Outrageous Women of Civil War Times

Copyright 2003

Louisa May Alcott, Bestselling Author and Union Nurse

A sign above the front door of Orchard House, the Alcott family home in Concord, Massachusetts, read: "True genius is infinite patience.” Yet Louisa May Alcott, the greatest genius of the bunch, didn’t have a patient bone in her body. In fact, everything in Louisa’s passionate nature cried out, "Go for it!”

Sojourner Truth, Preacher and Equal Rights Advocate

In 1864, two of the most beloved people in the United States met in the White House – President Abraham Lincoln and Sojourner Truth. After being shown into his office, Sojourner thanked the president for freeing the slaves. Then she mentioned she’d never heard of him before he became president. In response, Abe Lincoln smiled and said, “Ah, but I had heard of you many times before that.”

Belle Boyd, Confederate Spy of Virginia

On Independence Day in 1861, Union soldiers paraded down main street of in Martinsburg, Virginia (later West Virginia). Fireworks exploded. The crowd sang Yankee Doodle Dandy. The Union soldiers marched past the home of seventeen-year-old Belle Boyd – and got a big, eye-popping surprise. Draped over the family’s roof was a big Confederate flag.
Belle, who put the flag there, might as well have waved a beet-red flag before an angry bull. A mob of boys in blue, mad as hornets, bashed in her family’s front door. “Take down that flag immediately or we’ll set fire to the house.” they roared. Then a red-faced soldier swore violently and lunged toward Belle’s mother, and Belle drew her pistol…

Mary Todd Lincoln. First Lady

Mary, the new First Lady, took stock of her new home - The White House – and found was a big mess. The furniture was threadbare and the carpet was moldy carpet. Because there was no central heating, the rooms were freezing, too. An outraged Mary informed Congress this wouldn’t do; then she demanded and got funds for new wallpaper, carpets, curtains, dishes, carpet, and furniture. Mary had a blast remodeling, and worked wonders, but she also spent way more than Congress had told her she could. Because funds were urgently needed to wage war, this earned her some major enemies.