Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2017

Department 1



Adalbert Johann Volck’s 1861 sketch of Union soldiers, “Searching for Arms,” represents a substantial contribution to the narrative about gender relations during the American Civil War. This simple, small sketch offers the observer a window into the past. It is a collision of symbols and meaning—from gender to war to the household—all wrapped up in one image. This is a portrait sketch of a woman being invaded in her domestic, private sphere, revealing so much about gender relations during the time. The mistress herself seemed to embody a vast range of sentiments such as anger, fear, frailty, and strength, proving the tension in her role as a wife, a mother, and guardian of the home. This inner conflict is something that all women faced during this time as they strove to remain loyal to the cause for which their husbands fought.


Written for History 245: Gender and the American Civil War.

More information on the print analyzed by Lynn, "Searching for Arms," can be found in Gettysburg College's Civil War Era digital collection.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.