Friday, July 29, 2011

A Proper Place for Intelligent Women

On July 29, 1861, an anonymous writer in the 5th Wisconsin Infantry applauds the positive impact of women in the army.  He is writing about women who follow their husbands to army camps.

I am unable to see any reason, and know of no facts, opposed to the war camp as a proper place for intelligent women. Order is essential to the service and must be had — just such order as woman desires to see and is best able to establish. Women are better qualified than men to introduce order into some departments of the camp, yet no department of camp life and conduct is necessarily immodest beyond home or domestic duty and conduct. There are swearers and vulgar-behaving persons about all our streets, more such than I have yet seen in the Fifth Regiment, yet women do not avoid the streets!

Of the usefulness of women in the army, their presence is just as essential as at our homes; their kind of work, and most of all their almost boundless influence, are just as fitful, we think more so. The rough, almost tameless man, while in the presence of women, becomes watchful over every word passing his lips; he minds his walk, would not appear filthy, desires more intelligence and more pride when women are about than if all are men; and the same is true of an army of men.

Source: E.B. Quiner Scrapbooks: "Correspondence of the Wisconsin Volunteers, 1861-1865," Volume 1
Officers and their Wives at the camp of the 2nd Wisconsin, as found at

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