In response to the tales of suffering from various encampments throughout the Civil War, sixty-five women of Charlotte formed an association of relief and aid called, “The Soldier’s Aid Society of Charlotte”.
The meetings were held in a room given by a Mrs. J.H. Carson, and the very industrious women made over three hundred garments in the first year.
The society also distributed thousands of dollars worth of food, not only to soldiers but also to their destitute families at home.
The “Ladies Memorial Association” was formed out of this society later in the 1860s and the wonderful service to the Confederate dead was continued by the daughters of these patriotic women.
A Confederate hospital was built on South Tryon Street, in Charlotte on the site of the old fairgrounds, and the buildings were used to care for wounded soldiers in the spring of 1865. The men who died there were buried at the back of the fairgrounds but were moved to later to Elmwood Cemetery, supervised by one of the ladies, Mrs. John Wilkes.
A meeting of the Confederate Cabinet was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. F. Phifer because the Secretary of the Treasury Mr. Trenholm was ill and staying the the Phifer’s, so the cabinet meeting was held at their home. Mrs. Phifer, an active member of the society, kept open house throughout the war.
Another society member, Mrs. William White of Charlotte, not only gave her six sons for the Confederacy but also gave herself and her money to the cause. She was hostess to President Jefferson and his escorts while they stayed in Charlotte. You can visit the home of Mrs. White if you decide to visit the Queen city.
Charlotte was considered a safe haven from Yankees because it wasn’t in the main path of the war and people from the lower parts of North Carolina and South Carolina flocked there as a safe haven. The ladies were kept very busy.
On April 18, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina on horseback with one thousand Rebel cavalrymen and, for the following seven days, would be the last Capital of the dying Confederacy. The Confederate Cabinet held its last full meeting there.
This is a very short article about the role of the women of Mecklenburg county during the Civil War. If you’d like to read more about the North Carolina Women of the Confederacy, such as, Secret Service Work, Young Women Take Men’s Places, Blockade Running into Wilmington and much more, please click on the link or the graphic. You can also find the book in my Books and Nooks page.