Think of the years of devastation caused by war that took their toll on every facet of life in the Southern states. Thousands, black and white, were in danger of starving to death in the months following the end of the war.
Almost one-half of all Southern white men of military age saw service during the war. An article by Retta D. Tindal, titled Reconstruction, 1865-1877, in the December 2012 UDC magazine reports that one-half of those were killed or maimed. South Carolina alone lost more than 18 percent of its soldiers in battle.
The article says, "This loss of manpower was the greatest cause of suffering, and nowhere was that misery reflected more than in the faces of the white women of the South". They now faced foreclosure of their homes for non-payment of taxes. Their Confederate monies were worthless; no banks to loan money; no seeds to plant crops, and no way to buy seeds... their faces reflected their bitterness.
The article goes on to point out that some of these women never recovered from the loss of their pre-war lifestyle. Remember Scarlett O'Hara after the War! Her struggle, though fictional, was based on real life events. Ms. Tindal says "They clung to their pride and dignity, for it was all that remained in their devastated wasteland."
More on Reconstruction tomorrow.