New Orleans, Louisiana, July 1, 1862: Our current Civil War took a turn for the worse, Monday, for Eugenia Levy Phillips, 42, tart tongued Southern Belle socialite and wife of former Washington DC attorney and former Alabama legislator, Phillip Phillips, as she was hauled away to prison “until the War is over,” confined to the desolate sandbar off the Mississippi coast called Ship Island.
Her crime? She laughed at a funeral procession of a Union officer that was passing in front of her home here in New Orleans over the weekend.
She was banished to the sandy treeless island 11 miles off the Mississippi coast by the commanding officer of the Union occupying forces here, Major General Benjamin F. Butler. General Butler has been in absolute, total control of New Orleans and its 170,000 citizens since April when the city surrendered to the Union forces.