The ritual of mourning has been in existence since the beginning of mankind. In mid-19th Century America through the Early 1900's,Victorian rituals and the etiquette of mourning preoccupied a divided nation.
Upon the death of her beloved husband Albert in December of 1861, Queen Victoria set the stage for what would become the Victorian style of mourning the dead. Queen Victoria's loss sent her into seclusion, she donned a widow's cap and gave instructions on how to decorate her kingdom for mourning.
Americans, though preoccupied with the onslaught of the Civil War, mirrored her image. They could relate to the Queen and her stoic and noble role, afterall, they too had loved ones to mourn with family and children left behind.
The ritual of mourning was done out of respect for the lost loved one. Paying tribute to the dead became a way of life in Civil War America.