Eugenia Levy Phillips

Eugenia Levy Phillips (1819-1902) from A Belle of the Fifties. New York. Doubleday, Page & Company, 1904. General Collections, Library of Congress

Eugenia Levy Phillips (1819-1902) was a native of South Carolina and wife of Philip Phillips, who served one term as a Democrat from South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives (1853-1855) before settling in Washington, D.C., to practice law. A fiery and outspoken Confederate sympathizer, Eugenia Phillips often found herself at odds with Union officials. In her journal, Phillips described the indignities of confinement with her two daughters and sister Martha after her initial house arrest by Federal officers on August 23, 1861, and further detention in the home of Rose Greenhow in Washington, D.C. ┬áReleased after a three-week imprisonment, Phillips relocated to New Orleans, where she was accused of mocking the funeral of a Union soldier, thereby running afoul of the notorious General Benjamin "Beast" Butler, who issued a special order to imprison her on Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi. Philip Phillips, able to secure his wife’s release after a number of months, moved the family out of Union-held territory and into Georgia for the duration of the war.

  • "Suffering in a noble cause"August 28, 1861Eugenia Levy Phillips (1819 - 1902). Prison diary, August 28, 1861. Philip Phillips Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
  • "What is my crime?"August 30, 1861Eugenia Levy Phillips (1819 - 1902). Prison diary, August 30, 1861. Philip Phillips Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress