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Rose O"Neal Greenhow

             This letter from Rose O"Neal Greenhow to Colonel A. Boteler, dated July 20, 1863, reveals much about the social history of the Civil War, specifically the role of women during this period. Throughout history, women have always been thought of as inferior to men. When women are mentioned in the Civil War, most people only think of nurses and of women performing menial domestic tasks such as cooking and cleaning. However, in the passage we can see that in some cases, women actually played major roles in determining the future of our nation. For instance, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, a spy for the Confederate Army, was accredited by the president of the Confederate Union, Jefferson Davis, with winning the Battle of Manassas. It is also believed that the secret message she delivered to General Beauregard caused him to ultimately win the battle of Bull Run. Her case is also unique because it is obvious that both General Beauregard and Colonel Boteler thought of Greenhow as more of an equal than was common in their time. In the letter, Greenhow tells us that Beauregard gives her a permit to visit Fort Sumter, an obvious indication of trust in the fellow secessionist. Also, the language that Greenhow uses throughout the letter to the Colonel implies that they were more than just colleagues supporting the same cause, but friends. Greenhow says to Colonel Boteler, " the weather is delightful. I wish with all my heart that you were here- and closes her letter with, "With my best regards believe me always your friend,". This informal language shows us that some women were as respected and revered as men during the Civil War.

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