Ashamedly, I shall go by the name of Scarlet, for I was born into a life of gentility and would loathe to disclose my Christian name. If it eases your conscious to disregard my feelings, I shall duly understand, because before finding myself in such dire circumstances, I too would've judged harshly a 'soiled dove'. A sequence of misfortunes befell me: the onset of the Civil War, death of my beloved husband, and loss of home. With no kin for aid, I turned in desperation to an advertisement of easy money, whereby I'd pose in my undergarments for photographs popularly circulated amongst the soldiers.
A local madam enticed me with an even more lucrative proposition, promising me her brothel, or men's club was frequented by only the most reputable gentlemen. It was not only my stomach aching with hunger and winter's freezing nights looming that led me further down that slippery slope of damnation, but also my utter sense of grief and despair.
My very livelihood was dependent upon the selling of my flesh, and I said and did whatever was necessary to survive. I cannot fully describe the numbness I felt, nor the horror of those debauched hours.
In truth, the term 'gentlemen' could not be applied to our patrons, and my downfall, both figuratively and literally came when one of them found sport in sending me down a flight of stairs. I survived the broken bones, but the scar inflicted upon my face dramatically lowered my saleability and I became a camp follower of the Union troops.
I ended up in Nashville's notorious Smokey Row, a Sodom where hookers skyrocketed with the war from two hundred to fifteen hundred. Syphilis and gonorrhea ran rampant and some believed it was our intent to spread the diseases to the enemy troops, but I can say with painful truth, no woman knowingly takes on this plague.