Civil War Talk Throwback Thursday, 8 - 15 - 2019

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James N.

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Image (3).jpg


This week's Throwback Thursday pays one last visit to my old reenacting friend Iris Welch, here above AKA Private Stumpy. As previously noted, Iris had pestered me to include her in one of our infantry drills, which I had naively hoped would "cure" her of her desire to be a soldier; unfortunately, I think it only whetted her appetite! At our next outing in April, 1988 she came along onto the battlefield at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana - not exactly a bastion of hardcore reenactors - so I hoped I wouldn't draw too much flack as Captain of the company for allowing her to join in. Although her husband Tony was said to have remarked "She's got 'em strapped down," Iris still made a less-than-convincing soldier, drawing another comment from a spectator, "I didn't know there were female soldiers," or something like that. Below for @JPChurch is another likely more pleasing version of Iris, attempting, despite the satin ball gown and the makeup she insisted on wearing, to impersonate a proper Nineteenth Century Lady at Dallas' Old City Park.

Image (2).jpg


Anyone else having (preferably) old Civil War-related photos, mementoes, or memorabilia from reenactments, vacations, or other travel they would like to share is welcome and encouraged to do so in this weekly thread!
 
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James N.

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Nice photos. That is a lovely dress she has on.
Lovely, yes; however I suspect that any of the reenactor ladies here in the forums that see it wouldn't think it was very authentic.
 
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caralyn

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View attachment 320950

This week's Throwback Thursday pays one last visit to my old reenacting friend Iris Welch, here above AKA Private Stumpy. As previously noted, Iris had pestered me to include her in one of our infantry drills, which I had naively hoped would "cure" her of her desire to be a soldier; unfortunately, I think it only whetted her appetite! At our next outing in April, 1988 she came along onto the battlefield at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana - not exactly a bastion of hardcore reenactors - so I hoped I wouldn't draw too much flack as Captain of the company for allowing her to join in. Although her husband Tony was said to have remarked "She's got 'em strapped down," Iris still made a less-than-convincing soldier, drawing another comment from a spectator, "I didn't know there were female soldiers," or something like that. Below for @JPChurch is another likely more pleasing version of Iris, attempting, despite the satin ball gown and the makeup she insisted on wearing, to impersonate a proper Nineteenth Century Lady at Dallas' Old City Park.

View attachment 320949

Anyone else having (preferably) old Civil War-related photos, mementoes, or memorabilia from reenactments, vacations, or other travel they would like to share is welcome and encouraged to do so in this weekly thread!
 

caralyn

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This is such a coincidence I just published my book which I started right about the time of this picture. It is about the over 400 women who dressed as men to serve as soldiers in the War. The story of these courageous women needs to be heard. What they went through defying tradition makes them true warriors. Along with being historically acurate it is also a coming of age story-think Mulan, while the heroine comes to terms with who she is and what she must do to carry off her charade. www.thegrandillusion.net. Thank you for all helping me verify my facts over the years.

View attachment 320977
 

JPChurch

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Thanks for one last look at Iris!!!! She would have made for a great saloon girl in Miss Kitty's Long Branch if she had the correct attire on for that time period in Kansas
 

byron ed

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...This is such a coincidence I just published my book which I started right about the time of this picture. It is about the over 400 women who dressed as men to serve as soldiers in the War...Along with being historically acurate it is also a coming of age story
I'm gonna push back there. Women as soldiers in the CW is very much overplayed. There's little verifiable evidence that many, if even a dozen or two, of those "over 400" made it much past days or weeks before being discovered, escorted out or leaving on their own. In any event the "over 400" figure is a derived speculation. Since women did not muster in with their woman names there just isn't a reliable accounting of the phenomenon.

It's also a bit disingenuous to spin camp followers, such as Vivandiers, girlfriends and wives as soldiers, when their primary motivation and role was to be there and assist their men in any way they could, and typically only during long-term and winter camp. (That's not to say there weren't women motivated solely by their own patriotism and duty).

Some women, like boys and black men before 1863, would be taken into a unit as mascots -- i.e. given uniforms, "rank" and camp duties. Some would have guns and know how to use them, in the same way that pioneers generally knew how to handle a gun.

Now how did the exaggeration of the level of their participation as soldiers come about?

CW and post-CW newspapers enhanced individual accounts and reminisces, particularly home town newspapers. The stories are appealing; a mere sprinkle of authentication generally enough to carry them at the time. We attempt today to cite them as evidence or proof, of which they are neither, in a general trend to "empower women and girls." Let's be honest about that (btw I'm all for that. I have a strong Mom, Wife and daughter and wouldn't have it any other way), but this kind of enhancement is not the way to do it. Such accounts should be treated with the same skepticism and alternate source research as any other type of CW claim made in the mode of family reminisces or newspaper articles.

Anyway there are scores of legitimate verifiable accounts of brave and capable women in the Civil War: home front, nurses (many officially enlisted in the army), sanitary commission, contraband teachers, inspiring public speakers, fund raisers, and even some spies. These are more than enough to be proud of without having to stretch mere mentions or newspaper clips into full-blown legions (i.e. "over 400") of women who served any length of time at all as soldiers.

Did some women serve as enlisted soldiers through many campaigns? Yes, and verified. Don't make more of it, imho.
 

caralyn

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I'm gonna push back there. Women as soldiers in the CW is very much overplayed. There's little verifiable evidence that many, if even a dozen or two, of those "over 400" made it much past days or weeks before being discovered, escorted out or leaving on their own. In any event the "over 400" figure is a derived speculation. Since women did not muster in with their woman names there just isn't a reliable accounting of the phenomenon.

It's also a bit disingenuous to spin camp followers, such as Vivandiers, girlfriends and wives as soldiers, when their primary motivation and role was to be there and assist their men in any way they could, and typically only during long-term and winter camp. (That's not to say there weren't women motivated solely by their own patriotism and duty).

Some women, like boys and black men before 1863, would be taken into a unit as mascots -- i.e. given uniforms, "rank" and camp duties. Some would have guns and know how to use them, in the same way that pioneers generally knew how to handle a gun.

Now how did the exaggeration of the level of their participation as soldiers come about?

CW and post-CW newspapers enhanced individual accounts and reminisces, particularly home town newspapers. The stories are appealing; a mere sprinkle of authentication generally enough to carry them at the time. We attempt today to cite them as evidence or proof, of which they are neither, in a general trend to "empower women and girls." Let's be honest about that (btw I'm all for that. I have a strong Mom, Wife and daughter and wouldn't have it any other way), but this kind of enhancement is not the way to do it. Such accounts should be treated with the same skepticism and alternate source research as any other type of CW claim made in the mode of family reminisces or newspaper articles.

Anyway there are scores of legitimate verifiable accounts of brave and capable women in the Civil War: home front, nurses (many officially enlisted in the army), sanitary commission, contraband teachers, inspiring public speakers, fund raisers, and even some spies. These are more than enough to be proud of without having to stretch mere mentions or newspaper clips into full-blown legions (i.e. "over 400") of women who served any length of time at all as soldiers.

Did some women serve as enlisted soldiers through many campaigns? Yes, and verified. Don't make more of it, imho.
I appreciate your thoughtful and kind response. I got this number from The History Channel, but the Smithsonian also says, "hundreds of Women." It seems mathematically reasonable as well, of the 2.75 million soldiers in the Civil War, 400 women is a reasonable estimate. That would be only .0145 or less than 1/10th of a percent.
There are verified cases though, that can be googled such as Sarah Edmonds Seelye, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Lyons, and I use Mary Galloway's who was discovered wounded by Clara Barton in my story, The Grand Illusion, a Girl Soldier in the Civil War, a historical fiction book just published.
Thanks again, I'm happy to join the discussion and carry on my Fathers presence.
 

byron ed

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I appreciate your thoughtful and kind response. I got this number from The History Channel, but the Smithsonian also says, "hundreds of Women." It seems mathematically reasonable as well, of the 2.75 million soldiers in the Civil War, 400 women is a reasonable estimate. That would be only .0145 or less than 1/10th of a percent...
You may have missed the drift of my earlier post. Athough there are estimates of women soldiers in the hundreds, even if verifiable (which most were not) they are accounts of service of no more than weeks at the most. Many just a week or so.

In other words, imho let's focus on the significant and verdant claims of women as soldiers in this special category -- those dozen or two who were in uniform for considerable amounts of time (perhaps til the war ended) without being discovered, those known to have engaged in battle, soldiers on extended campaign.

There are enough of those exceptional, if very rare, women on which to to expound without stacking the deck from an educational standpoint. Young women today need as much encouragement and inspiration as anyone, but not to coddle them. They will eventually figure out they were getting as much cheerleading and empowerment as they were straight-up history.

(Can you tell I've been to a lot of living histories? :wink: )
 
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James N.

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I'm gonna push back there. Women as soldiers in the CW is very much overplayed. There's little verifiable evidence that many, if even a dozen or two, of those "over 400" made it much past days or weeks before being discovered, escorted out or leaving on their own. In any event the "over 400" figure is a derived speculation. Since women did not muster in with their woman names there just isn't a reliable accounting of the phenomenon.

It's also a bit disingenuous to spin camp followers, such as Vivandiers, girlfriends and wives as soldiers, when their primary motivation and role was to be there and assist their men in any way they could, and typically only during long-term and winter camp. (That's not to say there weren't women motivated solely by their own patriotism and duty).

Some women, like boys and black men before 1863, would be taken into a unit as mascots -- i.e. given uniforms, "rank" and camp duties. Some would have guns and know how to use them, in the same way that pioneers generally knew how to handle a gun.

Now how did the exaggeration of the level of their participation as soldiers come about?

CW and post-CW newspapers enhanced individual accounts and reminisces, particularly home town newspapers. The stories are appealing; a mere sprinkle of authentication generally enough to carry them at the time. We attempt today to cite them as evidence or proof, of which they are neither, in a general trend to "empower women and girls." Let's be honest about that (btw I'm all for that. I have a strong Mom, Wife and daughter and wouldn't have it any other way), but this kind of enhancement is not the way to do it. Such accounts should be treated with the same skepticism and alternate source research as any other type of CW claim made in the mode of family reminisces or newspaper articles.

Anyway there are scores of legitimate verifiable accounts of brave and capable women in the Civil War: home front, nurses (many officially enlisted in the army), sanitary commission, contraband teachers, inspiring public speakers, fund raisers, and even some spies. These are more than enough to be proud of without having to stretch mere mentions or newspaper clips into full-blown legions (i.e. "over 400") of women who served any length of time at all as soldiers.

Did some women serve as enlisted soldiers through many campaigns? Yes, and verified. Don't make more of it, imho.
AMEN, and excellently put!
 

James N.

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I appreciate your thoughtful and kind response. I got this number from The History Channel, but the Smithsonian also says, "hundreds of Women." It seems mathematically reasonable as well, of the 2.75 million soldiers in the Civil War, 400 women is a reasonable estimate. That would be only .0145 or less than 1/10th of a percent.
There are verified cases though, that can be googled such as Sarah Edmonds Seelye, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Lyons, and I use Mary Galloway's who was discovered wounded by Clara Barton in my story, The Grand Illusion, a Girl Soldier in the Civil War, a historical fiction book just published.
Thanks again, I'm happy to join the discussion and carry on my Fathers presence.
Always keep in mind that that's also the source for Ice Road Truckers and Ancient Aliens!
 
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James N.

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Thanks for one last look at Iris!!!! She would have made for a great saloon girl in Miss Kitty's Long Branch if she had the correct attire on for that time period in Kansas
Once again, although not a saloon girl, here's another photo I'd overlooked showing Private Stumpy in the crowd of soldiers at Pleasant Hill:

Image (9).jpg
 
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