With thousands of men off fighting in the Civil War, the government hired women and girls - some as young as 10 - to make millions of rounds of ammunition. Poor immigrant girls and widows paid the price for carelessness at three major arsenals. Many of these workers were killed, blown up and burned beyond recognition.
Imagine being 15 years old, facing the bloodiest battle ever to take place on US soil: the Battle of Gettysburg. In July 1863, this is exactly what happened to Tillie Pierce, a normal teenager who became an unlikely heroine of the Civil War (1861-1865). Tillie and other women and girls like her found themselves trapped during this critical three-day battle in Southern Pennsylvania.