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Daring Confederate Women Hid Supplies In Their Hoop Skirts

From: thecivilwarparlor:

Women And The Civil War- Daring Confederate Women Hid Supplies In Their Hoop Skirts

The climate of war that framed the journey of Elizabeth White, Kate and Betsie Ball, and Annie Hempstone into Union territory to obtain supplies was one of increasing desperation for the Confederacy.

In July 1864, four women risked charges of treason to smuggle supplies for Confederate soldiers across the Potomac River. Their story begins on the Maryland-Virginia border in northern Loudoun County, a place of divided loyalties and fierce fighting, and serves to challenge conventional notions regarding nineteenth century women as weak and apolitical.

The three friends had embarked on the daring mission north into Maryland to retrieve supplies for “our dear Maryland boys in grey.” Annie Hempstone later wrote of their adventure as a “little trip across the Potomac,” which belied the true perils of their journey.

Mrs. Elizabeth White was the wife of Col. Elijah White who commanded “Whites Battalian”, CSA.  Miss Bettie Ball and her sister, Miss Kate E. Ball, along with Miss Annie M. Hempstone were young girls from Loudoun County.  All of these ladies had a strong love for the Confederacy and a devout hatred of the U. S. Government.  All had near relatives in the Confederate Army.  Click to continue reading the story…….


Kady C. McKenzie Brownell


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Birth: 1842, South Africa
Death: Jan. 5, 1915 New York,


Kady McKenzie was born in Caffaria, South Africa, the daughter of Duncan and Alice McKenzie. By 1861, she was living in Rhode Island, U.S.A. At the outbreak of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln asked for volunteers, to serve for a term of three months. Therefore, Kady McKenzie enrolled as Daughter of the Regiment in the First Regiment Rhode Island Detached Militia (Infantry), commanded by Colonel (later Major General) A.E. Burnside. Kady was then nineteen years old, stood 5’ 3”, with a dark complexion, dark hair, and blue eyes, and had worked as a weaver before enrolling in the regiment. On April 17, 1861, Robert S. Brownell, Jr., whom Kady would later marry, enrolled as a private in Company H, of the same regiment. The regiment was mustered into national service on May 2, 1861, and on July 21, 1861, the regiment participated in the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia. Kady was wounded that day, as the regiment retreated, when a piece of shot struck her in the upper third section of her right thigh, and she was treated by the regimental surgeon. Kady McKenzie and Robert Brownell, along with the rest of the regiment, were honorably discharged in Providence, Rhode Island, on August 1, 1861.

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Emma Kline - spy

In 1864, 20 year old Vicksburg resident Emma Kline was arrested by the Union occupiers of the city for the crime of smuggling. She was one of a group of women in the city that was engaged in smuggling much needed supplies out of Vicksburg and into "Rebeldom" the area east of the Big Black River still held by the Confederacy. The Union authorities had a photograph made of Kline with two of her captors, both members of the 5th Iowa Infantry. Emma Kline's brother stated years later that the Yankees published a woodcut engraving of the picture in the newspapers as a warning to others that would engage in smuggling.

From Civil War Talk

Kate Warne Pinkerton Detective


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 1856 —Kate Warne Is Hired By Pinkerton And Becomes The First Female Detective In The U.S.  ~Speculation online that the above photo is a picture of Kate with Pinkerton. (There is no evidence to support this claim) or identify the person with their hand on the pole. There are no photographs of Kate Warne. 

Described by Allan Pinkerton as a slender, brown haired woman, there is not much else known about Kate Warne prior to when she walked into the Pinkerton Detective Agency in 1856.  

"was surprised to learn Kate was not looking for clerical work, but was actually answering an advertisement for detectives he had placed in a Chicago newspaper. At the time, such a concept was almost unheard of. Pinkerton said " It is not the custom to employ women detectives!" Kate argued her point of view eloquently - pointing out that women could be "most useful in worming out secrets in many places which would be impossible for a male detective."  ~Allan Pinkerton

The Plot to Kill Lincoln~

She was one of several operatives sent to Baltimore to uncover the plot to kill Lincoln, going undercover as a Southern belle and infiltrating the Barnum Hotel’s social circle, allowing her to confirm a plot wand offer key details. She then coordinated the operatives and devised a scheme to get Lincoln safely to Washington. Allan Pinkerton specifically thanks two people in his memoirs; Kate Warne and Timothy Webster,  Pinkerton constantly showed a deep trust in the work that Warne performed and acknowledges so in his memoirs.

Kate Warne did not survive long after the Civil War. She suddenly caught pneumonia on New Year’s Day, 1868, and died on the 28th with Pinkerton at her bedside. She is buried in the Pinkerton  family Plot in Chicago Illinois’  Graceland Cemetery. She was 38. buried January 30, 1868.

More on Kate Herehttp://www.pimall.com/nais/pivintage/katewarne.html 

http://ralphdthomas.blogspot.com/2010/06/lincolns-guardian-angel-kate-warne.html WIKI:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Warne 

Find a Grave :http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6425 

From the Civil War Parlor.



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Photo of Marie Tepe from Find A Grave site. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6638370


Vivandiere is patterned after European practice, these women , usually soldier's wives or officers' daughters, were unofficially attached to a Regiment in the field to perform various camp and nursing duties. They were also known as daughters of a regiment and were found in both Confederate and Federal units. Typically, they served with regiments of immigrant soldiers and wore a stylized uniform patterned after that of the regiment, particularly Zouave units. Some were armed with swords, rifles, and revolvers, but very few followed their regiments into combat."

Federal vandieres included Susie Baker (33rd USCT), Sarah Beasley (1st Rhode Island), Kady Brownell (1st Rhode Island), Molly Divver (7th New York), Bridget Divers (1st Michigan Cavalry), Anna Etheridge (2nd, 3rd, and 5th Michigan), Hannah Ewbank (7th Wisconsin), Elizabeth Cain Finnan (81st Ohio), Augusta Foster (2nd Maine), Martha Francis(1st Rhode Island), Ella Gibson (49th Ohio), Virginia Hall (72nd Pennsylvania), Lizzie Clawson Jones (6th Massachusetts), Sarah Taylor (1st Tennessee U.S.), Mary Tepe (27thth and 114th Pennsylvania) and Eliz Wilson (5th Wisconsin).

The Southern ranks included Eliza "Lide" Carico (10th Kentucky Partisan Rangers), Lucy Ann Cox (13th Virginia), Lucina Horne (14th South Carolina), Jane Claudia Johnson (1st Maryland C.S.), Leona Neville (5th Louisiana), Mary Ann Perkins (Gardes Lafayette, Mobile, Alabama), Rose Rooney (15th Louisiana), Betsy Sullivan (1st Tennessee C.S.A.), and Lavinia Williams (1st Louisiana).

From: "Webb Garrison's Civil War Dictionary" by Webb Garrison, Sr. and Cheryl Garrison, Cumberland House, Nashville, Tennessee,2008, pages332-333.

 From Civil War Talk

Helen Longstreet - A True Confederate Rosie the Riveter

Confederate General James Longstreet of the Civil War died long before WWII.  However - his wife outlived him by many decades.  She, Helen Dortch Longstreet, at the age of 80 obtained a job at the Bell Aircraft bomber plant in Marietta, GA.  She was a riveter and assembler working on B-29s.   She refused to join the Union saying that there was no place for a Union in wartime.  

She said, "I was at the head of my class in riveting school. In fact I was the only one in it."

She worked at the plant for 2 years and never missed a day.  This feisty lady said that WWII was "the most horrible war of them all.  It makes General Sherman look like a piker."  She was a real character in her own right. 

General James Longstreet 's second wife was Helen Dortch b. 1863 whom he married in 1897.  He had 10 children of whom 5 lived to adulthood by his 1st wife Maria Louisa Garland 1827-1889.  He had no children with Helen. Tragically in 1862 between Jan 20 and Feb 2, 3 of his young ones died of Scarlet fever.  it was a source sorrow for the rest of his days. Longstreet died in 1904 at age 83.

Helen Dortch was born in Carnesville, Georgia, and attended Georgia Baptist Female Seminary (now Brenau College) and the Notre Dame Convent in Maryland. Having met Longstreet through her roommate, she married him on September 8, 1897, when she was just 34 and he was 76. She was widowed in 1904, childless.
Known as "The Fighting Lady." Helen was a champion of womens' rights, preserving the environment,  editor of a newspaper, first female postmistress in GA., and even ran for Governor as she was opposed to some racist positions the Governor was taking.  

Prior to marrying Longstreet, she was the first woman in Georgia to serve as Assistant State Librarian in 1894. She also authored the "Dortch Bill" (which became law in 1896) to allow a woman to hold the office of State Librarian.

Before and after becoming a widow, Helen Dortch Longstreet devoted much time to ensure that General Longstreet was accurately portrayed by history. In 1905, she documented her husband’s account of the Civil War by publishing the book "Lee and Longstreet at High Tide."

She was a VERY remarkable woman.   Regrettably, she died in the mental hospital in Milledgeville, GA, in 1962


 Hugh T. Harrington

author of "Civil War Milledgeville, Tales From the Confederate Capital of Georgia" 


Mary Surratt’s Execution

On July 6 1865, Mary was informed that she would be hanged the following day. She then wept up until her final moments, and was joined by a priest and her daughter Anna. The night prior to her execution, Mary was up all night praying and refused breakfast the next morning. Her family and friends were ordered to leave her at 10am on July 7th. She spent her final hours with her priest.

As Mary walked up the thirteen steps to the gallows, she needed the support of two soldiers. The gallows themselves were on a ten foot high platform. Mary wore a long black dress and veil. In addition to those who were in charge of the execution and officials, one hundred additional spectators with tickets were present to watch the hanging. Mary Surratt’s last words were spoken to a guard as he placed the noose around her neck. She spoke, “please don’t let me fall”.

All four conspirators were dropped approximately 6 feet, but Herald and Powell did not die immediately as Surratt and Atzerodt did. Mary supposedly gagged as she died hanging in the noose. The bodies hanged for 25 minutes before they were examined and pronounced dead. Today, Mary Surratt’s body rests in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington DC. Her headstone simply reads, “Mrs. Surratt”, and the man who may have sealed her fate, John Lloyd, rests in the very same cemetery.


Influence of military uniforms on women's fashion

Date: ca. 1865 Culture: American Medium: silk, metal Dimensions: Length at CB (a): 20 in. (50.8 cm) Length at CB (b): 56 in. (142.2 cm) Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edward N. Goldstein, 1983Accession Number:2009.300.1000a, b

The influence that military uniforms played on women’s dress during the years of the Civil War is evident here. Women reflected their patriotism readily in their mode of dress to help encourage the soldiers on to victory. The bands ending in rosettes on the skirt are reminiscent of swags and decorations at military ceremonies while the shoulder and sleeve decorations are taken from stripes and epaulets on military jackets. 

The female silhouette of the middle of the 19th century consisted of a fitted corseted bodice and wide full skirts. The conical skirts developed between the 1830s, when the high waist of the Empire silhouette was lowered and the skirts became more bell shaped, to the late 1860s, when the fullness of the skirts were pulled to the back and the bustle developed. The flared skirts of the period gradually increased in size throughout and were supported by a number of methods. Originally support came from multiple layers of petticoats which, due to weight and discomfort, were supplanted by underskirts comprised of graduated hoops made from materials such as baleen, cane and metal. The fashions during this time allowed the textiles to stand out because of the vast surface areas of the skirt and a relatively minimal amount of excess trim.

From: The Civil War Parlor

Louisa May Alcott The Author of “Little Women” and the Civil War

About 20,000 women volunteered in military hospitals during the Civil War. Unfortunately, the majority of them left little or no written evidence of their sacrifice in the war.

 Louisa May Alcott, renowned 19th-century author of Little Women, was one of them, and her service is documented in a Washington, D.C., hospital’s muster roll.

As her muster roll indicates, she was stationed at the “Union Hotel U.S.A. General Hospital,” a makeshift military hospital in “Georgetown, D.C.” She served under the superintendent of Union Army nurses, Dorothea Dix, as a “female nurse” for November and December 1862 and received ten dollars pay.

“My greatest pride is in the fact that I lived to know the brave men and women who did so much for the cause, and that I had a very small share in the war which put an end to a great wrong,” Alcott wrote. Photo: Record of the National Archives.

From The Civil War Parlor

Camp followers

By Glynis Board
All kinds of women fit into the category of Camp Followers during the Civil War. Some were equipped with bibles and buttons, others with bullets and bustiers. West Virginia University history professor Connie Rice gives us an idea of who the women of that era were and what they did in western Virginia during the war.

“On both sides of the war you had women who were camp followers.”

Although women didn’t fight on the front lines during the Civil War, West Virginia University Professor Connie Rice says many would travel with troops.

“These women were wives, they were lovers, they could have been women that were from the Sanitary Commission that were there to serve as nurses. And they would follow the men from camp to camp. Some of the wives would dress in men’s uniforms sneakily at first. Some went openly as women.”

She says women supported troops in various ways.

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