Brass Napoleon Award Hoop Skirts: A Smuggler's Dream

18thVirginia

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We've had some threads on Hoop Skirts and some on female smugglers in the Civil War, but none that combined both. When reading about a great-grandmother who allegedly helped bushwhackers by smuggling guns in her petticoats, I kept thinking "What?" "How?"

Other accounts talk about Confederate women who secreted the family silver under their skirts when the Yankee soldiers came by or when they were fleeing an area. When I'd read about this, I'd think, "Didn't they clank when they walked?" However, one of the effects of hoop skirts was that women were distanced from others because the skirt itself and it's metal underpinnings made it difficult for others to get too close.

So it seemed interesting to look again at hoop skirts and think about how much your average woman could have attached to those steel hoops and how much smuggling of guns, silver, medicines, etc., you think could have been accomplished.

steel-cage-crinoline-circa-1858.jpg


Steel Cage Crinoline circa 1858
https://cogpunksteamscribe.wordpres...nists-perspective-of-the-victorian-crinoline/
 
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18thVirginia

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CI53.72.15_S.jpg

http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/104434


il_570xN.236834633.jpg


A recreation of a front lacing crinoline from 1860s - the length comes to mid-calf.https://www.etsy.com/listing/72359288/cage-crinoline

In 1864, Elizabeth White, Annie Hempstone, and Kate and Betsie Ball crossed the Potomac from Virginia into Maryland and smuggled supplies that included boots and clothes back to soldiers in Virginia. They were arrested and spent 3 weeks in the old Capital Prison in Washington, D. C.

Must have been mighty uncomfortable attaching boots to this kind of crinoline.
 
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18thVirginia

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Karen Abbott says that one woman "managed to conceal inside her hoop skirt a roll of army cloth, several pairs of cavalry boots, a roll of crimson flannel, packages of gilt braid and sewing silk, cans of preserved meats, and a bag of coffee—quite a tally of contraband." http://militaryhistorynow.com/2015/...tten-contributions-of-women-in-the-civil-war/

So I'm trying to imagine loading that all onto one of these--must have taken "getting ready to go calling" to a whole new level.

cage.jpg


http://www.metmuseum.org/collection...&pg=1&ft=underwear&when=A.D.+1800-1900&pos=48
 
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MRB1863

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#6
Karen Abbott says that one woman "managed to conceal inside her hoop skirt a roll of army cloth, several pairs of cavalry boots, a roll of crimson flannel, packages of gilt braid and sewing silk, cans of preserved meats, and a bag of coffee
Sounds like the Swiss Army Knife meets the "Swiss Army Hoop Skirt".
 

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Miss Buckner discovered:

Capt. BROWN at once commenced examining the contents of the two wagons. The search resulted in finding sixty bottles of quinine, containing one ounce each, and a tin “cinnamon” caddy...filled with the same precious drug, and a small quantity of whisky. Thus rewarded, Capt. BROWN felt warranted to proceed a little further and search Mrs. TURNER & CO. But who was to discharge this delicate but important duty?...An officer present finally remembered that there was a strong Union woman in one of the regiments, and it was agreed that her services should be secured, and that Madame GILSA should be a witness to the proceedings, so as to prevent the possibility of the woman being tampered with. Miss BUCKNER was the first subject taken in hand....The young lady retired to a chamber to be searched, with a smile and willingness of manner that made all feel as if she was not the leading spirit in the enterprise in which she was engaged. She gracefully swept her enormously-extended skirts through the door, and disappeared. A few minutes had only elapsed when the door was reopened, and a large bundle was thrown out upon the floor. No one seemed to know at first what it was...the boldest of the officers present seized it, and between a nice linen covering was found sewed up in bags made of oiled silk, about five pounds of quinine. Whew! what a skirt-extender for a young lady!...BAILEY, the beardless youth with them, is one of the long white- haired gentry, who apparently knows just enough to obey the orders of his superiors who are with him...The quinine found cost in Washington $3 50 per ounce....BAILEY says he took Confederate money in Washington and there turned it into green-backs by paying 50 cents on the dollar—so that he estimates his quinine cost him $5 25 per ounce. He purchased 120 ounces, costing him $630. Quinine in Secessia is eagerly bought up at $70 per ounce, and had he succeeded in getting through our lines with it, he would have realized $8,400, or a net profit (not deducting expenses) of $7,700. That is a rather strong inducement to speculate. I mention the fact, because he alleges that he is not connected with the rebel army, but is simply a speculator upon the necessities of his neighbors. His story is not believed here.

Source: New York Times, November 2, 1862.

http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415896009/data/Document13-3.pdf
 
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#12
Miss Buckner discovered:

Capt. BROWN at once commenced examining the contents of the two wagons. The search resulted in finding sixty bottles of quinine, containing one ounce each, and a tin “cinnamon” caddy...filled with the same precious drug, and a small quantity of whisky. Thus rewarded, Capt. BROWN felt warranted to proceed a little further and search Mrs. TURNER & CO. But who was to discharge this delicate but important duty?...An officer present finally remembered that there was a strong Union woman in one of the regiments, and it was agreed that her services should be secured, and that Madame GILSA should be a witness to the proceedings, so as to prevent the possibility of the woman being tampered with. Miss BUCKNER was the first subject taken in hand....The young lady retired to a chamber to be searched, with a smile and willingness of manner that made all feel as if she was not the leading spirit in the enterprise in which she was engaged. She gracefully swept her enormously-extended skirts through the door, and disappeared. A few minutes had only elapsed when the door was reopened, and a large bundle was thrown out upon the floor. No one seemed to know at first what it was...the boldest of the officers present seized it, and between a nice linen covering was found sewed up in bags made of oiled silk, about five pounds of quinine. Whew! what a skirt-extender for a young lady!...BAILEY, the beardless youth with them, is one of the long white- haired gentry, who apparently knows just enough to obey the orders of his superiors who are with him...The quinine found cost in Washington $3 50 per ounce....BAILEY says he took Confederate money in Washington and there turned it into green-backs by paying 50 cents on the dollar—so that he estimates his quinine cost him $5 25 per ounce. He purchased 120 ounces, costing him $630. Quinine in Secessia is eagerly bought up at $70 per ounce, and had he succeeded in getting through our lines with it, he would have realized $8,400, or a net profit (not deducting expenses) of $7,700. That is a rather strong inducement to speculate. I mention the fact, because he alleges that he is not connected with the rebel army, but is simply a speculator upon the necessities of his neighbors. His story is not believed here.

Source: New York Times, November 2, 1862.

http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415896009/data/Document13-3.pdf
8k in 1860 in the South was enough to set someone up for life - enough to buy a modest farm, house, and everything that goes with, plus a couple of slaves.
 

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#17
Crinoline and hoop skirt are the same thing?
Apparently so, but I notice that ads of the day often called them "hoop skirts" while the museum curators refer to "crinolines." And in their patent applications, the manufacturers had other names. Here's an ad from Osborn and Vincent, who featured an "imperial skirt" and a "Champion belle."


crinoline9-2.JPG


A list of the manufacturers they claimed used their patent:

Douglas & Sherwood, W.S. & C.H. Thomson, J. Wilcox & Co., Wallace & Sons, Arms Brothers, J.P. Moran & Co., C. L. Harding, S. H. Doughty, Chas. A. Postley, R. France, Theodore Schmidt, Ernest L. Schmidt, H. S. Hewson, Chas. P. Colt, John Holmes, J. & W. Beck, H. G. McKenna, Frost & Co., G. M. Jacobs & Co., Jos. B. Wesley, Moritz Cohen, Emanuel Mandel, Stein & Stern, David Henius, Fisher & Herman, Union Skirt Company.

http://www.victoriana.com/Victorian-Fashion/crinoline.htm
 

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Emeline Pigot of North Carolina was arrested late in the War and found with clothes, combs and boots attached to her petticoats. Although the fashion had gradually changed, with skirts moving to the back and with hoops becoming more elliptical like the one below, it's quite likely that Miss Pigot was no longer adhering to the very latest fashion in women's clothes and had to make do with an earlier version.

1865-8_hoop_skirts-horsehair.jpg


metmuseum.org
 

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