View Full Version : Dirty Letters

10-15-2008, 06:00 PM
I hope this is in the right place, mods move it if it's not. Does anyone have dirty letters or any letters by women written during the war? I need them for a project for school. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!


Hank Trent
10-15-2008, 07:30 PM
That's a pretty wide span--dirty letters or letters written by women. There are lots of letters written by women, so without knowing how you want it narrowed down, I won't touch that. But dirty letters...

The Samuel Odell letters used to be in the "links" section here, but I can't get the search engine for that section to work and couldn't find them with a quick look. Anyone remember where they are? They'd be pretty good for that.

Also, The Story the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell: Sex in the Civil War by Thomas P . Lowry has some examples of dirty letters.

Hank Trent

10-16-2008, 04:32 PM
I guess that is way more broad than I intended. Let's keep it at dirty stuff for now. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll look into it.


10-16-2008, 04:39 PM
I guess that is way more broad than I intended. Let's keep it at dirty stuff for now. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll look into it.


ha-ha, That a way Aaron! When all else fails.. keep it dirty! But really, I would send Justin Runyon a message as well since he has some knowledge on what I believe you're looking for.

Emmanuel Dabney
10-16-2008, 04:51 PM
And there is the classic "The Story the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell." There may have been some letters by women to soldiers about their hopes for sexual fulfillment.

Some other places you may check not related to wartime so much but 19th century America:

Stansell, Christine. City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860 (urbana, Ill., 1982)

Hodes, Martha. White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth Century South (New Haven, CT, 1997)

Lystra, Karen. Searching the Heart: Women, Men, and Romantic Love in Nineteenth Century America (New York, 1989)

Jeremy Bevard
10-16-2008, 05:08 PM
This should be the link to the letters Hank was talking about. There is some good and funny "dirty stuff" in these.


10-16-2008, 05:22 PM
At the relic show in Gettysburg this past July, Elizabeth Topping author of What's a Poor Girl to Do?: Prostitution in Mid-Nineteenth Century America had a whole binder full of solider letters loaded with racy and un-pc content. The letters where quite pricey but wild to read. Subject matter included everything from fornicating with prostitutes and slave women to one letter from a solider who lost his condom in the woods during one of his adventures. If you are really interested in the subject you may try and reach out to her.


10-16-2008, 08:06 PM
I think it was Paul Boccadoro who received a copy of an original "dirty" letter at the Glendale/Malvern Hill event back in April. It was a letter written from a man out west if I recall correctly. You may want to PM him and see if he still has a copy of it.

Very Respectfully,

Brian Holt

10-16-2008, 11:19 PM
Here's one that has some mention of things dirty. I ran across it doing research for the garrison event I'm putting on. I have highlighted the "dirty" section for ease of reading.

Dec. 1st, 1862
Camp Near Davis Mills, Miss
Dear Brother
I received your welcome letter yesterday. We had just moved out to our new Camp 10 miles from LaGrange. The Grand Army has moved on into Mississippi. We are taken out of our old brigade and division and we are now guarding the railroad from LaGrange to Holly Springs and I suppose we shall make our winter quarters in this place. It will be the first time the old regiment had a chance to go into a rest ?irth as good prospects as we now have of stopping.
Gen. Veatch had us kept out of the brigade and we suppose he is going to keep us with him. I suppose he will take command of this district from Jackson to Holly Springs, when he comes back from sick furlough. We have all his things in our charge. It will be better then marching through the swamps of Miss in the rainy season. I think the war will soon come to an end. Now the old 25th is to have a resting spell. But we will have to keep one eye open all the time now for the damned guerillas may take some of our ?tofe knots off some fruj? Night or morning. The right wing of the regt is at this place and the left wing is seventy miles further up the road. They say the army have had a brush the other side of Holly Springs but I do not know how true it is. Well I am glad to hear you are all well. I am in the best of health and spirits, I hope you had a good nights sleep the night you wrote this letter to me for you said you was damned sleepy. I am glad you liked that South Letter. It will show you that the girls down here in Dixie understand what’s what as well as anybody else. Well the poor things, if I came across any of them that are hard up (and I often have a hard up) I will try and accommodate them. Not as you know like it so well. But just for charity sake. For I couldn’t stand to see any poor girl suffer. I am glad you are going to try and think of me again at Christmas with a little more of that “pain killer” I shall try and forage (we don’t take any thing here) a turkey and some milk and I will drink your and the family health in some homemade egg nog. These mills that we are stopping at used to be a great place for grinding from the south army and we have more corn meal than we know what to do with. I expect they will feed some of it to the teams. There is more than 800 bushels ground in the mills. The old chap that owned them has gone with them. He was the hardest old south tar this country. I do not think I shall get paid off till the 1st of January now. I suppose the paymaster is waiting to make it six months. Well it will be a pile when it does come. I have nothing more to write at present. Give my respects to Billy Saberton, Joe and Terry and all enquiring friends. Direct your letters to LaGrange as usual and I will get them. Good bye and
I remain your
Affection Brother
Joseph Saberton
(my respects) Geo C. Pope

10-17-2008, 10:07 AM
Sent you a PM!
Elizabeth Topping

10-18-2008, 11:16 AM
This does bring up an interesting question for the 19th Century...are there many letters where women are the sexual "agressors"???? I have seen a few later 19th century and early 20th century VERY personal letters once (between to females who apprantly had a more than sisterly relationship after one of their husbands died) and was quite shocked! I be interested in learning more about Civil War era "assertive" women!

So what do we know??

Chris Fischer
Fort McKavett