Beauty and Booty

Group of 8th New York State Militia in front of tent, Arlington, Virginia, June 1861

Ready for some plunder? (members of 8th NY Militia - Arlington, VA, June 1861 LOC - LC-USZ62-4841)

Ah, June in Northern Virginia, and a young Yankee’s fancy turns to “beauty and booty” – at least that’s what General P.G.T. Beauregard is selling. After having forced the North to surrender Fort Sumter in April, Beauregard has recently (and miraculously?) been put in charge of the Confederate troops at Manassas Junction. On June 18, 1861 The New-York Times reproduced Beauregard’s early June proclamation to the Virginia citizens in his area of command:


The following proclamation was briefly referred to a few days ago:


CAMP PICKENS, June 5, 1861.

To the good people of the Counties of Loudon, Fairfax and Prince William:

A reckless and unprincipled tyrant has invaded your soil ABRAHAM LINCOLN, regardless of all moral, legal and constitutional restraints, has thrown his Abolitionists among you, who are murdering and imprisoning your citizens, confiscating and destroying your property, and committing other acts of violence and outrage too shocking and revolting to humanity to be enumerated. All rules of civilized warfare are abandoned, and they proclaim by their acts, if not on their banners, that their war-cry is “beauty and booty.” All that is dear to man — your honor, and that of your wives and daughters, your fortunes and your lives, are involved in this momentous contest.

Southern women c.1860-1870

Southern Beauty at risk per Beauregard (LOC - LC-DIG-ppmsca-37178)

In the name, therefore of the constituted authorities of the Confederate States — in the sacred cause of constitutional liberty and self-government, for which we are contending — in behalf of civilization and humanity itself. I, G.T. BEAUREGARD, Brigadier-General of the Confederate States, commanding at Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction, do make this my proclamation, and invite and enjoin you, by every consideration dear to the hearts of freemen and patriots, by the name and memory of your revolutionary fathers, and by the purity and sanctity of your domestic firesides, to rally to the standard of your State and country, and by every means in your power, compatible with honorable warfare, to drive back and expel the invaders from your land. I conjure you to be true and loyal to your country, and her legal and constitutional authorities, and especially to be vigilant of the movements and acts of the enemy, so as to enable you to give the earliest authentic information to those head-quarters, or to the officers under my command.

I desire to assure you that the utmost protection in my power will be extended to you all.


Brig.-Gen. Commanding.

Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman and staff with their families at Robert E. Lee's home, Arlington House, Virginia

Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman, occupying The Lees' Arlington House

When I first read this I couldn’t believe that Beauregard would write such blatant propaganda to try and rouse up the people. Of course, southerners had referred to Lincoln as a “Black Republican” for a long time. Moreover, as it turns out, even early in the war there was some truth to what the general was saying. Here’s an example dealing with Arlington House, the residence of Robert Lee and his wife:

Federal forces occupied the Lee’s property just over a month after Fort Sumter and used it as a headquarters for officers supervising some of the forts that were part of the newly constructed defenses of Washington. Many of the George Washington heirlooms saved and collected by G.W.P. Custis were eventually moved to the Patent Office for safekeeping. Some items, however, including a few of the Mount Vernon heirlooms, were looted and scattered by Union soldiers living in the house.


Thomas Jordan

Thomas Jordan: lots of opportunity in the new CSA army

One of the Seneca County, New York newspapers in 1861 also reproduced the proclamation. It gave the date of Beauregard’s announcement as June 1. It also appended the following after the general’s “signature”:

Acting Assistant Adj’t General.

Having graduated from West Point in 1840, Thomas Jordan was a career United States officer, but by 1860:

he secretly began a pro-Southern spy network in Washington, D.C., that was particularly active in the period immediately after secession. In early 1861, Jordan passed control of the espionage network to Rose O’Neal Greenhow, however, he continued to receive and evaluate her reports even when she was imprisoned.

On May 22, 1861, Jordan resigned from the U.S. Army and was commissioned as a captain in the fledgling Confederate army. Promotion came rapidly, and by June 1861, he had become a lieutenant colonel and a staff officer, seeing duty at the First Battle of Manassas as a full colonel and chief of staff under P.G.T. Beauregard. He also was the army’s adjutant general and accompanied President Jefferson Davis on a post-battle tour of the field.

You can read also read about Rose O’Neal Greenhow at Wikipedia.

Rose O'Neal Greenhow

Spying for the CSA - Rose O'Neal Greenhow (loc - LC-DIG-cwpbh-01247)

This entry was posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, First Manassas - Bull Run, Military Matters and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.