RVA50 Object 28 “Mourning Dress, 1863”

Mourning Dress, 1863
Worn by Mrs. Benjamin Rose
Silk, cambric

Beginning in the spring of 1861, Richmond, like many other communities learned first hand the price of war. The outbreak of fighting in early American Civil War conflicts like the artillery bombardment of Fort Sumter, the Battle of Philippi and the First Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas) saw the first casualties.  Richmonders buried their dead, and the survivors went into mourning dress. Some never returned to wearing anything but black.

Mrs. Benjamin Rose and her family moved from Richmond to the safety of Orange, Virginia, for the duration of the Civil War. Among the surviving Civil War era clothing in the Rose donation, this black silk gown indicates that Mrs. Rose assumed mourning in memory of a death in 1863.  Following the surrender of the Confederacy, the Roses, like many other families, returned to Richmond and began the process of rebuilding their lives.

Gift of Mrs. Yetta Schwerin and Mrs. Mia Bigger, 1962