Soldiers' Benevolent Society

Soldiers' Benevolent Society

Living history isn't just about the military. It highlights civilian activities and attitudes from manners to music, lifestyle to fashion, politics to domestic chores, recreating the daily chores of civilians, men, women, and children.


During the American Civil War, the total population was 34.3 million. Total military

Enrolment was 3.9 million or 11.1% of the American population. That left 88.9% or

30.4 million civilians at home, on farms, in factories, running the country while the

youth of the nation was out defending what they believed in. Members of the SBS

interpret the many facets of that civilian population with impressions ranging from Southern Belles to Southern refugees, nurses to nuns, sanitary commission workers to Vivandieres, and everything in between. Members research and share information, making and sewing much of their own clothing, all to period standards and patterns. Developing a first person impression is an ongoing challenge as well as learning to speak and act in the manner of the period.


Did you know:

1. Women wore up to seven layers of underpinnings under their dresses.

2. The fan, parasol, gloves, and handkerchiefs all had a language of their own, which women used very effectively to communicate.

3. There were four stages of mourning for widows, while widowers were expected to re-marry as soon as possible.

4. It was improper for a single lady to flirt, but quite acceptable for a married lady to do so.


Some members are spouses of soldiers in the military units, others are singles or couples bringing a specific impression to the organization. The common bond is an interest in the civilian aspect of this fascinating period in History. Each member brings a unique perspective, area of interest and skill set to the group.

The SBS at the Blue and Grey Ball

The SBS at the Blue and Grey Ball