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#945 03/27/00 07:25 AM
Joined: Mar 2000
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stranger
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Can anybody help with words or phrases originating from or given particular meanings during the American Civil War?

A few examples I know of are 'hookers' (from 'Hooker's girls', the women who visited F J Hookers's quarters in Washington), burnsides/sideburns (A E Burnsides whiskers), 'Tell it to the marines' and 'War is hell' (both Sherman).

Is 'skedaddle' a civil war word? It seems to have popped up about then and was certainly used a lot during the war.

There must be lots more... 'Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!'


#946 04/03/00 05:32 PM
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I've read some excellent CW histories which touch on phrases of the time (I suppose someone has collected these).

As to 'hooker' being an example, I'm afraid that story may be apocryphal. While Fighting Joe may have not been a man of upstanding moral character, the word hooker was used to mean prostitute at least fifteen years prior to the start of the Civil War, according to sources of the day -- he should be given credit for popularizing it though. ; )


#947 04/04/00 06:19 AM
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Yes, I see that usage of 'hooker' was mentioned in a 1956 book called 'Tarheel Talk' and dated in that at 1845. I originally picked up the connection with Fighting Joe from a reference in Gore Vidal's 'Lincoln' and he refers to the use in Washington at that time of 'Hooker's girls'referring to his stream of visitors. I understand that the late Civil War historian, Bruce Catton held Mr FJ responsible for popularising the term and recorded that the Washington red-light district became known as Hooker's Division. Obviously Fighting Joe was a man of prodigious talents.

I stand, gratefully, corrected.



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