Tuesday, September 04, 2007

CWL ---- A New Meaning for the Term 'Guard Mount': Alexandria and Richmond, Virginia in 1861

"Prostitution in Virginia," first chapter in Sexual Misbehavior in the Civil War: A Conpendium, Thomas P. Lowry, XLibris Corporation, 2006.

If there was no change since the 1860 census, in May 1861 when the Union army seized Alexandria, Virginia, it found seven whores gainfully employed in two houses of prostitution in the city. The next month, women passing from Union-held Alexandria to the Confederate camps were suspected of being prostitutes by Captain Thomas Jordan, on Beauregard's staff and in charge of efforts to smuggle information out of Washington, D.C.

Thomas Radcliffe, captain in the 118th NY was dismissed from the service in late 1862 for behavior in summer of 1861; he had lived with a prostitute whom he had frequently but not consistently passed off as his wife. Hamiltion Hare, a lieutenant of the 31st NY was court-martialed for being drunk on a reconnaissance mission, exposing his penis while in camp, consorting with a prostitute in his tent while he kept the tent flaps open. Consorting consisted of singing obscene songs, quarreling and falling asleep naked.

Three men of the 16th West Virginia, in October 1862, testified against Lieutenant H.D. Davis; his behavior was that of a pimp who was associated with at least two whorehouses, one was located on Railroad Steet and employed six negro wenches. After the testimony, the provost gaurd was sent to pick up Davis. The gaurd found evidence that been to four Alexandrian houses of prostitution that day and finally located him at his 'headquarters' on King Street; he was drunk and asleep in his bunk. Both the 16th West Virginia and the 53rd New York were entirely disbanded before ten months had passed on their three year enlistment.

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