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A Peach Is A Peach Is A Vivandiere

Discussion in 'The Ladies Tea' started by JPK Huson 1863, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    "Yes, another thread on our ladies in those uniforms variously known as Vivandieres. It's because between Vivandieres and Daughters of the Regiments and those who considered themselves one or the other were blurred lines. Plus some Vivandieres famously followed regiments literally to the front line like our Mary Tepe- some were not quite as steely or disallowed to be, fulfilling the role as they defined it from relative safety. This article implies all traveled with regiments which isn't true. BUT- whether or not they did it was immensely brave of these women. Moving and working in and amongst so many men dressed as they were, unconventionally was taking a massive step outside roles assigned to our sisters of the era. I'm mentioning this because I've bumped into articles a tad dismissive of Daughters of the Regiment who dressed the part and stayed out of harm's way. Most did. The reason Mary Tepe is so famous is she insisted on risking herself on battlefields, there was just no stopping her.
    mt gb.JPG

    Mary Tepe at Gettysburg. This image is so haunting it constricts my heart. Such a tiny, feminine figure taking a moment in the carnage. What was she thinking?
    mt viv.JPG
    Wearing her Kearny Cross. I always assume everyone knows she earned one and why. She was with the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry, Collis Zouaves, her regiment ( the 2nd ), for meritorious conduct in battle. Our French Mary.


    I've also bumped into these women being referred to as thinly disguised prostitutes following regiments to ply their trade. Were there women forced into this as a means to eat or support children? Sure. They are another conversation poor things. Making supposition on Vivandierres and other ' duties ' is to dismiss the contributions of women like our Mary Tepe herself. It's as if well, men were there to fight but women would only be interested in hanging around a war for one reason and one reason only. Puleeze.

    Not completely crazy about this article, it's fairly explanatory.

    " ........, the vivandieres and cantinieres who traveled with regiments during the Civil War were women who, despite the constrictions of Victorian society, chose to serve alongside men during wartime in a role that American women thus far had not played. A part of their regiment, these women served several functions, all unheard of for American women of the time.

    In America, the vivandiere was most often known as “the daughter of the regiment,” a title that was sometimes literal, as the vivandiere was usually the daughter, wife, or some other relation to an officer in the regiment. The role of these daughters of the regiment was to follow the regiment, assist in setting up and maintaining camp, not to mention their duties as nurses, carrying a canteen of water or whisky into battle, performing triage to the wounded on the front.


    http://www.thecivilwaromnibus.com/articles/98/vivandieres-and-cantinieres-ladies-of-the-regiment/

    dor.jpg
    dor1.JPG
    Some of the pics are the European idea of a Vivandiere
    dor2.JPG
    American Civil War
    Pinterest


    This one is from a website the name of which is awful- and misleading **sigh**

    The Daughter of the Regiment, La Fille du Regiment. Cantiniere. Vivandiere


    These are all names for women who served in a similar capacity during the Civil War, and prior, particularly in the Crimean War. As the name suggests, vivandieres were originally associated with French regiments. They acted as nurses and cheerleaders, carrying kegs of brandy or wine with them to nurse wounded troops on the battlefield. "The dashing image of French soldiers, especially the Zouave regiments, in the Crimean War, captured the imagination of Americans in the 1850s, and, by 1859, several local militia regiments had adopted the name "Zouave," as well as interpretations of the colorful Zouave uniforms. Some of these local groups sported a vivandiere in their ranks.

    At the outbreak of the American Civil War, most regiments were organized as independent companies of troops, raised in a local area. Some of these companies selected their own uniforms and accoutrements without regard to regular army practice. And some of these regiments also selected a local lady to serve as "the daughter of the regiment," the American equivalent to the French vivandiere."** They modeled their "uniforms" after those of the regiment they served, but there was no set or official uniform and thus much variation occurs. Civil War vivandieres were most common during the first two years of the war, although a few remained until the end. Since vivandieres were not sanctioned by the army, there is no official record of the number of women who served. The written records we do have come from newspapers and letters.


    http://couturecourtesan.blogspot.com/2011/04/daughter-of-regiment.html


    http://civilwartalk.com/threads/south-carolina-women-in-the-confederacy-udc.111175/

    http://civilwartalk.com/threads/henriette-delille.110560/

    dor3.JPG dor4.JPG dor5.JPG dor6.jpg dor7.JPG dor8.JPG dor9.JPG dor10.JPG dor11.JPG dor12.JPG dor13.JPG
     
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  3. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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  4. MRB1863

    MRB1863 Captain Forum Host

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    All true Patriots! No lack of fortitude in this group!!! Bless them all.
     
  5. Seduzal

    Seduzal 2nd Lieutenant

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    Wow! Never seen this before learned something new. Thanks for sharing.
     
  6. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    Another excellent thread.
     
  7. DR_Hanna

    DR_Hanna Sergeant

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    Was this a peculiarly Northern thing, or were there Confederate analogs to these interesting women?
     
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  8. rosefiend

    rosefiend First Sergeant

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    There were a number of Confederate vivandieres, too. They seemed to have been mostly seen with Zouave regiments, which were based on the French troops in snazzy uniforms that fought in the Crimean War. These troops had vivandieres as a matter of course; American troops followed suit.

    Several Zouave troops from Louisiana had vivandieres. Helen Voskins was one. Here she is getting arrested. Ignore the flowery nonsense that leads into this article; these newspaper guys kind of lose it every time they see a woman in the ranks.

    [​IMG]

    Transcription (without all the nonsense):

    Nashville Union and American., September 12, 1861, Image 1
    Arrest of a Vivandiere –

    It seems that some of the Louisiana regiments have vivandieres attached to them and their services in Virginia have been spoken of in the highest terms. One of these devoted women named Helen Voskins, of about 20 years, who accompanied her regiment to Virginia, arrived here yesterday. Her hair was plaited, and her jaunty cap, ?Homer pants and close fitting coat rendered her the observed of all observers. Everybody could see that she was a woman and some of our police not being acquainted with such a uniform for the gentler sex, arrested her. She was taken to the station house, the matter explained, and Capt. Klink at once set her at liberty. We are sorry that the lovely vivandiere should have been incommoded, and on the part of our citizens generally beg leave to offer our best apology. – Memphis Avalanche, Sept. 10.

    Here's a pic of the Louisiana Tigers in Pensicola, Florida (the picture title says New Orleans but others say differently) with their vivandiere on the left hand side.

    [​IMG]

    @18thVirginia blew up the pic so you can see her better:

    [​IMG]

    Lavinia Williams (who got married during the war) was another Confederate vivandiere with the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion, Company B, "Wheat's Zouaves."

    Here's a little extra info from another Civil War message board (which, I just discovered, quoted my Helen Voskins story without attribution):

    "The 8th Louisiana had two vivandieres. Mary Brown enlisted with her husband Christian Brown in the Bienville Rifles (Co. B) at Camp Moore. Her name was later stricken from the rolls, probably when the company clerk found that women could not legally serve. Her rank was listed as a Vivandiere in the CMSR's. Unfortunately, her husband was murdered during an argument with William Hatton of the same company on Dec. 23, 1861 at Camp Florida, VA. I have often wondered if Mrs. Brown might not have been the subject of that argument. Christian Brown was no rough character. He was a gardener by profession. The only mention of this incident is in a soldier's letter home in which he mentions that the "vivandiere's husband was murdered" by that soldier's pistol, which was stolen from his tent. We have no record of what happened to Mrs. Brown, her name being far too common to track. William Hatton, the murderer, deserted before he could be brought to trial and disappeared from history under that name. The Phoenix Company (Co. K) also had a vivandiere that their Captain, Larry Nicholls listed as a Laundress when he wrote home to his wife in mid-1861. Rather clumsily, perhaps, he raved about how this unnamed woman was taking care of him. Expectedly, his wife joined him in Virginia and stayed there with him until his death at Gaines Mill on June 27th, 1862. Surmise what you will from the wife's sudden appearance in Virginia. This was common to people of means but I had to laugh when reading his letter that Nicholls just asked for that from his letter. The 13th Louisiana had a "cantineer" or vivandiere (cantiniere) by the name of Susan Francis. Efforts to find out what became of her or where she came from prior to the war have been unsuccessful to this point. All three women came through Camp Moore."

    And here's a Daughter of the Regiment in the middle of the page:

    vivandiere White Cloud Kansas chief., August 15, 1861, Image 2.png
     
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  9. Patrick H

    Patrick H Captain

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    This is a great thread. I remember seeing the Louisiana Tigers photo in another thread some months ago and asking about the woman in uniform. It was the first I'd ever heard of vivandieres. They deserve to have their story known by more people.
     
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  10. Allie

    Allie Captain

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    Mary Chesnut mentioned an encounter with a vivandiere in her diary, who played the piano and sang to entertain the men.

    I was looking to see if the opera "La Fille du Regiment" had ever been performed with a Civil War setting. The original setting is Napoleonic, but since I've seen "Carmen" set in Prohibition-era Chicago, it didn't seem like much of a stretch to set la Fille in the Valley or something. And I found out that not only has it been adapted to suit a Civil War setting, this first happened... in 1863, during the war itself! A playwright in Augusta wrote a patriotic drama based on La Fille, in which the heroine becomes a Confederate vivandiere. It was performed several times and apparently well received.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=X...&q="la fille du regiment" confederate&f=false
     
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  11. rosefiend

    rosefiend First Sergeant

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    Found the Mary Chesnut quote you mentioned:

    RICHMOND, Va., July 13,1861. - Now we feel safe and comfortable. We can not be flanked. Mr. Preston met us at Warrenton. Mr. Chesnut doubtless had too many spies to receive from Washington, galloping in with the exact numbers of the enemy done up in their back hair....

    To-day in the drawing-room, saw a vivandière in the
    Page 83
    flesh. She was in the uniform of her regiment, but wore Turkish pantaloons. She frisked about in her hat and feathers; did not uncover her head as a man would have done; played the piano; and sang war-songs. She had no drum, but she gave us rataplan. She was followed at every step by a mob of admiring soldiers and boys.
     
  12. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    NEVER realized there was a woman in that photo, how cool is that and thank you! Clipped more newspapers on her, Louisiana understandably extremely proud to claim her. She's all the heck all over the news, small wonder. You just know there were more- Southern papers were published less and less frequently due to shortages ( heard of one printed on wallpaper by the end of the war, there's dedication ) , unsurprising perhaps the great little stories we find in northern papers would not be as frequent in those years in the south.

    Really need a thread on post war fate of these women. Their vocation was so much lauded they started entire fashion trends, spawned operas, plays and ballets- the women who were the real thing kind of faded off into the woodwork. Mary Tepe committed suicide, drinking something vile. No pension, no support, poverty stricken and ill, while these accolades continued she pretty much died alone, unnoticed. Crazy.
     
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  13. rosefiend

    rosefiend First Sergeant

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    Paris green. But yeah. (Actually, she wasn't alone -- her husband was in and out of her home, but they had terrible fights. She drank the Paris green, told her husband what she'd done, he ran to get the doc, but she refused all attempts, all day, to make her vomit or to empty out her stomach. It was a pretty terrible end.)

    The tough part about doing genealogical work on these women (any women, really) is how you just about have to know their married name to find them. And back in those days, they'd marry just as soon as their man died. They had to, since they had no rights concerning property, not to mention lots of other things.
     
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  14. 18thVirginia

    18thVirginia Captain Forum Host

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  15. AUG351

    AUG351 Captain Forum Host

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    Actually that's not a picture of Wheat's Battalion, but Lt. Col. George A.G. Coppens' 1st Battalion Louisiana Zouaves. Lt. Col. Coppens in seen standing to the far right in the photo.
     
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  16. rosefiend

    rosefiend First Sergeant

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    Thanks for the elucidation. I quote other people, and you see where that gets me.
     
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  17. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    What is Paris Green? Now I remember hearing that before- paint?

    I know I'm preaching to the choir, heck, the preacher of fire and brimstone. One of the aspects with SO, so many of these women is they were plain, old stuck after they were plain, old forgotten. War vets traveled the country watching memorials erected, had each other and hopefully pensions- women had zip and to make matters worse if they wrote of their experiences were accused of cashing in on some bandwagon. They had to eat too- talk about a Catch 22. Great Google book " Our Army Nurses " someone glued together, 100 or so nurses, a few speak of this. Almost none got pensions- they were forced to go track down doctors they'd worked with, a lot of them were dead. No doc, no pension. There wasn't even a questionnaire for Mary.

    Really, very much looking forward to that book. Have a strong feeling we're getting much more than ' Mary was born on Fogust umpteenth in Wakemup, New Guinea, to yawningly tedious parents and inaccurate details from census's, her hats were available at Marks and Spencers, moral of the story no one likes divorced females go eat paint The End.'
     
  18. rosefiend

    rosefiend First Sergeant

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    Paris green was used in Paris to kill rodents. Also a paint pigment.

    Thanks for good words about my book! I need to get some hats from Marks and Spencers.
     
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  19. Dave Wilma

    Dave Wilma 2nd Lieutenant

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    In 1802, Congress authorized rations for four women per company, duties undefined.

    Women in company.jpg
     
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  20. Allie

    Allie Captain

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    Paris green is a copper/arsenic compound. In terms of human consumption, it's basically arsenic. It was common both on wallpapers and in fabrics - you can still find Civil War era clothing dyed with "arsenic green," which was a blue-undertoned emerald to jade color. Scarlett O'Hara's curtain dress would probably have been made with arsenic green. Only problem is, arsenic will readily absorb through the skin - such dresses often slowly sickened the wearer.

    Wallpaper was a special problem. When damp, arsenic wallpaper produces poisonous gas. There was a room in one of Queen Victoria's abodes - can't remember the specifics - which had a reputation as a sickly room. She had the green wallpaper torn out and it was fine after that.

    There are books of historic wallpaper which curators today are advised to handle only after placing the whole book in a plastic bag and donning gloves.

    Article about arsenic green - makes the valid point that exposure to the chemicals in clothing would have been minimal, since women wore chemises. However, dressmakers received more exposure.

    https://thepragmaticcostumer.wordpr...ous-a-tldr-tale-of-arsenic-in-victorian-life/
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
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  21. reading48

    reading48 Captain

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    Another good informative Post..Annie....
     
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