Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler commanded Union troops in occupied New Orleans for seven months during the Civil War, beginning in May 1862. Inhabitants of the fallen city, especially women of society who felt themselves immune to retribution, took every opportunity to insult and ridicule Union officers and soldiers. Exasperated, Butler issued General Order No. 28, popularly known as the “Woman Order.” The decree charged that any woman caught disrespecting one of Butler’s men be treated as a “woman of the town plying her avocation,” implying prostitution. Although the harassment ceased, Butler was denounced by President Jefferson Davis, Confederate generals who read the order to their men, and newspaper editors in the North and the South. Harper’s Weekly printed a cartoon that depicted the situation both before and after Butler’s proclamation. Great Britain’s prime minister, Lord Palmerston, commented in a letter to US Foreign Minister Charles Francis Adams denouncing the order that he could not fully express the “disgust which must be excited in the mind of every honorable man.”

Citation 1: 
by the United States Army, Department of the Gulf; 1862
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Pamela D. Arceneaux, Senior Librarian / Rare Books Curator