Monday, November 7, 2022

Booknotes: Lady Rebels of Civil War Missouri

New Arrival:
Lady Rebels of Civil War Missouri by Larry Wood (Arcadia Pub and The Hist Press, 2022).

In recognition of their integral role in the Civil War's so-called "household war" that raged behind the lines (particularly in those rural areas most torn by guerrilla warfare), Missouri's women have come into sharper focus lately. In his excellent 2020 book Women Making War, Thomas Curran documented the cases of hundreds of Missouri women who found or placed themselves in the crosshairs of Union military authorities. Adopting a more popular-style human interest approach to the same topic is Larry Wood's Lady Rebels of Civil War Missouri.

From the description: "In the border state of Missouri, where Southern sympathies ran deep, women sometimes clashed with occupying Union forces because of illegal, covert activities like spying, smuggling, and delivering mail. When caught and arrested, the women were often imprisoned or banished from the state. In at least a couple of cases, they were even sentenced to death."

Discussing personal stories that the author felt extraneous to his 2016 book Bushwhacker Belles: The Sisters, Wives, and Girlfriends of the Missouri Guerrillas, Wood's Lady Rebels of Civil War Missouri introduces readers to another group of Confederate sympathizers who, in a variety of ways, drew the attention of the U.S. military justice system. Their stores are documented in seventeen chapters, each of which tells the tale of "one woman or one group of women who were closely connected be either kinship or circumstance." These chapters are arranged in the order in which "the women first came into conflict with Union authorities."

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