Saturday, November 19, 2011

“The Cyprians in Trouble;” concern expressed for the plight of Nashville prostitutes

On Thursday evening lower College street was thrown into a state of
unusual excitement in consequence of an official notification received
by some of the Cyprians to vacate their premises. The order required
Captain H. C. Hodges, A. Q. M., to take possession of the houses
occupied by Mary Combs, Mary Stratton, Lou Hulse, Maggie Seats, Jennie
Rogers and two or three others, and directed the said occupants to
vacate their several buildings before 12 M. on Monday, the 8th of
June, 1863, and hand over the keys to Captain H. C. Hodges.

On Friday morning [5th], nearly all the hacks in town were brought in
requisition, and Post Headquarters, the Capitol, and other places,
were besieged, with the hope of having the order countermanded. At
length it was whispered around that the house could be retained if the
proprietors would dismiss all their girls, and not allow soldiers to
visit the places. This made matters worse for when all expected to be
turned out of doors, there was a consolation in all going together;
but for each girl to look out for a home for herself, to be cast among
strangers, perhaps be compelled to wander all night in the streets,
was more than they could bear, and the wailings and lamentations of
the unfortunate creatures were pitiable in the extreme. Like other
human beings [sic], these poor [sic] girls have their loves and ties
of kindred, of home, and of friends; many of them are as helpless as
children, and totally unfit to take care of themselves; and there are
none to give them a helping hand to reform, none to give them a
helping hand to reform, none to give then shelter in time of need,
none to say "daughter, you are forgiven; sin no more."

These facts were represented to the proper authorities during
yesterday, and we learn that the order has been suspended for the
present, but requiring all of them to hold themselves in readiness to
vacate when called upon, and holding the proprietors responsible for
any disorderly conduct in their homes, until further orders.
While upon this subject, we may as well allude to the indelicate
practice of soldiers riding in open carriages with these girls through
the street in broad day; and would suggest that the Provost Marshal
make an endeavor to put a stop to it. The girls are not to blame. The
neither pay for the carriages nor induce men to ride in them. The
fault lies with the men, and to them alone the military and civil
authorities ought to direct their attention in suppressing this

Nashville Dispatch, June 6, 1863.

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