The Civil War

Civilian Families in the South

Civilian Families in the South
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.12

     challenging words:    plant-based, re-forge, re-unified, starvation, dire, wartime, looms, reconstruction, odds, time-consuming, camps, wealthy, entertainment, ammunition, confederate, majority
     content words:    Civil War

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Civilian Families in the South
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     When you think of the South during the Civil War, you probably think of soldiers marching off to battle. Do you ever wonder what it might have been like for the people left at home?
2     The South did not have a lot of industry at the time of the war. A large number of the people lived on farms and plantations. The ages of the majority of those who went to war ranged between 18 and 35 years. That left mainly women, the very young, and the old. Most of those leaving to fight were planning to stay until the end.
3     Supplies like medicines, salt, coffee, and cloth-- which were common before the war--were soon in short supply. The blockades stopped most medicines from Europe from reaching the Confederacy. Many people went back to using plant-based home remedies in place of those things. They also found substitutes for coffee, salt, and cloth dyes.
4     No cloth was thrown away. It was reused again and again. Spinning wheels and looms that had been put away in attics were put to use again. Homegrown wool, flax, and cotton was spun and woven into cloth on them.
5     Homemade fabrics were dyed natural colors from the plant materials available. Buttons were made from wood and bone. Wood even became a common sole for shoes.

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