Union Soldiers and the Northern Home Front: Wartime Experiences, Postwar Adjustments

By Paul A. Cimbala; Randall M. Miller | Go to book overview

5
"Listen Ladies One and All":
Union Soldiers Yearn for the
Society of Their "Fair Cousins
of the North"

Patricia L. Richard

TUCKED IN between two advertisements, one for a milk maid and one placed by a nanny seeking employment, was a correspondence request sent by "M. Debray and Monte Cristo," soldiers stationed in Nashville, Tennessee. "Wanted—Two Young Gents, who sport brass coats and blue buttons wish to correspond with a couple of young, handsome and respectable ladies, with a view to fun, love or matrimony."1 The soldiers paid for the Chicago Tribune ad by sending a "greenback" with their request. The payment ensured the advertisement ran from April 27 to April 31, 1863. The unique mode of communication spread among the soldiers, and by the end of May, the newspaper had published more than thirty soldiers' advertisements for correspondence. This phenomenon repeated itself in several northern newspapers and periodicals. Volunteers advertised for correspondents to brighten dull days, exchange ideas, and become prospective mates, but the soldiers' strongest motivation for placing the ads was to establish contact with respectable northern ladies. The wartime environment allowed few opportunities for the "boys in blue" to meet honorable women; they hoped to remedy their situation through correspondence requests.2

1 M. Debray and Monte Cristo, "Wanted Correspondence," Chicago Tribune,
April 27, 1863. It appears that the advertisers inverted the words intentionally for
comic effect. For instance, Sergt. B. Stillwagon and Sergt. Harry Brooks described
themselves as having "long curling eyes and small piercing black hair." Chicago
Tribune
, January 9, 1865.

2 Soldiers were constantly asking family members to send them hometown news

-143-

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Union Soldiers and the Northern Home Front: Wartime Experiences, Postwar Adjustments
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The North''s Civil War Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1- Filling the Ranks 1
  • 1- "We Are All in This War" 3
  • 2- "Volunteer While You May" 30
  • 3- "If They Would Know What I Know It Would Be Pretty Hard to Raise One Company in York" 69
  • 2- Northerners and Their Men in Arms 117
  • 4- "Tell Me What the Sensations Are" 119
  • 5- "Listen Ladies One and All" 143
  • 6- Soldiering on the Home Front 182
  • 7- Saving Jack 219
  • 8- In the Lord''s Army 263
  • 9- Carrying the Home Front to War 293
  • 3- From War to Peace 325
  • 10- "Surely They Remember Me" 327
  • 11- "Honorable Scars" 361
  • 12- The Impact of the Civil War on Nineteenth-Century Marriages 395
  • 13- A Different Civil War 417
  • 14- "I Would Rather Shake Hands with the Blackest Nigger in the Land" 442
  • 15- "For Every Man Who Wore the Blue" 463
  • Afterword 483
  • Contributors 489
  • Index 493
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