Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Shively Meier

Second Advisor

Dr. John Kneebone

Third Advisor

Dr. John Coski


This paper crafts a narrative about how elite, white Richmond women experienced the fall and rebuilding of their city in April and May 1865. At first, the women feared the entrance of the occupying army because they believed the troops would treat them as enemies. However, the goal of the white occupiers was to restore order in the city. Even though they were initially saddened by the occupation, many women were surprised at the courtesy and respected afforded them by the Union troops. Black soldiers also made up the occupying army, and women struggled to submit to black authority. With occupation came the emancipation of slaves, and this paper also examines how women adjusted to new relationships with freed blacks. By the end of May, white women and white Union soldiers bonded over their attempt to control the black population, with some women and soldiers even beginning to socialize.


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