On the eve of the Civil War, the South found themselves in a curious predicament. The North was highly industrialized. They could produce arms, ammunition, and finished goods in a capacity that the South could not hope to match. Headed into the war they needed to either seriously ramp up the industrial base, or depend on the European powers to provide the goods and war material they needed.
At the peak of the war, the North had over 100,000 factories with over 1 million factory workers churning out products. The South managed to work up to approx 20,000 factories with just over 100,000 working in them.
To make up for the gap the Confederacy returned back to the roots of home-based manufacturing. The scene above is a depiction of a Southern woman at a work table in her home assembling cartridges. Doing such work, as well as making blankets, cooking for the troops, sewing for the troops and even watching over the family farms were their primary role during the war.
Interestingly enough, such home-based manufacturing was one of the primary roles of the women on the home front during the American Revolution. While then men went out to fight, the women provided them the means to carry one.
It was not enough. As the war progressed the power of the Northern industry was brought to bear. The South simply could not keep up. Many of the men of the Confederate army would have gladly continued fighting. They were simply running out of the means to do so.