying their supply kits, arms and gear were difficult as could be. Often soldiers left behind equipment and supplies, that they really could use, out of sheer fatigue and exhaustion.
Many recruits did not take the raw drill seriously , yet the raw drill was very arduous to master, as one raw recruit remembered:
Mothers, sisters, grandmothers and wives put together "kits" for their men. They consisted of:a leather or cloth pouch containing needles, pins, thread, buttons and scissors. They also supplies the troops with many edible gifts-- pies, cakes, doughnuts and jellies.
The troops marched off in solemn determination with knapsacks containing--trousers, two pairs of drawers, thick boots, stockings (4 pair), flannel shirts (4), a blouse, mirror, razors, bibles, writing utensils, reading books, canned peaches, wool and rubber blankets (In addition to their bayonets, canteens, tin cups and cartidges),
Here are a group of women on the train tracks listening for the first guns at Manassas in 1861.
There are many re-enactments of the Civil War in Virginia and Maryland throughout the summer if you would like to attend one.
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