Missouri State Archives Presentation Videos


[ Transcript for: Occupied Women: Gender, Military Occputation, and the American Civil War ]

Occupied Women: Gender, Military Occupation, and the American Civil War Video Transcript



MS. LEEANN WHITES: Great pleasure for me to be here, particularly, since my research is very dependent on the sources here at the State Archives, especially the great index that the State Archives has done. And actually volunteers like yourself, perhaps some of you, in the audience worked on the index to the disloyal citizens of the Union.

So at maybe some point, in my talk, I’ll point out to you this is the point where I couldn’t possibly have done this without our State Archives. So this is a little bit of, I suppose, I hope, this is giving back to -- to the Archives, this talk.

So today I’m going to be talking about Occupied Women. And Occupied Women is really a play on the word “occupied”. So usually when we think of occupied areas we think of -- we think of the war as being over. And -- and we think of the civilians as just -- especially the women as just sort of trying to you know get by. But the observation here is that Occupied Women were occupied as in “busy.” And -- but actually the Civil War didn’t end on the battlefields, it just sort of reconfigured into a war of occupation.

So that -- that’s really what the book is about. And so let’s take it away. So in the beginning of the Civil War, in the spring of 1861, of course, thousands of young men joined together to form companies whether they joined the Union or the Confederate Army, they left their -- their families and their homes behind. And their communities joined together. Next. Next.

2:29 Men Go to War

Men go to war. Their communities joined together to -- you know, to help them and served to outfit them, provided them with uniforms and guns and, of course, emotional support and everyone hoped that these men would come back very quickly. But, of course, we all know that this was sort of the first big miscalculation about the Civil War. That it was going to be a short war and, of course, it turned out to be not that at all. It turned out to be quite a long war.

And quite a large number of men, more than anyone expected ended up leaving. So in the North, fully 50 percent of the age-eligible men served in the war. And in the South, a really staggering 90 percent of the white men served in the war. So what this means is that, basically, when we talk about civilians and during the war and especially if we’re talking about the Confederacy, we’re really talking about women and children.

3:42 How the War Affected the Status of Women

So the people who end up being occupied are really -- really are a population largely made up of -- of women and children. Now, when we think about women and war most of the time what historians talk about is how the war affected women in terms of the status of women. And one thing, of course, it was a consequence of the war that people were hoping wouldn’t happen. And had an immediate sort of impact, deep and lasting impact on the status of women is that many of them ended up being widows. So it just wasn’t a lot of men served, but a lot of men died which meant a lot of women were without men altogether. Next.

So here is a picture of a cemetery in New Orleans. I like those -- the way they dress in the 19th Century sort of. And next, I have another one.

Can you guys see this better than I can? My angle is not -- not so good.

AUDIENCE: It’s fine here.

MS. LEEANN WHITES: It’s fine for you. I -- I like the way in this one, you know, you have the woman who’s very pregnant, so you know you could be -- you could be widowed, you could have young children, you could be pregnant, but this picture also gives you kind of a picture of what the civilian population looked like. I mean you notice that it’s just white women and slaves.

There are no adult men here, except the one that’s in the coffin. So this gives -- this gives you an idea of -- of the sort of worst consequences, but historians who have argued about the impact of women, some of them have tried to suggest that really the war empowered women. Next.

And gave women opportunities to get involved in various war activities that -- it really kind of opened every door for the possibilities of this -- of women and improving their status. So, I think, we have pictures here of women nursing and sewing for the troops and even washing laundry for the troops and writing letters for soldiers. So in all these ways, you know, the work of women became more public and it became more important. So some historians have said this is really, you know, improved the status of women. But then -- next.

I think this is a much more sort of depressing picture of what the war might have been like for women at home; people shooting in your windows, your home sort of falling apart because the men are gone or the men are dead. This one is something about the grandmothers. I haven’t quite figured out what they mean by that, that you had to take care of your grandmothers all by yourself. Here we have the woman by herself with her children having, you know, to take the oath so -- so my point is that there’s been kind of a debate among historians, but it’s all sort of revolved around whether women got more or less power.

Some historians have suggested that when women got to the end of the war and they had had this experience of getting along alone without their men that they concluded that they were not men, they were not able to be men, and they didn’t want to be men. So -- but this is the way the question has generally been -- been debated, but no one in this debate has ever tried to suggest that these women weren’t busy. That is that women didn’t have a lot of work to do.

7:45 Enemy Men

They sort of argued over whether it empowered women or it disempowered them, but no one has ever tried to say that women didn’t have a lot to -- work to do because their men were absent. So, so much attention has been paid on this question of absence of men and what that meant for women, that people seem to have completely missed the fact that it really wasn’t the case that there were no men at all. There were men there; they just weren’t their men. In other words, they weren’t the men of the community. Next.

Because wherever the Union military goes in the course of the war and, you know, so basically the war is a history of invasion if you’re -- if you’re on the Southern side. You know the Union military is just coming down, down, down. And so wherever these men go, then they’re lots of men around for women, they’re just not their men.

In fact, they’re enemy men. So it’s kind of -- you know, people wonder why it is historians can spend so much time writing about the Civil War or -- or anything over and over again. Well, it’s because we miss these huge things. We spend all our time talking about how there aren’t any men and what does that mean? When, in fact, we completely missed the fact that actually there were a lot of men there.

And so my talk tonight is about, well, what does that mean? What does that mean that there was all those women and children occupied by all those -- those Union troops?

9:30 How Confederate Women Behaved

And it raises a question, of course, of how those women were going to behave. Because after all, if you were a Confederate woman, you were one of those women whose men were off fighting the Union military some other place or maybe your man had already been killed. So when the Union military arrives, what -- what are you going to do? Are you going to be nice? Are you going to be neutral or are you going to be mad? So I happen to like this picture. Next.

You could spit. And I will talk later about the significance of spitting, but the -- this was suggested perhaps they didn’t -- they weren’t exactly friendly when the -- when the troops arrived. And so to sort of give a concrete picture; this will be my moment when I really appear to be a military historian because you can always tell a military historian because they have to have a map. Next.

Okay. Here’s my military moment. This -- this is -- I would -- I would -- I wish I had now, I have to have a pointer, if I’m really a good military historian, I really need to have one of those laser pointers. But this map is a map of the history of occupation. So, you can -- if I go away; can you hear me?

(No response.)

MS. LEEANN WHITES: I guess I can try to talk. So you see the pink is the first area where they invade in 1861, if I’m remembering my -- my map. Then they come further down. That would be the yellow. Notice how they’re making much more progress in the West. More progress in the West, they don’t get anywhere in the East.

Those of you who know a lot about the Civil War know that -- that -- that they just fought back and forth, back and forth there in the East and never got much of anywhere. The Union was actually much more successful in the West. And historians of the Civil War would suggest, of course, we -- we only hear about those big battles in the East, but historians of the Civil War especially those of us out in the West, perhaps we have some investment in this, like to suggest that really, arguably, we won the war for them because if you look at that.

So we take the Mississippi River, but you see that blue tail, right there. It comes in 1864; what is -- what is that blue tail?

AUDIENCE: Sherman.

12:02 Sherman’s March

MS. LEEANN WHITES: Sherman’s March. Exactly.

So what happens? We come down, we take the West and then we finally manage to -- you know, really smash the East by marching out of the West. Excuse me very much. But I would also point out to you, you’ve probably heard of Sherman’s March. This is the moment in which the formal field of battle really becomes the occupied field of battle.

And this, of course, is why we think it’s so offensive, because Sherman shouldn’t have done that to all those innocent women and children; should he? He shouldn’t have traded them like combatants when after all they were just innocent, victimized, not-busy women. Well, actually that’s really not the way it worked. So, next.

Okay. So we tend to assume, historians of the Civil War, tend to assume that really all the action is on the formal field of battle. As though when you won a battle, and let’s say you’ve won a battle and you were able to take the major city, that that would be the end of it. But in fact, that’s not what happened.

What happened was then the Union military has a city, let’s say Memphis in 1862, they’re surrounded by a bunch of people that hate them. They’re -- it’s an occupied area, and so this is actually from a book bought from someone named Ash, Stephen Ash, who wrote a book called When the Yankees Came. And basically what it’s showing you, if I had a little pointer, I would -- could show you, is basically what the Union military was able to do in this occupation was take these towns, fortify them and then ride out with their cavalry, you know, trying to control the area around the town.

14:13 No Man’s Land

And if they got far enough away, they got into the Confederate frontier and eventually they got into Confederate controlled territory, which they didn’t want -- want to get into. So they called this “no man’s” land. It was sort of like they could take the cities, the war sort of reconfigures into a guerrilla war, essentially, and then -- and then they have to try to occupy it. So occupation, military historians are beginning to see is really kind of a different form of war, not the one on the battle field. But what happens when you vanquish someone? Then they go underground. That’s sort of the point.

So we call this area “no man’s” land. And as I said, historians really haven’t thought too much about what this must mean for women, because after all most of the people who are living in these garrison towns we will remember are actually women and children. So what are these women and children doing in this war of -- of occupation?

15:22 The Role of Slaves in the War

Now, perhaps many of you have heard or have read about our changing understanding of the role of slaves and African Americans in the Civil War?

(No response.)


It used to be we didn’t think much about slaves and African Americans either, but in point of fact, we now realize that slaves are very important in undermining, you know, the position of the Southern planter class. We wonder why we didn’t think of that before.

You know slaves run away in large numbers. Slaves enlist in the Union military. There are these great stories about, you know, masters that get themselves on the battlefield and find themselves confronted by their former slave. There was a reason why, you know, Lincoln emancipated the slaves. This is very debated. Was Lincoln really a committed abolitionist or did Lincoln really need all those black men, ex-slaves who were willing to fight for the Union army? Next.

So historians like to talk about this rupture and this -- this contribution of slaves as being the third front. So you can say the first front is the formal field of battle. The second front is the sort of white resistance, women civilians. We haven’t really talked about that yet. And the third front, are the slaves.

So my point is we recognize now that slaves are very important in terms of supporting the Union military, giving them information when they walk into town and all the white women are spitting at them. Who’s willing to talk to them? The slaves are willing to talk to them.

So we increasingly recognize that this -- that this war off the battlefield was certainly waged by slaves. But we haven’t really thought about what kind of contribution women might be making. Next.

17:30 The Lawrence Raid

And actually, generally we think women didn’t make any contribution at all. So how many of you are familiar with the Lawrence Raid?

(No response.)

MS. LEEANN WHITES: Okay. So this very famous in Missouri, of course, this was when Quantrill and his men ride across the border, burned down Lawrence, shoot all the men. Well, this was the way that Frank Leslie’s big magazine, at the time, they imagined this is what it looked like when Quantrill rode into town. Notice all the women in the front. Notice how women are all being ravaged here when -- when the guerrillas -- when the guerrillas come into town.

Now, in the first place, it couldn’t possibly have happened like this. Because those of you who really know about the Lawrence Raid, know that the guerrillas who weren’t stupid or they would have been dead. The guerrillas actually ride in at dawn. They ride in at the crack of dawn when everybody’s in bed. So it’s not like all these women are out on the street at five in the morning. In fact, what the guerrillas do is they go to people’s homes and they order the men out and they shoot them.

So there are really no women. The women are all like cowering inside the houses. There are no women that are being shot. The guerrillas didn’t shoot women or children. They shot the men that they could find. So my point is when we think about guerrilla war, we think about this as being, I would say, it’s kind of a hyper man’s land.

So you have this contested territory between the Union military and the Southern guerrillas, but it -- we think of it as just being -- it’s not just manly, it’s like there is no guy that’s more manly than the guerrilla on a horse with a half a dozen guns, right? It’s hyper-manly and has absolutely nothing to do with women, except that women are getting really, really treated badly. Let me just say that.

Actually are any of you familiar with -- never mind. You know the Sabine women, the Romans? You know the story about the Romans and the Sabine women and there’s this very famous painting where they’re basically being raped in this painting. Is anyone familiar with this famous --

There’s -- the posing in this is very similar to that painting. It’s 19th Century language for rape. Very bad. But my suggestion to you today would be which is not to deny that women -- you know, get in the crossfire here. My suggestion to you is that women were actually very occupied, as in busy, on the western border and there wouldn’t have been any guerrilla war at all without the support of women. I like to tell my students because there was no McDonald’s outside of Lawrence. No fast food and also you couldn’t pick up a shirt at Wal-Mart.

And basically, you know, the military the reason why Sherman’s March is considered to be in logistical terms very impressive was because Sherman was able to maintain such long lines through enemy territory, where no one would help him.

It’s the -- the Union military has a lot of problems with logistics. You can imagine how much trouble there is for guerrillas, you know, they don’t have a regular quarter-master. Basically, the quarter-masters are of the guerrilla war are the women. Next.

21:42 The Guerrilla Trail

So -- okay. This is a drawing that was in General Ewing’s papers. General Ewing was the commanding general of that area, the contested border in Missouri. And you have to look closely, but you will see, I hope you will see; I wish I had a pointer. You can see -- what does it say? There’s a thing that says, Guerrilla Trail up there. Guerrilla Trail -- see the Guerrilla Trail. Does anyway see -- does anyone see the Guerrilla Trail?


MS. LEEANN WHITES: You see how the road basically makes a big loop? And then can you see the little boxes on the loop? Little boxes, over there, those are houses. Those are the McDonald’s of the guerrilla war. There’s a reason why they’re noting where those houses are because they know that those women are supplying the -- the guerrillas. So my point is, basically, that because we have been so sort of focused on the fact that women are victimized in guerrilla war, and I’m not denying that, we’ve missed the fact that women are also the quarter-masters of the guerrilla war.

So in the same sense that, look, we know the soldiers just got slaughtered in the Civil War, but that doesn’t make us think that soldiers weren’t important fighting the Civil War. I’m making the same suggestion about women. And I’m suggesting that the military knew this themselves very well. So, next.

Okay. So this -- was also in the commanding general’s papers. This is a list of all the guerrilla supporters who lived around Independence. So this is just around one post. And if you read this, you will see that it’s mostly women and children and widows and it has lovely things like husband in the bush; Billy Hiccup and all of his women; Old Billy crud up in all of his women. I can’t read it and also have you hear me.

So it sort of is a reflection then of who the population was, mostly women. And that the women were known to be actively supplying this guerrilla war. And the Union is concerned about it; concerned enough to be taking lists of them and keeping track of them.

24:59 General Butler’s “Woman Order”

So we talked about Sherman’s March. When military historians talk about the war, they’re really -- there are only two moments where -- where women appear and one of them is Sherman’s March and women are victims and that means Sherman was a rat. And the other is something called the “Woman Order.” And I wonder how many of you have heard of the “Woman Order?”

(No response.)

MS. LEEANN WHITES: Okay. I think I’ll go next.

Okay. Okay. The “Woman Order” was issued by General Butler when he occupied New Orleans in May of 1862. And when he came into New Orleans and he confronted most of those Southern sympathizing Confederate women, he found that they were not very nice to his troops. And he found they were not very nice to his troops. Now people have not taken women not being nice to troops very seriously. I mean after all, no one ever suggested that any of them tried to shoot them.

All they did was things like cuss them, spit at them, maybe dump an occasional chamber pot from a window on their head, but really, you know, this is something that we should really be ringing our hands about. And I like to say -- I like to tell my students a story about this one company that comes marching into an occupied town and all the women are standing on the side of the streets, all these young women, you know, it’s just all these young men. It’s all these young men who have been out in the field, being cold and bored and dirty and occasionally having a moment of terror out in the battlefield.

And they finally come into a town and see some women and, okay, they’re enemy women, but they’re women and they’re cute and they’re standing on the side and they’re all saying things like, “You stink. You’re skanky. You’ve got lice.” And it makes them feel bad. And that’s why Butler issued this order because it was a serious morale issue.

These women were making these men feel really badly. Why else bother, you know, to issue the order? Now, historians have noticed this, but like in the case with Sherman’s March they have pretty much the same response, which is in this case …. next.

In this case, to assume as Butler himself said, Butler was kind of full of himself, and Butler said, “You know, really the issue -- the order to issue executed itself.” And what he meant by that was, all these women were just so scared that someone would treat -- these men would treat them like they were public women, that is prostitutes, that they all just went running home, like, Oh, my God, he’s going to treat me like I’m a prostitute. I have to go home. I’m going to stop spitting. I’m going to stop yelling. I’m just going to go home.

And so, I like to say they sweetened up. It’s like before 28, after 28. Now, more recent research, which you can read about in my fabulous book, would indicate that they did not sweeten up, that they went on being as bad as they ever were. And in fact, Butler had to leave and be replaced.

So -- but because historians have simply assumed, you know, that women were just kind of spineless wimps, excuse me, that they really didn’t look into this -- to this question. So -- and, of course, I have a picture of Sherman’s March. Next. Next.

29:14 Conflicting Lines of Authority

So, in my book, this was the original cover that we proposed for the book. And we picked this cover, because we think that it shows the problem that the Union military had in occupying these women. So they have a problem because women can actually make them feel badly. We’ve already talked about that. They have a problem with them because they actually supplied the guerrilla war, the second front. But, also, they have a problem because actually men have respect for women. And we would suggest that there are -- there are sort of two lines of authority here. There’s the authority that the military men have who are trying to occupy those women. And then there are the various kinds of authority that women have in relation to men, which is reflected in the fact that they feel badly -- men feel badly if you tell them that they’re skanky and they stink.

But in this case, we can see this very concretely because on the one hand the Union officer is there and he has rations -- rations, food and if this occupied woman wants to get that food she has to swear the loyalty oath. And so she’s got her hand on the Bible. She’s swearing the loyalty oath. This would look like all about his power. But notice how he’s taken his hat off. He’s doffing -- it’s like he’s confused. It’s like on the one hand, she’s taking the oath for me, but, Oh, yes, ma’am, thank you -- thank you very much for taking the oath from me. So, we like to say, that this is really sort of encapsulates the sort of conflicting lines of authority that the Union military faced when they come into these occupied areas.

31:19 Occupied Women in St. Louis

Now, to sort of close this off and illustrate this, I’m going to tell you a story about St. Louis and occupied women in St. Louis. So you may know that the Union military came in very early in St. Louis and occupied St. Louis by August of 1861. And so this is a story, we have to sort of cut then to sort of mid-way in the -- in the period of occupation, the spring of 1863, which was arguably the nadir of the Union military occupation. Because in the summer, you know, they would take Vicksburg. They would get complete control over the Mississippi. So really at this point -- this is sort of, things are hard. And if we were to cut out -- we’ll go to the wharf in Mississippi, we’ll find -- the Mississippi River at St. Louis we’ll see something rather odd.

We’ll see 24 or so women standing out on the wharf surrounded by Union military about to be put on a steamer. I’m imagining with very few personal affects. They couldn’t take their children. The children are standing there crying. And the Union military is sort of standing around them and they put them all on this ship and they take them down South beyond the Union lines. Now, why are they banishing these women?

(No response.)

MS. LEEANN WHITES: And this would be one of the largest banishments of -- of single -- you know, General Order No. 11 on the western border of Missouri; we should really think of that as being the largest mass banishment, but short of that evacuation of all those counties this is, as far as I know people haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about women and what the Union military could do with them. As far as I know, this is one of the largest single banishments of women, 23 women. And it speaks to the only way that the Union military was really able to deal with women, which was to just cut them out of the community altogether because the power of women is really in their relationships.

So the Union has objective military power, but women have relational power. And they even exercise that relational power in relation to these Union men who want -- who want to think these women like them.

So really the way that they dealt with them was to banish them. So this is a big example of the way they could fight this war. Now, why are they banishing these women? And who are they banishing? Next.

34:22 Mrs. David Frost

Okay. One of the people that they banished who would have been in this group was named Mrs. General David Frost who was the commanding officer at Camp Jackson. And by this time in the war, her husband had already left and was an officer in the Confederate military. So, many of these women were actually related to high-ranking Confederate officers. I think I have a picture of her husband. Next.

I think I have a picture of her house. Next.

They were also rich. So they’re wealthy, powerful, Southern sympathizing women are being banished. Another would be -- next.

35:10 Mrs. Trusten Polk

This is a very sad picture of Mrs. Polk. Mrs. Polk was married to Trusten Polk who was a governor of the state of Missouri in the 1850s. And this picture is the only one I can get of her and she’s in the -- it’s like the governors’ wives book. So Mr. Polk -- next.

By this time Mr. Polk is also in the Confederacy on Jefferson Davis’ cabinet. So they’re banishing a lot of powerfully located Southern sympathizing women and then they’re also banishing some pretty fairly ordinary women, but these women are at the root of why all these women are being banished. They’re all being banished for running the mail or technically the charge against them is corresponding with the enemy. They’re facilitating corresponding with the enemy by actually -- so think about it. It’s like we have all these men in the Confederate military and we have all these women who are Confederate sympathizers up in Missouri. They don’t have any way to really write to these guys. It’s not like you’re either in, you know, a Union area or the Confederate area, so they’re actually covertly running the mail up and down the river.

And it’s actually the women who are collecting the mail and -- and -- and also distributing the mail. So one story I like to tell -- and this is all from the State Archives -- so all of this is from the State Archives’ records of disloyal citizens. I like to tell the story of one woman who would run the mail all the way out to St. Joe. I mean, so they were taking the mail all the way across the state. And she would present as being, if you’ve heard the term “drummer”, they would call, salespeople in the 19th Century they would call them “drummers” because they would drum up business.

She would present as being a drummer for a corset firm in St. Louis and that’s how she would explain what she was doing all the way out in St. Joe, when what she was really doing was delivering mail from -- from Confederate -- Confederate soldiers. And actually back in St. Louis I was imagining, like, a -- I was imagining like a corset from like this huge corset firm, no, no, it was just like some woman’s business. And the woman herself was -- was disloyal; so all these women are being banished for running the mail.

38:02 Absalom Grimes

Now, some people think that the person who was really responsible for this was Absalom Grimes and I would suggest that actually Absalom Grimes who ended up in the prisons. Next.

Gratiot Prison in 1862 was actually rather than being the person most responsible for this, he was kind of like the mail runner on the Mississippi River for all these women. So it was really -- it was really the women and their sort of relational connections because it was his aunt that went and talked to him when he was in the prison and the two of them had a conversation about mail running and some people think it was Absalom and personally, I think, it was his aunt Ms. Vail.

I think I’m just, for purposes of time, going to skip ahead a couple of pictures. We can even -- we can skip Halleck. We can skip Alton.

So they had this mail ring going beginning in 1862 and Absalom Grimes is going up and down the river and the women are collecting the mail and the women are distributing the mail. So how did they get busted?

(No response.)

MS. LEEANN WHITES: Well, eventually in 1863, early of 1863, they get some of these mailbags. And when they open up the mailbags, they find a lot of different kind of mail actually. They find mail from women to their men that -- you know, is just kind of sweet. And then -- and then they find mail where -- where women are detailing all kinds of -- of abuse by the Union, occupying Union troops. And then they find mail that’s actually -- okay, there’s Absalom Grimes. Okay.

They actually find -- here’s the commanding general of the Confederate Missouri troops, Sterling Price. They also find in these mailbags mail to Sterling Price. They find mail in these -- the mailbags to Sterling Price talking about how many people will support him if he comes into the state and where he can find the strongest areas of resistance and -- in other words, they find military intelligence in this -- in these mailbags.

So even -- even the mail that’s being written about the conditions is dangerous in political terms because if you have these men down there fighting imagine what they think when they hear that their house has been burned, that the Union military has you know, strung up their best friend. This is only inciting. My point is this is only inciting for their militancy. Perhaps, this would even encourage Price to come back even sooner than he did in, you-all may know, the fall of 1864.

So they find these bags, they have military significance, they need to stop it. They -- one of the things they try to do is take the mail from some of the women and publish it in the St. Louis newspapers. Because no lady -- sort of like no lady would want to be -- you know, accused of being a prostitute. Surely a lady would just stop writing mail if someone were to publish it in the newspaper. Ha, ha.

41:58 Chestnut Prison

This didn’t work. So basically, what they do is they decide that they’re going to have to round them up and get rid of them, but one of the problems that they have --one of the problems that they have is that they don’t have any place to keep them. So there are two big military prisons. There’s Gratiot and Myrtle Prison and then there’s Alton Prison across the river. But especially these very high-standing women like Mrs. Frost and Mrs. Polk; you’re not going to put the former governor’s wife of the state into a prison where before the war, basically, the only women in prison were prostitutes. So, you’re certainly not going to throw them into Gratiot Prison with all these men. So what is to be done? Well, they actually confiscate the house of one of the women who’s most responsible -- not just -- these high-class women are just writing letters, but the ones that are running the thing they take her house. And they -- and they turn it into a women’s prison.

I’m looking for the name of the women’s prison ‘cause they always name them after streets, you know, like Gratiot is on a street and Myrtle’s on a street in St. Louis; Chestnut. The Chestnut Street Prison where Mrs. McClure lived. They just came, took away all her mail. When the military suddenly came, she had been tipped off, she was out shopping and someone came up to her and said, “They’re about to bust you, Mrs. McClure.” And somehow she got back to her home and by the time the military came they were all like, like, trying to burn the mail and -- I -- they probably didn’t have toilets, so they probably weren’t flushing it down the toilets. They were doing everything they could to get rid of this mail.

Nonetheless, Union military comes, they bust them, they take the mail and they just imprison her in this house and put all these fancy women in the house until they can actually get the approval to send them down the river. Nonetheless, this is the origins of the female military prison and after this point they use it to -- to get rid of other problematic occupied women in St. Louis.

So whether it was a matter of mail runners in St. Louis, or spitting, chamber pot, dumping Confederate women in New Orleans -- oh, next, by the way. Next.

Mrs. McClure it was her house; whether it was a matter of women like Mrs. McClure or spitting, chamber pot, dumping Confederate women in New Orleans or women manning the guerrilla domestic supply line throughout “no man’s” land of the Confederacy. Occupied women found themselves swearing false oath, forging passes, carrying information that was critical military intelligence and the military tried to expose them in the public press. They called them malignant. They called them inhumane. They called them she-devils. And while this is very upsetting to this -- these women, it didn’t change the fact that as women they had certain relational concerns and responsibilities. So it sort of cut both ways.

It’s like the men would doff their hats to women, but that’s because women would feed you and women would clothe you and women would make sure that you got a letter on your birthday. So these women in a way were just non-plus by the Union military. In fact, the Union military just offended them, you know, it’s like, What do you mean you’re going to arrest me for corresponding with the enemy? You know you’re getting in the way of my relationship with my son.

MS. LEEANN WHITES: And it really just didn’t get anywhere with these women. And on another level, it actually made the Union military feel badly.

46:24 Conclusion

So I would suggest that on this level in terms of this occ- -- war of occupation the Union military actually found themselves in many ways on the taking end. And perhaps that’s why, you know, we still remember Sherman’s March with such horror because men, of course, should protect women.

But, I think, we shouldn’t perhaps -- we should perhaps revalue that in a certain way and realize that, you know, those women they weren’t exactly easy characters either, so maybe we should balance out the gender spectrum here a bit. And that’s the end of my talk.