Monday, July 20, 2009

CDVs of Women with Drums

This unidentifed young woman may well be a vivandier, one of those unoffical women who were accepted by and often accompanied their regiment. These were not women who disguised themselves as male and enlisted, nor were they cheap "women of the town" but were instead women who played a ceremonial role in military parades and frequently also performed the duties as a nurse, sutler or other function. While most remained behind when their regiment left their home state, a few followed the men into the war zone.

Note this woman's full military size drum, the canteen on her hip and her very basic military style uniform adapted to female style and compare to this other picture (below) of a Daughter of the Regiment.

Photo by Smith & Richardson, Birmingham, Connecticut.
Taken c. 1863 (+/- 1 year)
The young woman in this photo from January 1866 appears to be in the costume of a "Daughter of the Regiment." Unlike a vivandier that was affiliated with an actual regiment, this woman is probably an actress playing the lead part in Donizetti's Comic Opera "The Daughter of the Regiment." This stage production was popular in the United States during the Civil War years and immediatley afterwards. The plot is about a young orphan girl raised by the men of a regiment. Later a woman claiming to be her "aunt" takes her away and insists that she marry a rich duke. The heroine expresses her gratitude to the men who had raised her and laments her lover, who had joined the regiment just to be near her. In the end her "aunt" (revealed to be her true mother) relents and the lovers are allowed to be married.

Compare this photo to a picture believed to be a true vivandier (above).

Photo by Mrs. A. Fletcher, Massillon, Ohio
Taken January 26, 1866

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