Sex In The Civil War (Documentaries)

[Music] hello I’m Arthur Kent welcome to history undercover at the height of the Civil War washington newspaper complained about widespread prostitution in the nation’s capitol where an estimated 5,000 ladies were marketing their services to Union soldiers down south Nashville was described as a magnet for wayward women and a breeding ground for disease in other words yes there was sex during the Civil War a subject that has been thoroughly documented by author and physician Thomas Lowry our program inspired by Lowry’s research Peaks beneath the covers of both the blue and the gray join us says history undercover presents sex in the Civil War was she a strumpet or a spy she seemed to like the generals it was a war where winning a battle and capturing a city was only half the fight the army was confronted with a social enemy that threatened its very existence women of the town [Music] some women wrote love letters that could make a soldier blush they were pouring out their deepest feelings and these were often sexual feelings others spread maladies which made the bravest men cringe syphilis was usually treated with salts of mercury a night with Venus a lifetime with mercury these are the stories the soldiers wouldn’t tell the untold stories of sex in the Civil War it is the most popular most widely discussed most hotly debated most passionately revered era in American history we know all about the glorious battles the godlike generals the epic struggles of citizens and soldiers the freedom of the people and the martyring of a president but what about life when the lights went out it’s something that they might have talked amongst themselves or whispered but a proper Victorian person would not have written it down because it was a taboo subject it sex it happened a lot this was a big vigorous red-blooded brawling country and everybody was raising hell and nobody made any bones about it more than 50,000 books have been written about the Civil War and yet hardly a peep about sex only one book in fact deals directly and exclusively with the topic and reveals the secrets that have long been hidden in history’s closet somehow the Civil War has become our holy war and nobody did anything bad in it and there has been an enormous amount of revisionist history in which the Civil War has been sanitized has been made into a religious experience in our written history it was an era of gallant gentlemen proper ladies and a romanticized ideal of law of social behavior reflected the mores of America’s Puritan heritage and in this vein the official record has been thoroughly cleansed the idea that somehow the people in the Victorian age were more constrained than we are it was probably the other way around the availability of women of easy virtue window there many different names were everywhere and the soldiers discovered this very quickly when they got away from home [Music] you in the spring and summer of 1861 the political fireworks that cause southern secession and the attack on Fort Sumter seemed born of glory and excitement the young people who went to war had no earthly idea what to expect most had never been more than 20 miles from home never ridden a train or a steamboat for them this was the great adventure of their lives but the reality of war said in quickly it was as they say 99% boredom and 1% pure unadulterated hell on the battlefield soldiers were true heroes but behind the lines boys were boys and girls were girls many of the boys had never had a drink of alcohol much less gamble of any type and they soon found out in these army camps that it was a could be a very sinful place to say the least it’s a slang term that is endured for a hundred and fifty years the origin can be traced to 1845 but without question it was popularized and indelibly etched on the American mind because of the Civil War and a notorious Union General General Joseph fighting Joe hooker as one a gentleman would later write that hookers headquarters was a place where no self-respecting man would want to go and no decent woman could go it was a combination of barroom and brothel in May 1861 Joseph Hooker was appointed Brigadier General of volunteers and assigned to defend Washington DC with new recruits arriving every day a gathering army of anxious excited young men soon found Washington’s hidden pleasures the Sloane’s were very near the houses that held the ladies of ill-fame the way Woodard sisters pretty soon somewhat as they call go down the line the soldiers said in some many cases was the initiation from a new recruit to go down the line and visit the ladies of the evening some of these bordellos were called Fort Sumter ironclad headquarters USA madam Russell’s Bake Oven and Madam Waltons residence for the ladies these became very famous for the soldiers of the Federal Army and just about everyone knew about these homes after the First Battle of Bull Run fought in July 1861 there were more than a hundred thousand Union soldiers camped in and around Washington with at least 450 brothels to entertain them and most were conveniently located between the Capitol and the White House fighting Joe hooker did little to stop his troops from visiting such establishments in fact some think he made it easier when hooker was head of the Army of the Potomac he got the military police to move the girls more into one neighborhood probably for better supervision better police work and the newspapers immediately called that hookers division and so hooker and hookers have always been associated in the public mind there was a European tradition of families going to war with the soldiers supporters of the army called the Vandy Aires in Canton years and it was an acceptable occupation indeed a necessary occupation because they cooked for the armies they did the laundry for the army and they kept the men ready to fight other women of course went because they saw an opportunity to prostitute themselves interestingly historians make much of the prostitutes in camp and tend to ignore the thousands of women that were there nursing and sewing and doing laundry the term camp follower during the Civil War was not a derogatory term in August 1861 a 17-year old orphan left Cambridge Massachusetts to go to Washington and be a nurse for the Union Army the army turned her down with no real place to call home she became a camp follower first she somehow finagled a pass from a prominent General John Ellis wool then she went to the front there she quickly worked her way up the Union ranks enjoying the company of officers her name was Annie Jones this may or may not be a photograph of Annie Jones because of her elusive nature we don’t really know what she looked like but we know what she did the officers would let her come into their camp you placed her in its tent or maybe era she stayed with the officers in their quarters 17 years old Annie Jones became a poster child for sex in the Civil War she was somewhat of a Union Army Group II the original goodtime girl and over the next four years her antics would create a legacy of rumor innuendo and scandal [Music] [Applause] in the winter of 1862 Abraham Lincoln ordered the entire Union Army to attack the enemy at once the only general to move with alacrity who was ulysses s grant by february the future hero of Vicksburg and Appomattox had won his first major battle and captured most of the state of Tennessee after the fall of Fort Donelson February 16th 1862 nine days later the city of Nashville became the occupied city and the Stars and Stripes are raised over the state capital and in time 30,000 federal soldiers occupy the city of Nashville and of course monotony being the great enemy of any soldier British soon they made their way down by the river to front Market College and Cherry Street now 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Avenue and broke their monotony by visiting Smokey Row [Music] before the war the city of Nashville had become known as the Athens of the south it was a major commercial center where railroads and steamboats converged revering the Commerce was the industry of the mind was a mecca for education religion and publishing all this progress stage to the city but down by the river there was a different industry two blocks wide four blocks loan prostitution eight full blocks of it here on the banks of the Cumberland River the shadow industry along Smokey Row thrived under Union occupation Nashville became a major staging area and had filled up with soldiers and right after that it filled up with women many of these ladies were not evil they were not mean they were country girls or ladies down on their luck or they had children and their husbands that died or left them or whatever and that was the only alternative they had to literally sell themselves to keep their families alive well we all know the Victorian age was famous for euphemisms the newspapers often referred to these girls as soiled doves doves are pure and white and of course it’s soiled and they’re kind of nasty they were also called Cyprian’s the island of Cyprus is where Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love was born so these girls became Cypriot under martial law a prostitution was rampant in Nashville this lascivious behavior had its consequences and the effects proved more harmful to Union soldiers than any rebel attack at one point there were more men sick with venereal disease and there were sick you know from Confederate bullets and it became like a huge a public health and military efficiency problem near cities there was no way to prevent soldiers from visiting brothels and risking infection in Nashville two out of every five soldiers contracted VD and medical remedies were crude the syphilis was usually treated with salts of mercury which had been in use for almost 200 years and apparently did some good for it although the follow-up studies were very poor unfortunately the mercury compounds are almost as toxic as the disease you could tell when a person had about the right amount of it when they would salivate uncontrollably and their teeth would fall out so it wasn’t a good or good remedy the treatments for gonorrhea included changes in diet and some very painful irrigations the syringe was filled with chloride have led and inserted into the unfortunate soldier and the this toxic solution inserted and the prescription book for this says that most people can tolerate this dosage without screaming I commend it to male readers to empathize with this procedure treatments notwithstanding the rising incidence of VD among men and women prompted a call to action throughout 1862 army officials waged an undeclared war against the wayward Sisters of Nashville it would be a long struggle with many heated battles and eventually a unique truce that would have lasting consequences for the Union Army and the city of Nashville while most women prostitutes are not spent the war in cities and towns far behind the battle lines some found the lure of love too much to resist number of women were so in love and so determined to stay with their husbands or their boyfriends that they decided to enlist as soldiers and in order to do that they had to pretend to be men so they cut off their hair and they put on their husband’s clothes and they would bind their breasts and some of them would pad the wastes of their trousers to look bulkier these women soldiers enlisted under assumed male names duping officers and comrades alike if found out they were usually sent away sometimes under the worst accusations often times bonafide women soldiers when they were found out to be women were accused of being prostitutes it was a common charge leveled against women found in uniform while not all of these women followed the army for love and sex many found it nonetheless and managed to keep it secret at least for a while one such woman was a corporal in the Army of the Potomac her name is lost to history but what she did is well-documented pretending to be a man she fought in the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg and was promoted on the field for gallantry in the winter camp of the Army of the Potomac there on the banks of the Rappahannock she was out on picket and wasn’t feeling so well and she was sent to a hospital and she delivered a baby she had concealed not only the fact that she was a woman but the fact that she was pregnant the reaction of the Army of the Potomac was shocked and surprised and and joy at least six Union soldiers were not discovered to be women until they delivered babies many other women were not discovered at all and remained in the ranks throughout the war and then there were those who didn’t have to conceal their identities and were welcomed with open arms in October 1862 after the devastating summer campaign that culminated in the blood fest at Antietam young attractive Annie Jones wandered into the Federal Army camp surrounding Fairfax Courthouse Virginia there she befriended Union Army General Franz Sigel and became a guest at his headquarters former Duty Annie now all of 18 years old was rewarded with honorary oak leaves the insignia of a major but it wasn’t long before she left Segal for the 10th of another Union General Julius Stahl Major Annie Jones it turned out had a thing for generals what followed was a series of peccadilloes and sexual exploits which would land Annie and her conquests in a lot of hot water [Music] by January 1863 the War Between the States had raged for 20 months [Music] but in union-occupied Northern Virginia a war between the sheets had just begun [Music] miss Ana Jones this is an incredible story and left six federal generals in her wake [Music] was she a spy was she a prostitute one thing is for sure many of these officers were not gentlemen all winter long Annie Jones had enjoyed the company of two Union generals Fran Siegel and Julius Stahl and move freely between their camps early in the war civilians were often given passes to move between the lines but in Annie’s case suspicions arose Northern Virginia was after all enemy country so why did this young girl have permission to come and go as she pleased On January 13th a Union General received a letter from 1rl birch of Falls Church Virginia accusing Annie Jones of being a rebel spy Annie was immediately arrested masked and taken to the Old Capitol prison in Washington where she was held pending a full inquiry between January and March Annie’s case was investigated by a lieutenant Shepard from the Provost Marshal’s Office in his official report he stated that it was a very amusing investigation on the whole the inquiry revealed Annie’s true motive a girl looking for a good time that in turn led Shepard to discover something about Annie’s accuser in his report Shepard said the letter containing the charges was evidently written by a female who was jealous of her as her former lover is paying some attention to this Miss Jones and I found she was very anxious to have this Miss Jones out of the way Shepard then concluded that Miss Annie Jones had been wrongfully accused Annie was released from prison on March 7th 1863 and without missing a beat she went straight to Fairfax courthouse where she allegedly attended a notorious party Fairfax courthouse was the headquarters for Brigadier General Edwin Stoughton he was a promising 24 year old officer who also liked the ladies on the night of March 8 Stoughton hosted a champagne party got drunk and passed out in bed allegedly in the company of Annie Jones several hours later in the pre-dawn darkness there was a knock at the generals door an unknown officer burst through grabbed the snoring generals sword and spanked him on the buttocks the intruder asked the general if he’d ever heard of Mosby the notorious Gray Ghost of the Confederacy yes said Stoughton I know Mosby have you caught him and to that the officer replied no I am Mosby and I have caught you general Stoughton was now a prisoner of war and Mosby was a southern hero and Jones apparently slipped away that night but rumors soon circulated that a young woman had aided Mosby with information about Stoughton a month later under renewed suspicions and he signed an affidavit swearing she would stay north of the Potomac River it was a pledge she’d keep for at least a month maybe two meanwhile back in Nashville military officials had more to worry about than one oversexed teenager and her conquests a public health crisis plagued the Union Army forty percent of the occupying force had contracted VD something had to be done the commander tried several tactics the first he tried putting a thousand prostitutes on a train and selling him to Louisville well they didn’t ask two people to Louisville about this and while these girls were out of town more girls came in so when the girls that went to Louisville came back they had twice as many girls as they had before with the Army’s delicate problem nearing epidemic proportions another desperate attempt was made to rid the town of The Supremes the problem was given over to Lieutenant Colonel George Spaulding 18th Michigan provost marshal and he placed the ladies some say 150 s I’m say 600 somewhere in that range the most vile character placed them on the steamboat boat was named the Idaho [Music] the Idaho was a brand-new passenger ship owned and captained by a river pilot named John Newcombe for his maiden voyage he had chartered the steamboat to the US Army expecting the ship troops and supplies between Cincinnati and Nashville imagine his surprise when he was told of his particular cargo captain Newcomb was enraged this was a new boat a passenger ship and new furniture and he said well it would ruin his ship there was other old boats in the areas that could perform the duties [Music] Newcomb’s protests fell on deaf ears he wasn’t even given any money or provisions just was ordered to cast off and proceeded to Louisville and here we start on this journey on the Cumberland River moving in and every stop the towns have been warned with the ladies and Karishma the men of the towns were trying to get on the boat the people of Louisville refused to accept the boats passengers so the Idaho was redirected to Cincinnati same result finally after waiting in the middle of the Ohio River for ten hot July days Newcomb was ordered back to Nashville by the time he returned his brand-new steamboat was a mess a den of squalor his boat was damaged severely and he said the reputation had been ruined and in fact it was now called the floating whorehouse with the return of the Idaho and it’s undesirable cargo the military government of Nashville was stumped nothing had been solved and at this point the commander threw up his hands and turned to his chief doctor and said you do something about it and to his great credit he did on August 20th 1863 the US military commander in Nashville did something drastic he legalized prostitution in a memorandum he outlined that the ladies would be registered were their names and residents and a board of examiner would test them every two weeks to make sure of their cleanliness at a fee of $5 and if they were sick diseased they were sent to the hospital to army hospitals were designated to isolate and treat those found to be infected with VD well it’s my understanding that hospital number 11 was the hospital for women and there is a famous photo which shows white women doing the laundry and that almost confirms it because at that time in Nashville white women didn’t do laundry the men’s infirmary it was hospital number 15 known as the soldiers syphilitic hospital as one doctor said the purpose of the former the ladies hospital was to diminish the individuals in the latter which was the soldiers hospital while medical treatments for VD remained crude and primitive quarantine the afflicted proved to be very effective they reduced the VD rate to about 4% from 40% even more girls came into town because that the word spread that you could go there and stay well and b12 treated and you wouldn’t get sick and die from VD and it made money because they charged a license fee to the girls and that was enough to cover the whole cost of the project so in essence Nashville has the dubious distinction of being the first city in America to have legalized prostitution and believe it or not it was successful [Music] the Civil War produced an enormous body of letters diaries and memoirs most that survived tell of the battles leaders and campaigns some reveal personal odyssey’s and civic issues very few concerned sex sex was still very much something that was private and even with a courting couple it was something very much to be enjoyed but kept quiet there was still a certain reticence and shyness about overt sexuality it’s not that people didn’t write about sex they did but after the war the most titillating letters and diaries were heavily edited or destroyed [Music] the published editions are often expunged they’ve often been censored families didn’t want such personal and private and possibly salacious materials to be in print I would imagine that 99% of the salacious material from the Civil War has been destroyed if it wasn’t destroyed by the soldier if after he died and his spinster daughter is going through his papers to hit it the memoirs of colonel so-and-so and finds this to have you ago in the fireplace in two seconds and yet some documents survived most common are those lamenting the debauchery of the army camps but here and there letters exist describing love and its physical rights a rare few detailed sexual antics in explicit terms such as the Union soldier who wrote home telling about two sisters who are rentable for riding another related that the boys are having great times with the wenches here today catching them and squeezing them some explicit letters were penned by women one in particular wrote some very steamy prose to her soldier husband she said my mind dwells on the treasures we will have when you come back embracing each other on the sofa and bed I never felt so good as I did the first time I laid on the sofa husbands and wives were husbands and wives there’s lots of love letters which are quite explicit the wife would write to the husband you’ve got to get a furlough and come home and I want to do it on the sofa again with you more often writers employed the playful euphemisms of the Victorian age [Music] one such passage may be found in the famous Civil War memoir company H written by Confederate private Sam Watkins of Tennessee there’s a portion of the book company H where they’re in Georgia and they visit a home where they’re fed and it goes like this I’d had a better summer in that I’ve forgotten it they had Fried Chicken potatoes butter regular butter and the cap the climax – and some daughters I know that I have never seen two more handsome daughters well they looked good enough to eat pretty soon replacement filled with tempt and food and our tumblers with California beer finally the lady said mister have some butter he said well madam there’s nothing I love so much as warm biscuit and butter I thank you for the butter I dive in I’ll go ahead a little too heavy the lady hid it in a delicate way that they sold butter I dive in again cake of butter was melt like snow in a red-hot furnace lady said they sold butter to the soldiers had a mighty good price I dive in again and the lady said I get a dollar panel for that butter and I were marked with a good deal of nonchalance well madam it is worth it in his memoir Sam Watkins States as a fact that he did not buy any butter but while he dined in Georgia with a farmer’s daughter Annie Jones was back in Northern Virginia violating her sacred oath after the Battle of Gettysburg Annie had somehow become acquainted with general governor Kay Warren he gave her a pass which she used to go to a Union cavalry camp once there she quickly added two more generals to her bonnet the first was Judson Kilpatrick a known womanizer jedson who was also known as kill cavalry because of his wild and brutal tactics and killing off his soldiers like women and he always had at least one or two traveling with him who are mistresses or consorts or concubines whatever you want to call me apparently Annie didn’t stay with Kilpatrick very long because she soon found the camp and allegedly the tent of Kilpatrick’s dashing subordinate General George Armstrong Custer according to Annie general Kilpatrick became very jealous of general Custer’s attentions went to general Meade’s headquarters and accused her of being a rebel spy for the second time she was arrested masked and thrown in jail in her own defense and he wrote a searing statement she named names and leveled charges of her own she accused the prison superintendent of soliciting sexual favors and said that the chief of the Secret Service colonel Lafayette Baker had a vendetta against her to answer the charges George custard who had recently become engaged to his future wife was ordered to submit a statement somewhat reluctantly Custer admitted knowing Annie Jones but he denied sleeping with her Custer would deny all of it said she was insane and he sent her away and this is not true about him and Kilpatrick one doubts the truth to this story to his credit Custer said he didn’t think that Annie was a spy but she was not immediately released and so Miss Jones took her case to the highest level in a letter to Abraham Lincoln no less she would write that I have never violated my bro I’m an orphan and an unprotected girl the victim of fiendish Alice Lincoln immediately requested the evidence in the case soon after Annie Jones wrote to a prominent congressman from New York Fernando wood asking for his help as well by July the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was involved at Lincoln’s request Stanton wrote congressman wood saying that Annie Jones would be released to his custody Stanton added that he hoped the congressman might exercise sufficient influence over her to keep her away from the Army but the congressman’s influence had little effect by August 1864 Annie Jones was back in camp once more we have six federal generals left in her awake it is a very amusing story that many officers were later regret meeting miss Anna Jones [Music] in the hallowed lore of the Civil War one might assume that most of the published literature of the day was either patriotic or religious but what may surprise people is that a lot of it was patently pornographic this was hardly a period where sex was invisible it was quite readily visible on city streets and in towns across America well I was amazed to find that during the civil war in the city of New York there was an enormous industry publishing pornography and they would send out their catalogs in the usual plain vanila involved to the soldiers from dirty jokes and bawdy song books to tawdry pulp fiction and naughty French postcards soldiers had plenty to choose from but understandably the dirty books and pictures are very rare today they were quickly destroyed especially before they went into battle they did not want to die with that on them it was a sin to see that or to look at that nonetheless they did circulate when Civil War era pornography is discovered it’s usually by accident consider a most holy book containing the most unholy drawings this extraordinary Civil War Bible belonged to an unknown soldier today it resides in an anonymous collection this is the first time it has ever been publicly shown the Bible was found about 30 years ago in the rubble of a raised brick building in downtown Nashville it is thought that the building might have been the infamous hospital number 15 the soldiers syphilitic hospital the front of the Bible is like any other pocket Testament but open the back cover and a soldier’s secret is revealed first a braid of hair carefully stitched on to an end page there’s nothing startling about this such keepsakes were common in that era but some numbers are written around the braid 75 76 67 it seems to be a code turn the page and the code is explicitly revealed in crude fashion the soldier who carried this Bible drew two lewd pictures inside the back cover around the pictures are dollar signs and the numerical codes matching those around the braid of hair it’s believed that the pictures and the code may refer to one of Nashville’s own soiled doves perhaps the soldier was in love with the prostitute it is so rare to find any soldiers froman’s of news it’s just unbelievably rare and to have eight drawings of news in the back of the holy book is blasphemous [Music] in March 1865 while ulysses s grant was closing the vise on robert e lee a letter arrived in the office of the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton the author was none other than the Vixen of the Union Army Annie Jones in it she requested a pass to go to New Orleans but the most unusual thing about the letter which Stanton humorously noted was the return address it was the residence of the Honorable New York Congressman Fernando wood the war ended soon after and so apparently did The Adventures of Miss Anna Eleanor Jones no one really knows what came of Anna Jones far as I know she disappeared she went back to Massachusetts maybe she married many changed her names [Music] the end of the war brought many changes in Nashville the military government gave way to civilian Authority and thus ended the US Army’s successful experiment with legalized prostitution in modern Washington there’s little physical evidence of the body culture that once dominated but for those who are curious it’s easy to trace the steps of soldiers and politicians who once sought carnal pleasure in the nation’s capital if you go to the cafeteria in the basement of the main art museum of the Smithsonian you will be a right where marble alley was if you go out the other way and start off toward by the White House the first building is the Justice Department building and there were half a dozen more houses there the next building over is the the IRS building and people are still receiving the same treatment now as they did then there go with the Reagan Building it’s now the same thing so there was a whole industry located conveniently between the White House and the Congress today on the National Mall there are numerous monuments dedicated to the glory and sacrifice of America’s greatest heroes with more plan for the future but will we ever see an edifice erected to the stories the soldiers wouldn’t tell the unmentionable history of sex in the Civil War General Joseph Hooker who concentrated prostitution in one area of Washington had a distinguished military career eventually commanding the Army of the Potomac the officer he replaced was general Ambrose Burnside and purely by coincidence both men left a permanent mark on the English language Burnside wore distinctive whiskers that came to be known as sideburns and Joseph Hooker will always be associated with the world’s oldest profession [Music] it was a time of bloodshed deprivation and suffering it was also a time of sexual excess and carnal indulgence well-respected officers became embroiled in notorious scandals the general was known as a rake he had had weakness with women Vice became big business you could buy pornographic pictures you could buy pornographic novels and soldiers found refuge in back-alley brothels when the Union soldiers took over New Orleans sex was everywhere prostitutes were everywhere these are the untold stories of the war between the sheets the further tales of sex in the Civil War next [Music] the Civil War was America’s holy war history depicts it as an era when ordinary citizens put aside personal aspirations to risk their lives for a cause most believed was greater than themselves but behind this noble facade real human beings existed young men and women with the same emotional and physical desires that consumed people today for those who fought in the Civil War sacks provided a welcome escape from its horrors they were afraid they were anxious they were unsure what was going to happen they wanted to fight for their country for what they believed in but they also know there was a good possibility that they weren’t coming back so they were going to make sure that their last minutes on earth they were going to have a good time it began on April 12 1861 Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor South Carolina after 34 hours of shelling the Union defenders surrendered the shocking attack cemented the split between northern and southern states along political economic and military lines when it came to sex however wide-ranging differences had already been defined not by politics but by class moralists and televangelists are always telling us that we’re living in an era of sodom and gomorrah and loose morals and following family values but I think the evidence which has been concealed for many years it’s much more open during the Civil War than it is now [Music] this somewhat surprising attitude towards sex was most prevalent in America’s working-class communities the working-classes had a very different attitude about sex and the middle and upper classes did they were raised differently they were raised in very crowded areas they saw often their parents having sex because they lived in one room area so they weren’t as put off by sex as the middle class was it wasn’t as scary to them because they understood it from a very young age for the most part the working-class female did not deny her sexuality premarital sex was fairly common if a woman got pregnant she was expected to marry the father to prevent pregnancy various methods of contraception were available the civil war pornography catalogs usually had several different types of condoms for sale including French ticklers there were many many ads for abortion clinics and abortion powders this is a vaginal syringe this was used for women producing or more often than not it was a form of birth control sometimes it was filled with whiskey sometimes it was filled with lemon juice sometimes it was a mixture of other things the idea was to remove the sperm from your body the woman would fill the syringe by unscrewing this pouring it inside and then she would inject herself with it preferably immediately after sex because it didn’t work well if he waited too long [Music] avoiding pregnancy was perhaps less of a concern for unmarried women in the middle and upper classes who tended to have fewer premarital encounters more often than not their sexual behavior was influenced by a puritanical code of religious and social constraints it was either the virgin or the whore so young women who did engage in sexual activities were considered fallen women were considered damaged marital Goods and might therefore not be able to make a good marriage unless it was with the man that she had had the sexual relationship with before marriage on the other side of the sexual divide men were not expected to abstain from sex quite the opposite in fact young men were expected to be experienced at sex but not with women that they intended to marry so they had to find their own sexual experience through visiting brothels or through having sexual experiences with young girls that weren’t of their class it’s kind of understood that they would be women who young men particularly would not marry could go to satisfy their sexual home it was understood even in the best factors in fact sometimes best families encourage their sons rather than Spurlin the women that they might marry to seek the pleasures of fallen women and seek they did just before the war broke out the poet Walt Whitman estimated that 19 out of every 20 males living in New York City visited brothels on a regular basis the price of illegal sexual services varied an encounter with a common streetwalker typically cost $1 while a high-class woman of pleasure might charge five to seven dollars per visit prostitutes in the mid 19th century tended to be fairly young and from the lower working classes with few economic avenues available these women often sold their bodies as a way to supplement their income with the outbreak of war this open big-city attitude toward sex would spread through the ranks of soldiers fighting on both sides during any war standards of behavior though a soldier who was living in a small town before the war the people kept track of him his mother kept track to his sister’s kept track of his employer kept track of him the local sheriff knew what he was up to and when you go in the Army you become anonymous you’re just one more guy in a blue uniform New York City served as a major recruiting site for Union volunteers for many of these troops the time spent in New York was their last hurrah before heading off to war they had nothing to do whether than drill and when they had time off they usually drank heavily and almost always got involved with a woman at some point or another they go to concerts ones like Harry Hills which is very well-known in New York City they’d go to a dump like John Allen’s dance hall if they were interested in the lower-class they go to the place called the armoring hall which was run by a guy named billy McLaury he not only offered very young girls for sale at this dance hall he also had effeminate young boys dressed as women in the city’s fashionable Soho district a collection of stylish brothels catered to the more discriminating and wealthy officer corps you didn’t just go there for sex you went there to be entertained the women were very accomplished they were very educated they say it was a whole evening you spent there to be entertained from dinner and singing and dancing and smoking and drinking right up to eventually having sex but consorting with prostitutes was hardly unique to the Union Army down in Dixie the war soon revealed that the image of the chivalrous Southern gentleman was sometimes just that an image [Music] nowhere was this more evident than in Richmond Virginia it was one of the South’s most beautiful and important cities its status was reflected in its designation as the capital of the Confederacy in May of 1861 but in a matter of months everything changed newly arriving soldiers and political figures swelled Richmond’s population from under 40,000 to over 100,000 large military encampments sprouted up in and around the new Confederate capital prior to the war it was socially improper for an unmarried Richmond woman to visit alone with a man now with the ready availability of so many soldiers the temptation proved hard to resist one 16 year old woman who kept a diary during the early years of the war reported a lot of activity back and forward visiting the camps during one three-week period in the spring of 1862 she entertained Confederate soldiers who visited her in her home on three or four separate occasions during that time and then also made visits the camp and on one occasion even visited a soldier’s private quarters but bold starry-eyed girls were not the only females to frequent the camp’s guys bring women into camp and introduce them as their wives and their really prostitutes and they’re known in the community as prostitutes and they have these women stay in the camp with them elsewhere in Richmond’s stately mansions the sexual dance was more subtle flirtatious debutantes delighted in entertaining the many southern officers stationed in the city they threw parties frequently when officers were in town they conducted amateur theatricals they escorted different officers to church every week I did the best they could to keep up the spirits make themselves highly visible among the among the officer corps of the Confederate Army one of Richmond’s most desirable debutantes was sally buchanan preston whom friends called buck vivacious and beautiful she was just 17 when the war commenced and as it progressed she would cast a spell over one suitor after another Sally buck Preston was attached in many different episodes to different officers in fact I think it’s pretty safe to conclude she was a flirt at the very least and had relationships with probably a half dozen different officers some of them prominent and famous others of them not so famous Sally’s sex appeal was undeniable and irresistible a close friend described her as having a knack for being fallen in love with at sight and for having never been fallen out of love with but this power over the opposite sex carried a price and would soon cast a dark shadow over the young debutante and the men who desired her early in 1862 President Abraham Lincoln and his military command initiated a plan to create an economic stranglehold on the Confederate states along the eastern seaboard the Union Navy instituted a blockade to deny the south access to European trade at the same time a combined force of naval and army units descended upon the Mississippi River in February of 1862 the plan began to unfold when Union troops captured Nashville Tennessee then on April 25th the Union Navy led by flag officer David G Farragut overwhelmed the Confederate defenses and captured New Orleans with a population of over 170,000 New Orleans was the largest city in the Confederacy the Union army assigned roughly 15,000 soldiers to the job of maintaining control New Orleans was widely regarded as the sin capital of the south long before the war hedonistic pirates and riverboat gamblers had created a pleasure seekers playground of cheap saloons and back-alley brothels for the boys in blue many still fresh from farms or small towns New Orleans was an eye-opening experience [Music] when the Union soldiers took over New Orleans sex was everywhere prostitutes were everywhere it was it was an accepted part of of New Orleans society the streetwalkers they would actually carry around little small pieces of rugs when they found a customer they just threw the rug out on the the street and they would have sex right there on the street in the notorious French Quarter there was also plenty of indoor entertainment the dance halls in New Orleans were almost always lower class women usually started out almost naked while they were dancing with their partners and by the end of the night to be doing everything else on the dance floor but dancing in other cities that was not an acceptable practice usually didn’t practice prostitution on the premises the city’s loose sexual standards proved irresistible to the Union troops even an official military ban on prostitution had little effect these guys are mostly in their early 20s in their absolute you know height of the sexual tickle they had money in their pocket which most people didn’t they were being followed by girls who needed the money it would be amazing if there weren’t more misbehavior along this lawyer the Union Army’s first military commander in New Orleans was Major General Benjamin Butler he quickly earned the wrath of local residents first he defiled the city’s famed statue of Andrew Jackson by having it itched with the words the Union must and shall be preserved then Butler ordered a Confederate sympathizer hanged for tearing down a Union flag he felt that if I am tough at the beginning they will prevent any outbreak of violence about a civilian population which will result in even more people being home to his surprise Butler met continued resistance not so much from the city’s male population but from its upper-class women [Music] these respectable southern ladies antagonized the federal troops by spitting at them and pouring urine filled chamber pots on their heads as an ironic and supreme insult they were said to have flashed their genitalia and surprised northern officers at that point in time women had no political power and so they figured that they could get away with saying and doing really uncouth things but nobody would do anything bad to them because they were ladies general Butler did not want to cause a riot or insurrection by arresting society ladies instead he took the unusual step of issuing order number 28 famously known as the woman’s order essentially what it says is if you women of New Orleans calling yourselves ladies continue to behave in this way you’ll be liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying your avocation and so essentially what he threatens to do is make these respectable Southern women into public women so that they can be treated in the same way that prostitutes are treated and this is enormous ly controversial Butler’s threat to detain and imprison the city’s society ladies as common streetwalkers made him a hated man not only in New Orleans but across the entire south Confederate President Jefferson Davis declared Butler an outlaw and a southern newspaper even put a price on his head but in the end Butler’s infamous order number 28 did work the fear of a soiled reputation was enough to prevent any more acts of defiance the Confederates have been furious about this ever since they claim that it was abuse what he did was to stop the problem without firing a shot or arresting anyone and I think what they’re furious about is the fact that he outfoxed them on June 6th 1862 another major port city along the Mississippi River fell to the Union Navy Memphis Tennessee the following month federal troops led by General William Tecumseh Sherman entered and occupied the city although the official policy of the US military prohibited soldiers from visiting prostitutes Sherman spent little time enforcing this regulation he considered prostitution to be a private matter and not within his military jurisdiction this only served to encourage an a Union soldier looking to spend his money federal troops earned on average $13 per month prostitutes typically charged anywhere from a dollar or two for a quick visit to over $3 for an all-night affair [Music] unlike in New Orleans there were not enough prostitutes in Memphis to satisfy demand consequently women of pleasure from neighboring areas flocked to the city to ply their trade they knew the guys were there they knew they had nothing to do on their off time they knew they were away from their families and their wives and their girlfriends so and they knew they wanted sex so they went to where the men were while many of these soiled doves continued to sympathize with the confederacy wartime conditions forced them to consort with the enemy one soldier described this dichotomy the women damn Yankee us on the streets in the daytime but at night the skirts come up for good Yankee gold in November of 1862 General Sherman moved on to his next campaign and left Memphis in control of a standing army of occupation as with any occupying army the enemy now was boredom and one way to alleviate boredom was sex consequently contact between prostitutes and Union soldiers increased along with the incidence of venereal disease as the situation worsened federal commanders in Tennessee would be forced to undertake a radical course of action and by all accounts it would work for the thousands of Civil War soldiers living in military encampments letters to and from home provided a welcome distraction from wartime duties people when they wrote home to their mother to their sister they wrote one kind of letter when they wrote home to friends their male friends back home the letters are mostly content which couldn’t be read out loud on family television they were very graphic they were full of drawings like you might see in a men’s room in a service station they were very earthy he oughta have been with me at Christmas I together with several other officers went over to Petersburg got drunk and out we stayed two days and nights he oughta have seen me going to bed with a gal I’m telling you it’s a heap better than sleeping with a man I hope you’ll be in Charleston when this letter reaches you you will have lots of ink I hope there is for whorehouses here where a man can get a single jump for $3 $5 for all night steamy letters however were not the only male soldiers looked forward to there was also salacious material of a much more commercial sort the large groups of soldiers living together constituted an easy market for purveyors of vice several new york city-based companies including Richards and Roche and GS Hoskins & Company mailed catalogs featuring erotic material directly to the men in the field it was a vast industry you could buy pornographic pictures you could buy pornographic novels you could buy condoms almost anything you could think of was for sale some of the most popular products included hand tinted nude photographs and racy dime-store novels such as the beautiful Creole of Havana or confessions of a washington belle the easy availability of pornographic literature so offended one union officer that he wrote a long letter to President Abraham Lincoln expressing his outrage captain Tuzla was a union captain who was very upset by some newspaper advertisements he’d seen for racy novels and racy pictures and he cut out a clipping from a newspaper and sent it to Abraham Lincoln saying dear mr. president this kind of thing is undermining the morals of our soldiers and I want you to do something about it and we found no record of Lincoln’s responding to this I think with a major war and number of political crises he probably had his hands full without worrying about the pornography industry [Music] by the spring of 1863 the once beautiful city of Richmond Virginia had become mired in the vices common to war zones the best source for understanding the CDR side of wartime Richmond is the wartime Richmond newspapers there’s an editorial in May of 1862 that comes to mind complaining about both male and female prostitutes running at large in Richmond in carriages smirking smiling and winking lasciviously even the city’s most distinguished citizens seemed to lose their moral bearings one local prostitute known only as Clara a wrote a diary in which she included some particularly telling notes about some of her exclusive clientele [Music] general Limpy he must do the undressing the Maryland governor do it bend ANOVA box sometimes the prey in general was brought in today by preacher H he’s rough and brutal after I serviced him he dropped to his knees and asked God to forgive me for my sins some people think the Diary is a hoax I’ve talked with one person who actually saw the diary and he claims that it’s seemed absolutely real that person has now passed away so what we have is something which can never be documented but it is a fascinating ground for speculation on the other side of the coin was Sally buck Preston a genuine society girl looking for love and romance in the squalor of Richmond for Sally the war had brought dozens of dashing Confederate officers into her life she had her pick and she didn’t hesitate to choose but being chosen by Sally was a decidedly mixed blessing those soldiers that she became most attached to I had an unhappy knack of getting killed off he began right at the beginning of the war one South Carolina officer who she was attached to I was killed in a duel grad few warwick who was from richmond was shot and killed at the Battle of Gaines’s mill in 1862 in just 18 months Sally had lost three lovers now her curse was being tested again by one of the Confederacy’s most celebrated generals his name was John Bell hood a tall lanky officer from Kentucky hood gained fame leading the fabled Texas Brigade during the South’s victory at Gaines’s mill hood was a bona fide hero and he had his eye on buck Preston hood moved in the same social circles as did buck Preston he rubbed elbows with Jefferson Davis and his family and with many of the Confederate cabinet members and in that way he came to know buck Preston fairly well and the two of them became an item regardless of buck Preston’s doleful record with her boyfriends in the past in the midst of their courtship hood was ordered back on campaign would Sally Preston’s curse strike again only time would tell but first the Confederacy would find itself rocked by one of the greatest sex scandals of the war Earl Van Dorn he was the epitome of the Karimun of the day brave bold and combat fearless reckless Confederate General Earl Van Dorn was one of the South’s most renowned cavalry officers he was also one of its most controversial and notorious the general was known as a rake he had had weakness with women during the war a widow 24-year old widow had told him she said you need to stay away from the women while this war is going on he said my God met him I can’t do that I hate all men if I were not for the women I wouldn’t be even be fighting the war and beside I wouldn’t be speaking to you now I took your advice the 40 year old Van Dorn began the Civil War as one of the Confederacy’s most promising officers his daring raid on a huge federal supply base in Holly Springs Mississippi was a major factor in stopping Union General Ulysses s grants winter campaign of 1862 the following spring Van Dorn established temporary headquarters in Spring Hill Tennessee in this house then owned by the white family the general began an illicit affair with a local woman her name was Jessie Peters the wife of dr. George Peters conveniently the doctor was often away on business Jesse Peters would ride up to general Van Doren’s first headquarters and her carriage walked through the front door as to see the general mrs. white said she would bring him down she says never mind I’ll go up there and stayed with the general in his headquarters for over an hour and this occurred again next time for over two hours Van Dorn’s behavior offended the sensibilities of his hosts and he was asked to leave the general relocated his headquarters to another home nearby here Van Dorn continued his affair with Jesse Peters but rumors were beginning to fly and Jesse’s husband discovered the illicit relationship on may 7th 1863 dr. Peters wrote over to Van Dorn’s headquarters to confront the general dr. Peter said that he would not kill him if he would write a letter of apology and guilt and Van Doren said that this would hurt the calls as well as his reputation and art Peters was not happy with this and Van Dorn obviously not even looking at him said take the door you damned puppy or I’ll throw you out at this stage dr. Peters pulled out a pistol dr. George Peters immediately fled to the north he maintained that the general had violated the sanctity of his marriage he was never brought to trial Van Dorn’s shocking death was front-page news throughout the south and the north needless to say he placed personal gain over his command he did not lead by example one newspaper would write that wine and women ruined him as it has ruined many others [Music] the summer of 1863 was a turning point in the Civil War the Union Army achieved a great victory at Gettysburg but down south it was losing a different kind of battle in the military occupied cities of Nashville and Memphis the army faced a terrible problem the rapid spread the venereal disease was disabling large numbers of soldiers the military commanders are trying to run a war to have a war you need soldiers and at one point maybe a quarter of the soldiers in places like Memphis and Nashville were sick with venereal disease well even before they marched out of town to fight the Confederates they had 25 percent casualties that’s of a real concern to a general the Union commander in Nashville was the first to act in the summer of 1863 General RS Granger issued Provost order number 21 by virtue of this order Nashville became the first city in America to effectively legalize the world’s oldest profession well the army would say it was not legalized what they simply did was to regulate something that was happened already no one changed the laws making prostitution legal what they did was to take something that was already up and running and regulated in a way to keep the soldiers healthy within months it was clear the radical experiment was working the number of infected soldiers decreased dramatically from 40 percent to 4 percent this success did not go unnoticed by the Union commanders in Memphis they sent an inspector there from the sanitary commission who came back and said the program is working and so they set up a similar program with a public hospital for diseased prostitutes military hospital for diseased soldiers mandatory licensing mandatory inspection about once a week and with that they were able to control the epidemic of disease the program was also a success financially in three years 134 prostitutes paid over 6,400 dollars in registration fees this generated almost $4,000 in profit for the Union Army unfortunately regulating prostitution only curbed disease according to the Army’s own records it did not stop sexual misconduct court-martial proceedings reveal many cases of gross improprieties committed by officers in both armies these often read more like today’s tabloids than official military documents one of my favorite court-martials is of the man that I call the Starbucks bandit this was dr. William Scott who was in charge of hospital number 8 at Nashville and he had found a ways to steal five thousand dollars worth of coffee and he sold this and he used the money to support his two mistresses both of whom were prostitutes and both of whom are described in the records and they basically asked him to leave the army another New York colonel had his regiment down at Pensacola and he assembled his troops and said if you put together a fund I will put on a regimental party and he put on quite a party there at Pensacola the party lasted for three days and at the end of the three days twenty-five percent of the troops had venereal disease and 30 percent were absent without leave that’s a man who knows how to do a party but few in the Union Army partied quite like this man general H Judson Kilpatrick a brash daring cavalry commander he had very few vices he did not play cards he did not drink alcohol wishes to his credit his voice was women Kilpatrick gained a notorious reputation for always having women traveling with him one such companion was named Alice he says she was a northern schoolteacher that was stranded behind the lines but captain Miller v Ohio Kaveri which state that most the soldiers knew that this was not true or she was there for other purposes those other purposes no doubt included sex later Kilpatrick went so far as to bring a pregnant woman with him on campaign dressed in a soldier’s uniform and nicknamed Charlie but Kilpatrick’s womanizing didn’t seem to affect his career in 1865 he was promoted to Major General of volunteers after the war he received a presidential appointment as minister to Chile by contrast Confederate General John Bell hoods obsession with one woman Richmond debutante Sally Preston would nearly bring him to ruin by the fall of 1863 some of Sally Preston’s friends were beginning to wonder if being her lover was a terrible curse several of her ardent suitors had already died in the war and now the curse was nipping quite literally at the limbs of her latest admirer the dashing John Bell hood after meeting Sally he went to the Battle of Gettysburg and lost the use of his right arm two months later in the Battle of Chickamauga Hood lost his left leg upon hearing the news socialite Mary chestnut said the obvious to her good friend buck Hurd was always lucky until he met you Hood returned to Richmond to recover from his disfiguring wounds there through the winter of 1864 he rekindled his romance with Sally Preston he and Buck preston did apparently become engaged although it wasn’t a especially formal event the two of them had singled each other out as as their special other and they did become engaged in February of 1864 however before any wedding could ensue the war called hood once again Confederate President Jefferson Davis desperately needed commanders so despite his wounds who had left Richmond with high hopes both for helping the Confederacy win the war and for winning the heart of Sally Preston while the heterosexual exploits of Civil War soldiers and citizens have been well documented accounts of homosexual activity are fairly rare we have one in which two officers were court-martialed for conduct unbecoming in which they were having an argument in the company streets the the corridor between the tents and it sounds like an argument between two queens one captain was saying well you never love me anyway and the lieutenant said well you’ve been looking at these other guys and just from the verbatim testimony you can see these two guys walking up and down you know pouting and sulking and calling each other feminine kinds of nicknames curiously significantly more cases involving homosexuality have been discovered in the wars naval records in the Union Navy court-martials which you’ve just started looking at we found at least a dozen trials usually either described as sodomy or crimes against nature and one of the things the Navy did back then was to enlist boys aged 10 11 12 this kind of thing and for men who are suits and young boys so-called chickens this was a natural excused expression breeding ground perhaps the wars most well-known homosexual was the era’s most celebrated poet Walt Whitman Whitman worked as a volunteer nurse in Washington DC helping tend to the thousands of wounded soldiers anyone who had go into a civil war hospital to do nursing ought to be sainted they were absolutely awful Whitman would go into these hospitals and help and do the nursing care bathe people’s brows write letters for them read to them this kind of thing and I’m suspect he found a few or sexual friends there from Whitman’s own diary he liked Rough Trade he likes sweet car motor many like stevedores dock workers this kind of thing Whitman wrote openly about his sexual preferences his wartime Journal recounts dozens of encounters with men Peter large strong boned young fellow driver that liked his were fishing wickedness William Culver boy in bath age deep teen David Wilson night of October 11 62 walking up from the door slipped with me for Sally Preston and her fiance General John Bell hood their future together was much like that of the Confederacy doomed hoods returned to action as commander of the army of Tennessee was marked by a series of bloody defeats that left his army decimated and his reputation in tatters then upon his return to Richmond in January of 1865 hood was spurned by the woman he loved Sally’s friend Mary chesnut wrote about the end of the affair the hood melodrama is over though the curtain has not fallen on the final scene when that style of enthusiasm is on the wane the rapidity of its extinction is miraculous it’s like the snuffing out of a candle one moment what then gone forever in the spring of 1865 General John Bell hood left Richmond he never saw Sally Preston again both eventually married other people in 1879 who had died of yellow fever the following year Sally Preston died at the age of 38 following an operation of an undisclosed nature [Music] the Civil War was effectively over when Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses s grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9th 1865 [Music] over the next several months soldiers on both sides left their posts and went home in Memphis the city returned to civilian control and prostitution was once again outlawed the regulation was only specifically for the army itself so when the army left and the government came out of Memphis it was the local government that took over so they just didn’t continue with the regulation in the decades following the Civil War Victorian era sensibilities censored much of the sexual nature of the four years struggle surviving relatives often destroyed any sexual references found in the diaries or letters left behind by both soldiers and civilians history books and battlefield interpretations stressed the wars heroes and tactics it is only recently that scholars have turned their attention to this human side of the conflict as these little-known stories and little scene evidence come into the light a new appreciation and understanding can be had for the real men and women who fought died and loved in America’s Civil War [Music] [Music] [Music] you

Facebook Chatter