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During the year 1863, while troops of the Union army were located in and around Alexandria, it was frequently the case that both officers and soldiers who visited the city would enter huts and houses in which liquor of the worst quality was sold to them. It was discovered in the course of an examination made by chemists that much of this liquor was made from pure spirits and was inflammable to the highest degree. The soldier, upon entering one of these shops, would have offered to him a large drink at a cheap price, and before many minutes he would become stupefied. In several cases deaths from alcoholism and delirium tremens ensued. After becoming very drunk, the officer or soldier would be robbed by the men and women associated with these groggeries, and thrown unconscious into the street at some distance from the scene of the crime. These places became so obnoxious and created so much trouble that it was finally determined by General Slough to destroy them absolutely as the only hope of abatement. The scene of the photograph shows how thoroughly his men performed this task.

The provost-marshal at work destroying houses from which liquor had been sold to soldiers Alexandria, 1863

On guard at the provost-marshal's tent


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