Needle and thread were important tools for women in supporting and giving comfort to soldiers. The last gift a mother, wife, or other female relative often gave to a departing soldier was a sewing kit, called a “housewife”, that they made for him to carry to repair his uniform. Women gathered in church halls and parlors to sew the vast quantities of bed shirts and linens needed for the wounded. The work likely gave them some solace and a chance to share news as they gathered to work. Read more in Ardeana Hamlin’s article at Bangor Daily News.
“Women contributed to the war effort in innumerable ways. Women’s domestic work, including sewing, took on new meaning when their labors were destined to assist soldiers.” Selection from “The Influence of Woman”, Harper’s Weekly, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries
Link to online archive of the exhibition “Women on the Border: Maryland Perspectives of the Civil War”.