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General Brannan and his runaway wife

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by NH Civil War Gal, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. NH Civil War Gal

    NH Civil War Gal Sergeant

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    Well, I guess just when you think the Chickamauga Campaign and players can't get any madder, here is something straight from the National Enquirer. But actually this is on page 296 of David Powell's book, "Chickamauga: A Mad Irregular Battle"

    "Just before the war, Brannan lived through an unusual personal tragedy that resolved itself in a rather bizarre twist. In 1850 he married Eliza Crane and the couple had a daughter the next year. On July 20, 1858, his wife "mysteriously disappeared from the residence of her mother." A distraught Brannan spent the next two years searching for her. In the spring of 1860, he finally discovered what happened: she had eloped with a fellow officer, Powell T. Wyman, and the duo fled to Paris and opened a brothel. Eliza married Wyman, despite her already wedded status.

    A newspaper explained the tragic case:

    It appears that General Brannan--and this is the most painful feature of the whole case--regarding his wife with confidence and affection, and supposing her to have committed suicide in a paroxysm of insanity, or to be wandering about in a demented state, exhibited the greatest anxiety and agony at her mysterious disappearance and expended his time and money in raking the lakes and advertising in the highways to ascertain her whereabouts, and if possible, recover her... During all this time, it appears she was coolly speculating in prostitution on the other side of the Atlantic; that knowing of this great anxiety and agony on the part of her kindred and husband, she refused to disclose her whereabouts.

    Brannan was granted a divorce and retained custody of his daughter. Eliza's family sympathized with Brannan and cared for his daughter while he was in the army fighting the Rebels."

    I rooted around on this in Google and found that Wyman received good recommendations for a commission as a volunteer colonel of the 16th Massachusetts and was killed on 6/30/1862. Some later writers (but still late 1800s) said there had been a "cloud" over his name. Others asserted, on Wyman's say so that Brannan had been cruel to his wife.

    But I do wonder how a supposedly sheltered young woman got the idea to flee to Paris and open a brothel AND leave her child!
     

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  3. W. Richardson

    W. Richardson Captain

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    Wow, what some will do for "love"..............Or maybe money.................


    Respectfully,
    William
    Chains-Broken.jpg
     
    NH Civil War Gal likes this.
  4. JAGwinn

    JAGwinn Private

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  5. JAGwinn

    JAGwinn Private

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    Or sickness.
     
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  6. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    OH dear. Great thread, but perhaps not because it's scandalous. Paris would have been a natural destination- Europe was a little littered with Royalty who was still Royal despite parents who were not married, you know? The same er, moral codes were not socially enforced across the pond. Besides- look at what passed for our haute ton, in 1860, " Paris Paris Paris Paris " Mme Demorest's real name was Curtis- she married Demorest and invented " Mme ", made a gazillion bucks creating Paris Fashions in New York City.

    Paris, looking at it another way, was a little nicer to people. Not that she deserved it but divorce was not as frowned on nor were brothels the below-beneath contempt- sunk in sin affairs we considered them here. In Europe? Get this. A woman could be a ' kept woman ', a mistress or prostitute, save her money, retire and have a perfectly respectable life later. Not part of the elite- but not living in the slums, hiding her past, either.

    These two, whoa- he would have escaped the dual, the wussie, she, all her responsibilities, not worry about divorce, she was able to abandon a child- have a glamorous life and this ridiculous man she thought was so wonderful. It's all very iew- but Paris is unsurprising.
     
  7. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    Hang on- we have a Brooklyn paper from April, 1860 on the saga, pretty sticky stuff and a huge scandal!

    wyn1 april 1860.jpg wyn.jpg
     
  8. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    Love the woman's description, being a Bad Woman " sallow faced, leaden, fleshy eyes ". OH my goodness, if she was so awful she's not in Italy then Paris with some Lothario. Still, quite wonderful writing, villains are so Victorian!
     
  9. NH Civil War Gal

    NH Civil War Gal Sergeant

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    Was just thinking this! Don't forget the wart or mole next to her nose!
     
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  10. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose Sergeant Major

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    I just love threads like this one @NH Civil War Gal! Great story!! Thanks for sharing!
     
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