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this was the common women ware because the dress is what was accepted for a women and was made to let her work.
War to Prevent Southern Independence era children- the father is absent because he was killed in battle at Cold Harbor by Lincoln's Army. The mother was murdered by Sherman's men. So sad. And all to enforce the Morrill tariff act against the south.
This woman wears her large bonnet bow-tie considerably more effectively than the Civil War widow pinned elsewhere on this board. This photgraph comes from a set by daviladraws, via Flickr, that is full of similarly excellent images; click through to the source for a full look, as there are too many wonderful things to pin them all here.