Memory and Mourning
Most Southern whites responded to defeat with grief and dismay. "The demoralization is complete," wrote a Georgia girl. "We are whipped, there is no doubt about it."
Privately, white Southerners struggled to come to terms with the appalling loss of life, a disaster without parallel in the American experience.
women had taken on new roles during the Civil War, assuming greater and
greater authority for managing farms and plantations while their husbands
were absent, or serving as nurses, teachers, and in other professions.
some white Southerners looked to the future and a New South, others turned
with nostalgia to a romanticized view of slavery and of the Confederacy,
increasingly remembered as a noble Lost Cause.