Salisbury women take command of homefront

On this day in 1863: Hungry and unable to pay inflated prices, 75 Salisbury women, most of them wives of Confederate soldiers, arm themselves with axes and go in search of hoarded food.

The railroad agent turns them away from the depot, claiming he has no flour. They break into a warehouse, taking 10 barrels, and find seven more at a store. After coming up empty at a government warehouse, they collar a suspected speculator and relieve him of a bag of salt.

The women then return to the depot, storm past the uncooperative agent and claim 10 more barrels of flour.

Soon after, a farmer arrives at the station with a wagonload of tobacco for shipment. When the agent tells him about the rampaging women, according to a contemporary account, the farmer hurriedly drives off, “fearful that they would learn to chew.”


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