Confederate Heroines 120 Southern Women Convicted by Union Military Justice
During the Civil War, southern women fought a war within a war. While most of their efforts involved legal activities, many women in the Confederacy challenged Federal authority in more direct and dangerous ways. Here are their stories, many in first-person testimonies. 2006, Louisiana State University Press, 212p.
In areas under martial law, where the civil courts were not functioning, Union army military commissions tried civilian offenders. During the war over 5,000 such trials were held, including trials of women hindering the Union war effort. Charges included spying, smuggling, armed robbery, insulting the Stars and Stripes, and infecting Union men with venereal disease. One woman came within five minutes of supplying nearly all the Confederacy's needs of opium and quinine, both vital in treating epidemic diarrhea and the ever-present malaria. One record has a petition signed by Mrs. Robert E. Lee.
Margaret Flanagan of Booklist: Labeling all these women "heroines" is a bit of a stretch; a few were prostitutes convicted of spreading venereal diseases among the Union troops; nevertheless, these brief accounts detailing smuggling, spying, and sabotage provide an alternative to the more familiar representation of passive Southern womanhood. Although lacking in analytical historical perspective, this study will provide Civil War scholars and feminists with plenty of previously uncharted information, and casual readers will enjoy some of the more remarkable exploits.