Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
From a collage depicting a soldier's life in Washington, DC, Harper's early in the war gave us this. Dealing with female spies was so common a duty, it ranked a spot in ' daily life '.
For all the stories out there about women being pitched into prison, when their status of female soldier was discovered, it seems to me frequently men in charge simply did not know what to do with female law breakers. Of a certain class. Thread isn't about Rose Greenhow, we have threads on this famous spy. It's her prison for the early part of the war- her home on the corner of K and 16th Streets.
At war's commencement, Washington, DC was still a largely ' Southern ' city. Southerners who remained in the city were now " Secessionists ". It was an uneasy co-existence made more peculiar by women who attracted instant fame. Mrs. Greenhow, a socially prominent member of Washington elite launched her own war, an example emulated by quite a few peers. Since espionage was the over riding factor in their new, war-time existence a problem arose- what does one do with spies? They get shot. Lady spies, and unrepentant, belligerent, terrifying spies? You'd get shot, back.
Shooting was unthinkable- these were ladies. You can imagine men in power scratching worried heads. It's well known Greenhow eventually was confined to the old prison. Before that? Her house, where she was joined by other women who were problematic. Known for a rapier tongue, Greenhow's roommates would probably be of the same ilk. You just know guards flinched at their orders.
Please, no attacks on content- I didn't write it. Pretty normal stuff on both sides, no angels in this continual war of words.
And OH the lamentations, published in newspapers. Prison? Women? Pitched into rat infested attics? The horror! ( There were actually a number of black women at the time, living in unspeakable conditions in a DC prison. Crime was not having papers showing they didn't ' belong ' to someone . In the Northern capitol. ) Accusations were immediate- and nope. Just Rosie's house.
And what was the case, a kind of posh house arrest. I don't mean that in as snark- if you had to be arrested, it was the way to go.