A Sampler of Civil War Literature
»Women as Principal Characters

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Pardon of Mrs. Hutchins
Harper's Weekly, January 7, 1865
 
It would be a great satisfaction to know why the President has pardoned Mrs. Hutchins, a woman of Baltimore, who gave a sword to Harry Gilmore, the leader of the raiders into Maryland last summer, and by reputation one of the most active and malignant of rebel emissaries and abettors. Upon trial and conviction she was sentenced a few weeks since to five years’ imprisonment, and now she is turned loose again, nor is there any intimation that she is to be sent beyond the lines.

A woman like this Mrs. Hutchins may, and constantly does, give the information that Mosby and every guerrilla marauder most desires, and which is of the utmost service to Davis and Lee at Richmond. From the beginning of the war, from Mrs. Greenhow down to Mrs. Hutchins, women have been, because of their sex, the most useful agents of the traitors, and they have very seldom been punished, although in a few instances they have been sent to the rebels.

How many a precious, noble, loyal life have such women virtually taken! To how many massacres have they not directly shown the way! Of what infinite sorrow to private hearts, and of injury to the public welfare, have they not been the occasion!

Of course in the absence of all other knowledge than the public announcements of Mrs. Hutchins’s crime, trial, sentence, imprisonment, for five years, and release at the end of five weeks, we have no right and no disposition to do more than suggest that in such cases it is very easy, and would greatly conduce to public satisfaction, if the Government would state briefly the reasons of the respite. It would cost no more time or trouble than the announcement that a Colonel is promoted to be General for heroic conduct in a battle, and it would certainly greatly relieve the minds and hearts of those whose sons and brothers may have been killed in resisting Harry Gilmore’s raid, to know why his accomplice is set free. The fact of the release gratifies Mrs. Hutchins’s friends. To know the reason would satisfy the friends of her victims.

Harper's Weekly, January 7, 1865

 

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