||Military, political, and economic aspects of the American Civil War have been minutely examined and re-examined in thousands of published volumes. Relatively little, however, has been written about the courageous women who endured loneliness and upheaval on the home front or who ventured to the sites of combat to witness the horrors of war first hand. In Trials and Triumphs Marilyn Mayer Culpepper provides incomparable insights into women's lives during America's Civil War era. Her respect for these nineteenth-century women and their experiences, as well as her engaging and intimate style, enable Culpepper to transport readers into a tumultuous time of death, destruction, and privation--into a world turned upside down, an environment that seemed as strange to contemporaries as it does in our own time. Culpepper has uncovered forgotten images of America's bloodiest conflict contained in the diaries and correspondence of more than 500 women. Trials and Triumphs reveals the anxiety, hardship, turmoil, and tragedy that women endured during the war years. It reveals the fierce loyalty and enmity that nearly severed the Union, the horror of enemy occupation, and even the desperate austerity of an itinerant refugee life. Just as the Civil War influenced culture and government, it shaped the attitudes of a new breed of pioneering woman. As the war progressed, either by choice or by default, men turned over more and more responsibility to women on the home front. As a result, women began to break free from the "cult of domesticity" to expand career opportunities by managing farms and plantations, by going to work in offices, stores, and in large businesses; they managed fairs that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for soldiers' relief; they worked as teachers and as health-care providers. By war's end, women on both sides of the conflict proved to themselves and to a nearly shattered nation that the appellation "weaker sex" was a misnomer.