However, this is not to say females were not available for sex.Prostitutes were among the camp followers following behind marching troops.During the American Civil War, sexual behavior and attitudes, like many other aspects of life, were affected by the conflict. Photographs of nudity were available as well, and were purchased by both enlisted men and officers.
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In an infamous campaign to rid the city of the "public women", Lt. George Spalding loaded the women on to the steamboat Idahoe.
The women were sent to Louisville, where they were not allowed off the ship and sent further along to Cincinnati. Spaulding created a system of registration similar to European ones.
These were usually pictures of nude women doing innocent things; nude women that were engaging in actual sexual activity were usually not white, but either black or Native American.
With the soldiers being far away from their wives and sweethearts, it is speculated these were used for masturbation, and not just for entertainment.
The number of female soldiers in the War is estimated at between 400 and 750, although an accurate count is impossible because the women had to disguise themselves as men.
A Union officer was once quoted regarding how a Union sergeant was "in violation of all military law" by giving birth to child, and this was not the only case where the true sex of a soldier was discovered due to childbirth.
Popular legend has it that they were so common around the Army of the Potomac when Union general Joseph Hooker was in command that the term "hooker" was coined to describe them; however, the term had been in use since 1845.
The number of prostitutes around Hooker's division only "cemented" the term. Among white Union soldiers there was a total of 73,382 syphilis cases and 109,397 gonorrhea cases.
These small towns were overrun by the sex trade when army troops set up nearby camps.