Journal of the Civil War Era: Spring 2013 Issue

Journal of the Civil War Era: Spring 2013 Issue

Journal of the Civil War Era: Spring 2013 Issue

Journal of the Civil War Era: Spring 2013 Issue


The Journal of the Civil War Era

Volume 3, Number 1

March 2013


Editor's Note William Blair


Amber D. Moulton

Closing the "Floodgate of Impurity" Moral Reform, Antislavery, and Interracial Marriage in Antebellum


Marc-William Palen

The Civil War's Forgotten Transatlantic Tariff Debate and the Confederacy's Free Trade Diplomacy

Joy M. Giguere

"The Americanized Sphinx" Civil War Commemoration, Jacob Bigelow, and the Sphinx at Mount Auburn Cemetery

Review Essay

Enrico Dal Lago

Lincoln, Cavour, and National Unification: American Republicanism and Italian Liberal Nationalism in Comparative Perspective

Professional Notes

James J. Broomall

The Interpretation Is A-Changin' Memory, Museums, and Public History in Central Virginia

Book Reviews

Books Received

Notes on Contributors

"The Journal of the Civil War Era" takes advantage of the flowering of research on the many issues raised by the sectional crisis, war, Reconstruction, and memory of the conflict, while bringing fresh understanding to the struggles that defined the period, and by extension, the course of American history in the nineteenth century.


Jacqueline G. Campbell

Early in 1863, an English merchant named William Corsan published an account of his sojourn through the Confederate states the previous year. He was particularly interested in Union-occupied territories and the possibility of new trade opportunities where the blockade had been lifted. He entitled his report Two Months in the Confederate States, including a visit to New Orleans under the Domination of General Butler, an interesting choice, as Corsan spent only 19 of 137 pages on his visit to New Orleans. But Butler was a man who had clearly made an impression on the merchant traveler. Corsan gave a vivid physical description of the general’s “cock eye… thin compressed lips, [and] livid complexion,” which he found fully in accord with common opinion that Butler was a “cruel, cunning, unprincipled scoundrel.” in fact, in October 1862, Corsan believed that Union general Benjamin F. Butler was “probably hated more intensely than any living man.”

The controversy over Butler’s administration was in large part due to his interactions with Confederate women who, almost immediately after the fall of New Orleans, had taken every opportunity to insult occupying troops. Butler expressed his increasing exasperation in a letter to an old college classmate: “How long do you suppose our flesh and blood could have stood this?” By mid-May, Butler had an answer in the form of his infamous General Order No. 28, which stated that any woman who displayed public contempt for a Union soldier would be “regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation.”

The outcry that erupted in the Confederacy was immediate and intense where politicians and military leaders used the order as a rallying cry to troops to defend southern women against northern soldiers “to whom is given the right to treat at their pleasure the ladies of the South as common harlots.” the reverberations were also heard in Britain, as Prime Minister Palmerston claimed that the history of civilized nations afforded no example “of so infamous an act as to deliberately hand over . . .

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