The Sexual State Of The Union During The American Civil War.

Union General Joe Hooker


General “Fighting Joe” Joe Hooker


There was plenty of pornography during the Civil War. As hard as it is to believe that well produced photographs, woodcuts, and daguerreotypes were plentiful during a war that robbed so many of their resources. From time immemorial, people have conjured ways of profiting from the occasional conflation of large numbers of eager lonely troops and place. Twelve by fifteen inch graphic images were sold for $1.20 a dozen to Union troops. These were called “barracks favorites”.


Listening to a podcast about sex in the Civil War sponsored by the Shiloh Museum of the Ozarks, these were remarks about the opposite sex from a Missouri soldier named R. S. Bevier. He writes about the women who live around the border Missouri and northwest Arkansas:


“They are an uncouth race, slovenly and slavish.  Both sexes use tobacco and whiskey with relish. Many an Arkansas woman squirt a clean cut tobacco plug clear across the road.”


Captain Edward Ross of the Kansas Infantry wrote:


“Only the women pick their teeth and smoke and spit.”


By the Civil War, 15% of the women who married were pregnant.


In New York, throughout the Civil War 9000 women went through one hospital just for women with venereal disease.


In New York at this time there were 8000 prostitutes. One man of the cloth lamented that prostitutes outnumbered Methodists in Manhattan.


Prostitutes during the Civil War generally lived impecuniously. Theirs was a life etched in sickness, alcoholism and violence. There were very few successful prostitutes. There were some successful Madams.  War provides Madams and brothels with two ingredients: Desperation and opportunity. General Joe Hooker was assigned to corralling hookers right around the Federal Hill at 15th and D. Hookers were called hookers before Hooker was assigned to helped manage them.  Nonetheless the assignment  cemented the notion that prostitutes were called Hookers. Once a place for whores, today it is the corner of the Justice Department, The IRS and Customs. At least the hookers during the Civil War were regulated.




(Nothing more will be said of this serendipitous and meaningful coincidence.)


The Union Army suffered over 100,000 cases of Gonorrhea and 80,000 cases of Syphilis.


Civil War Porn


Civil War Porn


Source: Very rare Civil War Era hardcore porn recently scanned from daguerrotypes and tinplates purchased from a junk dealer in Virginia



4 thoughts on “The Sexual State Of The Union During The American Civil War.”

  1. Judy Giesberg

    Researching Civil War era pornography– what are the origins of pornographic image? There is no citation.

  2. This is in reference to the photo that appears on their page
    “The Sexual State Of The Union During The American Civil War. by Daniel Russ on October 15, 2012”
    The page says that the source of the photo is the “Shiloh Museum of Natural History”. Please be advised that they are NOT the source of this photo and this attribution to them needs to be removed from this site.
    Please see that they remove this from their site, and I would appreciate an email confirming that this has been done.
    Thanks!! Ernest B. Cate, City Attorney, City of Springdale, Arkansas, and attorney for the Shiloh Museum of Natural History

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