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FEMALE CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS & SPIES
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Pauline Cushman was born as Harriet Wood in New Orleans, but when the war broke out she was a loyal unionist, and she sought a way to serve her country. She enlisted in the Secret Service as a spy and the Union used her in the Western Theater. Her first assignment was in St. Louis, Missouri where she was to find Confederate spies and end their operations there. From St. Louis she was sent to Nashville, Tennessee with the same mission. In May of 1863 General Rosencrans was preparing to drive General Bragg across the Tennessee River and Cushman was sent into the Army of the Tennessee (AOT) to gather information on the strength and location of the army. Cushman was captured by General Bragg and sentenced to hang on the spot. But Shelbyville, Tennessee, where she was imprisoned, had to be evacuated. General Bragg's troops left in such a hurry that they forgot about Cushman and left her behind, to be rescued by the Union troops. The news of her capture and rescue spread like wildfire throughout the country, and she was useless to the Union then. Her identity was then known, and her career as a spy was compromised due to that. But her career with the army wasn't compromised. She a had firsthand knowledge of the terrain of Tennesse, Alabama, and Mississippi so she shared this information and it resulted in very good maps for the Union. After her rescue the Union granted her the honorary title of "Major", and she demanded to be called Major Cushman the duration of her life. After the war she returned to her career as an actress, later married, and after her career as an actress saw its waning she became a dressmaker's assistant and charwoman. She died in the far west in 1894.
In March 1863 in Louisville... To create a disturbance, paroled rebel officers offered actress Pauline Cushman $300 if she would drink a toast to Jeff Davis and the Confederacy while on stage. She hid the $300 in her shoe and reported the offer to federal authorities. Colonel Truesdale recruited Cushman as a Yankee spy. He told her to go ahead with the toast - She would be a heroine in the south. Her career in espionage lasted less than a year. She was used as a courier, contacting loyal groups in the south, and collecting information on Confederate plans. In early l864 she was captured by scouts from General Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry. After the war, Cushman's fame mostly ebbed. She tried acting again and married for the second and third times. Her last marriage ended in separation. For an illness, she began taking opium and died of an intentional overdose at sixty. Veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic paid tribute by burying her with military honors in their cemetery in San Francisco. Died: Dec. 2, 1893
BURIED: Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery (Defunct)
San Francisco County
Belle Boyd served the Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley. Born in Martinsburg-now part of West Virginia-she operated her spying operations from her fathers hotel in Front Royal, providing valuable information to Generals Turner Ashby and "Stonewall" Jackson during the spring 1862 campaign in the Valley. The latter general then made her a captain and honorary aide-de-camp on his staff. As such she was able to witness troops reviews. Betrayed by her lover, she was arrested on July 29, 1862, and held for a month in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington. Exchanged a month later, she was in exile with relatives for a time but was again arrested in June 1863 while on a visit to Martinsburg. On December 1, 1863, she was released, suffering from typhoid, and was then sent to Europe to regain her health. The blockade runner she attempted to return on was captured and she fell in love with the prize master, Samuel Hardinge, who later married her in England after being dropped from the navy's rolls for neglect of duty in allowing her to proceed to Canada and then England. Hardinge attempted to reach Richmond, was detained in Union hands, but died soon after his release. While in England Belle Boyd Hardinge had a stage career and published Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison. She died while touring the western United States on Jun. 11, 1900
BURIED: Spring Grove Cemetery
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Boyd, Belle,Belle Boyd, in camp and prison. With an introduction, by a friend of the South, London: Saunders, Otley, and Co., 1865. Belle Boyd (1844-1900) spied for the Confederacy by carrying important letters and papers across enemy lines. At one time, she was imprisoned in a Union prison for her espionage activities. In the passage shown, we find Belle Boyd on the Greyhound, a ship captured by the Union navy while attempting to run the blockade and get to Europe. A Union naval officer, Captain Harding, took command of the ship and brought it to Boston. Belle Boyd, masquerading as a Mrs. Lewis, tells how she helped the Confederate Captain "Henry" of the Greyhound escape from the captured ship. Soon after, U.S. Marshal Keyes boarded the vessel to bring Captain "Henry" ashore but could not find him. When Marshal Keyes informed Belle Boyd of Captain "Henry's" escape, she writes: "What!" said I; "it is impossible! Only a few moments ago he was here!" And I looked very serious, though all the while I was laughing in my sleeve, saying to myself, "Again I have got the better of the Yankees!" Ironically, before the war ended, Belle Boyd married Captain Harding, the Union naval officer who took command of the ship.
Rose O'Neal Greenhow
Rose O'Neal Greenhow was born in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1817. "Wild Rose", as she was called from a young age, was a leader in Washington society, a passionate secessionist, and one of the most renowned spies in the Civil War. Among her accomplishments was the secret message she sent to General Pierre G.T. Beauregard which ultimately caused him to win the battle of Bull Run. She spied so successfully for the Confederacy that Jefferson Davis credited her with winning the battle of Manassas. She was imprisoned for her efforts first in her own home and then in the Old Capital Prison. Despite her confinement, Greenhow continued getting messages to the Confederacy by means of cryptic notes which traveled in unlikely places such as the inside of a woman's bun of hair. After her second prison term, she was exiled to the Confederate states where she was received warmly by President Jefferson Davis. Her next mission was to tour Britain and France as a propagandist for the Confederate cause. Two months after her arrival in London, her memoirs were published and enjoyed a wide sale throughout the British Isles. In Europe, Greenhow found a strong sympathy for the South, especially among the ruling classes. During the course of her travels she hobnobbed with many members of the nobility. In Paris, she was received into the court of Napoleon III and was granted an audience with the Emperor at the Tuileries. Rose's diary (August 5, 1863 - August 10, 1864), held in the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, NC, describes her mission in great detail. In 1864, after a year abroad, she boarded the Condor, a British blockade-runner which was to take her home. Just before reaching her destination, the vessel ran aground at the mouth of the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, North Carolina. In order to avoid the Union gunboat that pursued her ship, Rose fled in rowboat, but never made it to shore. Her little boat capsized and she was dragged down by the weight of the gold she received in royalties for her book. In October 1864, Rose was buried with full military honors in the Oakdale Cemetery
in Wilmington. Her coffin was wrapped in the Confederate flag and carried by Confederate troops. The marker for her grave, a marble cross, bears the epitaph, "Mrs. Rose O'N. Greenhow, a bearer of dispatchs [sic] to the Confederate Government."
Rose's diary (August 5, 1863 - August 10, 1864), held in the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, NC, describes her mission in great detail.
Sarah Emma Edmonds
Sarah Emma Edmonds (December 1841 -September 5, 1898, was a Canadian-born woman who lived to be about 56 and is known for serving with the Union ArmY, in the American Civil War. Edmonds was born in Magaguadavic Settlement, New Brunswick, Canada, but left home after her abusive father attempted to force her to marry a man she did not want. She worked for a time in New Brunswick selling Bibles but still afraid of being found by her father, she fled to the United States in 1856 where she settled in Flint, Michigan.
During the Civil War, she enlisted in the 2nd Michigan Infantry, disguised as a man named "Franklin T. Thompson." She at first served as a male nurse participating in several campaigns, including the First Battle of Bull Run. As Frank Thompson, she also served as a spy occasionally disguising herself as an African American or a woman, or sometimes both. At one point, she disguised herself as an Irish peddler with the name of Bridget O'Shea.
Edmonds' career as Frank Thompson came to an end when she contracted malaria. Unable to go to the military hospital because she would be revealed as a woman, she left the army and checked herself in to a private hospital, intending to return to military life once she had recuperated. Once she was better, however, she saw posters listing Frank Thompson as a deserter. Rather than return to the army as a woman, she decided to serve as a female nurse at a Washington, D.C. hospital for wounded soldiers run by the United States Christian Commission.
After the war she used the pen name S. E. Edmonds to publish Nurse and Spy in the Union Army. It was a huge success, selling in excess of 175,000 copies. In 1867, she married L. H. Seelye, a Canadian carpenter with whom she had three children, one of which was named Fredrich Seelye. In 1886 she received a government pensioN of $12 a month, rewarding her military service. Edmonds died in La Porte, Texas, Sep. 5, 1898 and is buried in Washington Cemetery , in Houston, Texas She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1992.
Kate Warne was America's first female detective and spy. Kate Warne was the first Female Private Investigator. Born in New York (unknown year) and died New Year's day 1868 of pneumonia.
Kate Warne has the honor of being America's first female private investigator. She become a very good one and was able to act as an undercover agent infiltrating social gatherings and gathering information no man was able to obtain. She was able to wear disguises, change her accent at will and became a huge asset to the success of Allen Pinkerton and Pinkerton National Detective Agency.
Kate Warne was so undercover for Pinkerton, no one know is sure of what her actual name was. Note that on her tombstone (she is burred next to Allen Pinkerton himself) her name is spelled Warn without the "e". All known documents from the Pinkerton family history have is spelled Warne. Robert Pinkerton called her Kitty. Our lady of intrigue likely used various spellings of her name such as:
AKA: Kay Warne, Kay Waren, Kay Warren, Kate Warne, Kate Waren, Kate Warren, Kitty Warne, Kitty Waren, Kitty Warren, Kittie Warren, Kittie Warne, Kittie Warren
Apparently Mrs. Warne infiltrated secessionist social gatherings in the Baltimore area as places such as the classy Barnum Hotel posing as a flirting "southern bell" and was quick to not only verify that there was a plot to assassinate Lincoln, she developed details of how the assassination was going to occur.
Kate Warne, America's first female private investigator can be given credit for saving the life of a man who was about to become president of the United States. One of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln.
Today, Kate is thought of as one of only a couple of top agents in the history of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. She ended up becoming the person in charge of all training of an all-female investigative staff for Pinkerton. Died: Jan. 18, 1868
BURIED: Graceland Cemetery
Pigott also was brave enough to gather intelligence for the Confederates. By entertaining Union soldiers she gleaned some information, and while she was distracting the enemy, her brother-in-law Rufus Bell dispensed food from her pantry to hungry Rebel soldiers. Local loyal fishermen also gathered information about Union boats' cargoes and destinations as they sold the Yankees fish. They then reported to Pigott, who carried the valuable information hidden in big pockets under her hoop skirt. With mail and other items combined, Pigott sometimes carried as much as 30 pounds of hidden goods. The 26th North Carolina left for Virginia, and Pigott tended to wounded in New Bern, North Carolina. In 1862 she left on the last train out with wounded before the Yankees occupied the town. She fled to Kinston and then to Concord with wounded before returning home.
With the Northerners occupying the area, Pigott came under suspicion in early 1865. One day, while she and Bell were on their rounds, they were arrested and sent to jail. While officials were looking for someone to search the lady, Pigott ate some incriminating information and shredded some of the mail, but many other items were found beneath her skirt, and she was imprisoned in a New Bern residence. Though she faced the death penalty, she was inexplicably released. She was, however, watched and harassed until the end of the war.
The colorful Miss Pigott loved to recount her Civil War adventures, but to the day she died in 1916 she would never reveal how she came to be released from prison.
Elizabeth Van Lew
Elizabeth Van Lew was born in 1818 to an aristocratic family. She was sent North for an education and when her family freed their slaves, so were many of them. Many of her family's slaves stayed with her and even became part of her spy ring. They became couriers for her, and none were caught by the CSA or gave her away to the authorities. Miss Van Lew was one of the many spies who decided independently to spy for her government. Since she lived in Richmond, Virginia it was practical for her to inform Washington of activities in Richmond. In the beginning she sent her information straight to President Lincoln himself. Eventually she sent her information to General Grant's intelligence officer, General Sharpe. Miss Van Lew used methods of transferring messages that were ahead of most of her contemporaries. For example she wrote her messages in a special ink that could only be read when milk was applied to them. Another example of her ingenuity was tearing her messages into different parts, with different couriers and different routes. Miss Van Lew and her mother, who readily agreed to help her daughter, frequented Libby Prison where they learned of Confederate Plans from new prisoners. They also helped them to escape. She had two rooms in her house tha she used to safehouse escaped Union Prisoners - one that she had blankets covering the windows, and the other with a spring door behind a bookcase. Miss Van Lew, a.k.a. "Crazy Bet" due to her prison visits, financed most of her espionage efforts and by the end of the war she had little money left. When she died in 1900 no one in Richmond attended her funeral because she was still so detested. "If I am entitled to the name of "spy" because I was in the Secret service, I accept it willingly; but it will hereafter have to my mind a high and honorable signification, For my loyalty to my country I have two beautiful names - here I am called "Traitor", farther North a "Spy" - instead of the honored name "Faithful".
Elizabeth Van Lew, who never married, was known as an eccentric who sometimes walked down the streets of Richmond, head bent to one side, holding conversations with herself. Some called her "Crazy Bet." Elizabeth died on Sep. 25, 1900.
BURIED: Shockoe Hill Cemetery
They thought she was dull-witted.
But Mary Elizabeth Bowser, a freed slave who was placed as a servant in the Confederate White House in Richmond, was as cunning as a fox.
While she cleaned the house and waited on Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his military leaders, she read war dispatches and overheard conversations about Confederate troop strategy and movement. She memorized details and passed them along to Union spies, who coded the information and sent it to Gens. Ulysses S. Grant and Benjamin Butler, "greatly enhancing the Union's conduct of the war," according to the account assembled by the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame.
"Jefferson Davis never discovered the leak in his household staff," reads the account, "although he knew the Union somehow kept discovering Confederate plans."
In 1995 Bowser was inducted into the Hall at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. The acknowledgment of her role in the ultimate success of Union forces read, in part:
"Ms. Bowser certainly succeeded in a highly dangerous mission to the great benefit of the Union effort. She was one of the highest-placed and most productive espionage agents of the Civil War."
Exact details about Bowser's life and death are sketchy.
According to several accounts, Bowser was born about 1839 on a plantation owned by John Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond hardware merchant. When he died (some records say he died in 1843, while others put his death at 1851), his wife and his daughter, Elizabeth, freed his slaves.
Nothing is known about where she went or what she did after the war. Her date and place of death are unknown.
Papers believed to have been Bowser's diaries were discarded inadvertently by family members in the 1950s. They said descendants rarely talked about Mary Elizabeth Bowser's work for fear of retaliation from lingering Confederate sympathizers.
Her grave was re-discovered in 2000 in Richmond, Virginia.
MORE~WOMEN IN ESPIONAGE
In the early days of the Revolution many Philadelphia women passed key information along to General Washington at Valley Forge. Lydia Barrington Darragh spied on the British in Philadelphia and informed American officers.
Two Loyalists - a "Miss Jenny" and Ann Bates spied on the Americans for the British.
All up and down the east coast women spied for the cause. Ann Trotter Bailey carried messages across enemy territory in 1774.
Sarah Bradlee Fulton ,sometimes called the "mother of the Boston Tea Party," delivered dispatches through enemy lines.
Emily Geiger rode 50 miles through British and Tory enemy territory to deliver a message to General Sumter.
"355" was a member of the famous Culper Ring, a secret intelligence network based around New York City and Long Island during the American Revolution. Major Benjamin Tallmadge formed this group as a way to supply General Washington with military intelligence on the British forces led by General Henry Clinton that occupied New York City. The British captured her and she was held prisoner on the prison ship "Jersey".
Nancy HART ran away from Roane County and home at the age of 14 or 15 to join a band of rebel raiders known as the Moccasin Rangers, they were pro-southern guerrillas in central West Virginia until 1862. Nancy was an expert rider, a expert pistol and musket marksman and cook better then most women.
Nancy Hart served as a Confederate scout, guide and spy, carrying messages between the Southern Armies. She hung around isolated Federal outposts, acting as a peddlar,to report their strength, population and vulnerability to General Jackson.
Nancy was twenty years old when she was captured by the Yankees and jailed in a dilapidated house with guards constantly patrolling the building. Nancy gained the trust of one of her guards, got his weapon from him, shot him and escaped. After the war Nancy married Joshua Douglas and settled in Virgina.
Nancy passed away in 1902 and was buried on a wild crag of Mannings Knob, near her home, and there she rested with only a pile of stones to mark the place of burial. Years later Jim Comstock, publisher and Civil War buff, who knew the story of Nancy Hart, came to the conclusion that she had at least earned a modest marker at her grave. Upon visiting the area he and Nancy's granddaughter found that the top of Mannings Knob, had been bulldozed flat in order to make a place for a beacon tower. No grave was every located.
Throughout the war, Fairfax, Virginia, resident Antonia Ford impressed soldiers from North and South with her beauty, charm and conversation. Impressed with her ability to recall those conversations, Jeb Stuart awarded her a written commission as "my honorary aide de-camp." Based on information provided by Antonia - on March 9, 1863, Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby and 29 men entered the Union encampment and captured Union General Stoughton, while he slept in the Gunnell House. In addition, Mosby captured 2 captains, 30 privates, and 58 horses. Following Mosby's raid, Union officials searched Antonia's house and found the commission. Union Maj. Joseph C. Willard arrested and escorted "the spy" to the Old Capitol Prison. Along the way, Antonia stole his heart, and 7 months later Willard secured her release and they were married. Antonia died in 1871 and is buried: Oak Hill Cemetery
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia
Though best know for her work in freeing slaves, after the outbreak of the Civil War, Harriet Tubman also served as a soldier, spy, and a nurse, for a time serving at Fortress Monroe, where Jefferson Davis would later be imprisoned. Her experience leading slaves along the Underground Railroad was particularly helpful because she knew the landscape so well. She recruited a group of former slaves to scout the locations of rebel camps and report on the movement of the Confederate troops. In 1863, she actually went with Colonel James Montgomery and several black soldiers on a gunboat raid in South Carolina. Because Harriet Tubman had inside information from her scouts, the Union gunboats were able to surprise the Confederate rebels
BORN: Jan. 29, 1820
DIED: Mar. 10, 1913
BURIED: Fort Hill Cemetery
Eugenia Phillips: A very determined woman, Eugenia spied for the South during the Civil War, while her U.S. Congressman husband sided with the North.
YORK'S REBEL HELPER~CIVIL WAR MYSTERY
One of York County's whodunits now appears to have an ending. Who was that young girl who handed a bouquet of flowers to the Confederate general as his rebel brigade marched through York in June 1863? This story has been told and retold since Gen. John B. Gordon recounted the tale of the anonymous floral gift in his 1904 autobiography. Military historians writing about the famed Confederate general often tell the tale. Now they have a name to attach to the story: 12yo Margaret Small. It wasn't the flowers that made the moment important: The bouquet hid a note showing Union troop defensive positions.
Cuban woman as confederacy soldier in the Civil War
Loreta Janeta Velazquez sounded like a mythical figure:
a Cuban-born woman raised in New Orleans, where she masqueraded as a male soldier and fought in the Civil War. With a fake mustache and a soldier's uniform, the Latina enlisted in the Confederate Army as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford. Velazquez didn't just fight as a soldier in the historic battles of Bull Run and Shiloh, but posed as a spy after she was wounded. Velazquez chronicled her adventures as a soldier in a 600-page memoir called "The Woman in Battle: The Civil War Narrative of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Cuban Woman and Confederate Soldier." It features rare images of her as both a woman and a man.
In Omaha, NE, she talked General W.S. Harney into giving her a revolver, a buffalo robe, and a pair of blankets. Then she traveled to the mining town of Austin, NV, where she married a wealthy man and happily settled down.
Loreta Velazquez died in Austin, NV, in 1897.
LOTTIE & GINNIE MOON~CONFEDERATE SPIES
Born Charlotte and Virginia, the Moon sisters were from Virginia, the daughters of a doctor. In the 1830s, the family moved to Oxford, Ohio, in the southwestern corner of the state.
One of Lottie’s suitors was a young man from nearby Indiana named Ambrose Burnside, and sources say that she jilted him at the altar. She finally settled down with Jim Clark, who soon became a judge.
After Dr. Moon’s death, Mrs. Moon enrolled Ginnie in the Oxford Female College and moved to Memphis. One of the teachers criticized Ginnie for her Confederate leanings. She dropped out of school and went to live with Lottie and Jim, who were also pro-Southern.
When the Civil War began, Lottie was 31 years old, Ginnie only 16. Their two brothers promptly enlisted in the Confederate army.
Southwestern Ohio had a small but vocal group of Confederate sympathizers. Judge Clark became active in the Knights of the Golden Circle, a Confederate spy ring. Its operatives sometimes visited the Clarks when they were carrying secret messages back and forth. On one occasion, a courier arrived with important dispatches for Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith in Kentucky.
Lottie volunteered to carry the messages, her first act as a Confederate spy. She disguised herself as an old woman, and headed for Lexington, Kentucky, by boat. She delivered her dispatches to a Rebel officer, and then threw off her costume. Using her acting talents, she tearfully enlisted the aid of a Union general, who helped her return home by train.
By this time, Ginnie had moved to Memphis with her mother. They wrapped bandages and nursed wounded soldiers, as the Yankees got closer to Memphis. In June of 1862, the Union took over the city. Ginnie soon began her own spying activities, carrying messages and supplies to the Rebels, boldly passing through Union lines on the pretext of meeting a beau.
In 1863,Ginnie and her mother carried messages to the Knights of the Golden Circle, pretending they were only visiting Lottie and Jim. But the Yankees knew that women were being used as Confederate spies. The Moons were preparing to return to Memphis from Cincinnati by boat, but at the last minute an officer entered their cabin with orders to search them.
As Ginnie explained the situation in her memoir: “There was a slit in my skirt and in my petticoat I had a Colt revolver. I put my hand in and took it out., backed to the door and leveled it at him across the washstand. If you make a move to touch me, I’ll kill you, so help me God!” Her tactics did no good, but she pulled the message she carried from her bosom, “dipped it in the water pitcher and in three lumps swallowed it.”
In the provost marshal’s office, Union officers searched Ginnie’s trunks. Inside one of them, they found a very heavy quilt. They ripped it open and found that it was filled with opium, quinine, and morphine, medicines that were badly needed in the Confederate Army.
What happened next is in dispute, but apparently a Federal officer pushed Ginnie’s hoop skirts aside so he could close the door, and noticed that her skirts were also quilted. The officer called for a housekeeper, who searched the spy and found more drugs quilted into her skirts, on her person, and in a large bustle in the back of her dress.
The Moons were taken to a hotel, where they were put under house arrest. Ginnie immediately requested to see her “friend,” Union General Ambrose Burnside, the same Ambrose Burnside who had courted Lottie all those years ago. He was the new commander of the Union Department of the Ohio in Cincinnati, and was busily prosecuting Confederate sympathizers in the area. He issued an order that anyone showing Southern leanings were to be tried for treason and that anyone caught helping the Rebels would receive the death penalty.
The following morning, General Burnside sent word that he would see Ginnie. Holding out both hands, Burnside said, “My child, what have you done this for?” “Done what?” she asked. “Tried to go South without coming to me for a pass. They wouldn’t have dared stop you.”
Since General Burnside was so understanding, the other officers sought to gain Ginnie’s favor. “I was asked down to the parlors every evening to meet some of the staff officers,” she wrote. “The Yankee women in the parlor looked very indignant to see these officers being so polite to a Secesh woman.”
Lottie arrived at Burnside’s headquarters, dressed in disguise, and tried to convince her old beau to release her mother and her sister, but he supposedly said, ”You’ve forgotten me, but I still remember with pleasure the hours I used to spend with you in Oxford.” And he put her under house arrest, too.
For weeks, the women were kept under surveillance. Ginnie had orders to report daily at 10 a.m. to Federal General Hurlburt, hoping this would curtail her spy activities, but apparently it didn’t. After three months, Ginnie was ordered to leave Union territory and stay gone!
There is no record of what she did for the next eight months. Then, in 1864, she surfaced in Danville, Virginia, with her sister-in-law. Ginnie’s brother was ill and had traveled to the south of France to await the end of the war. He asked his wife, children, and Ginnie to join him there. The two women received passes and started for Newport News.
But Union General Ben Butler spoiled their plans. They wouldn’t be allowed to continue their journey, he said, unless they took the Union oath. Ginnie refused, but her sister-in-law felt she had to go to her husband. Later, Ginnie asked her how she could take an oath she despised. The woman said, “I didn’t hear a word that man talked about. I kept saying the multiplication tables as hard as I could.”
General Butler kept Ginnie in custody for a while, but in the end allowed her to return to Confederate territory. The war soon ended, but not for Ginnie. She lived another 61 years, and never accepted defeat for a single moment.
Lottie became a novelist and a newspaper correspondent, covering stories all over the world. That couldn’t have been an easy job for a woman at that time.
Madame La Force
Another woman, so people thought, who spied for the Confederacy was Madame La Force. On June 28, 1861, the liner "St. Nicholas" left the docks at Baltimore, Maryland. On board was a rather strange, ostentatious French lady known as Madame La Force. While she kept the passengers and crew occupied with her flirting in both French and English, men traveling with her carried several toolboxes and military trunks onboard unnoticed.
Once the ship got underway, she retired to her cabin. When the ship reached Point Lookout on the southern tip of Maryland and docked, she would again emerge on deck and continued flirting with the various men who were boarding. Again the ship got underway as she retired to her cabin. A short time later she again appeared on deck, although not as Madame La Force, but as Richard Thomas, a Zouave colonel from Maryland, now in uniform complete with pistols and a sword. As he arrived on deck, his men, who had gotten aboard during his diversions as Madame La Force, drew their weapons from the toolboxes and military trunks. One of these men was Confederate commander George N. Hollins. They rounded up all the passengers and crew and placed them below the deck. They then ordered the ship's captain to sail to Coan River.
Here on the Virginia border they planned to pick up Confederate Lieutenant Henry H. Lewis and his regiment of Tennessee sailors. On its normal journey the "St. Nicholas" would stop alongside the Union warship "Pawnee" for the purpose of picking up mail and supplies. The Confederate plan was to capture the "Pawnee" when it routinely stopped.
While en route to pick up Lt. Lewis and his men, Hollins learned that the Union warship "Pawnee" had been sent to Washington. Having to now change his plans, he ordered the ship's captain to sail to Fredericksburg, Virginia. While en route to Fredericksburg, Hollins and his men, managed to capture three Union ships. These three ships were carrying ice, coal and coffee, all badly needed by the Confederacy. Some of Hollins crew took two of the ships and sailed them to Fredericksburg, while the "St. Nicholas," followed these two ships, towing the third Union ship and her cargo of almost three hundred pounds of coal. The operation was a victory for the Confederacy.
Following their arrival in Fredericksburg, Colonel Richard Thomas was captured ten days later. Imprisoned in solitary confinement for two years he was finally released through the prisoner exchange system. Upon his release he fled to France, never to return to the United States.
Served many months in Missouri artillary and cavalry units, disguised as a man.
Albert Cashier aka Jennie (Irene) Hodgers
Civil War Folk Figure. Jennie Hodgers aka Albert D.J. Cashier, enlisted in the civil war at Belvidere, Illinois. She served her full term of three years.
She fought in about 40 battles and skirmishes.
None of her comrades ever suspected that she was infact a "he". There are some accounts by Cashier's fellow comrades indicating that the other soldiers just thought that Cashier was small and shy, the smallest man in the company, but very brave and fearless. "He kept up on the hardest marches, skillfully handled a rifle and never shirked duty.
Even after the civil war she kept the identity and name of Albert Cashier. She lived on the farm of Cheeseboro in a white clapboard house. She also worked for Senator Lish in Saunemin, Illinois. While working in the driveway picking up sticks Mr. Lish accidently ran her over breaking her leg. The doctor diagnosed her as having a broken leg but also as being a woman. Since her age was growing the sent her to the Sailor and Soldier home in Quincy. While being diagnosed however, she made them keep the secret of her true identity. It was while in Quincy that news broke out. She is now buried in Saunemin, just outside of Pontiac in a little cemetery near the school. The plot is close to the road by the school a little ways from where you enter. Jennie Hodgers is remembered in a memorial at the battle of Vicksburg, she also has the distinguished honor of being the first woman to vote, disguised as a man. She died Oct. 10, 1915 and is buried in the: Sunny Slope Cemetery
NOTE: Today's Quad-Cities Times outlines work ready to progress at restoring the home of Jennie Hodgers who served in the Civil War and lived most of her adult life under the name of Pvt. Albert D.J. Cashier.
The one-room house is small and unprepossessing. With its shuttered windows and the multiple padlocks that used to be inside its door, it's secretive, too _ much like the person who lived in it for some 40 years.
Now, to honor one of Illinois' most unusual Civil War veterans, plans are being made to move the 130-year-old Albert Cashier/Jennie Hodgers house back to its original site in the Livingston County village of Saunemin from a storage site in nearby Pontiac.
The house's secret was that Cashier and Hodgers were the same person.
Saunemin Mayor Mike Stoecklin told the reporter the house will be back in his city by the end of the year, but restoration will likely take longer.He said a lecture by former Pontiac tourism director Betty Estes convinced him the house should be restored to its original site. Estes personally stepped in to save the house 10 years ago when Saunemin volunteer firefighters wanted to burn the house as a training exercise; she had it dismantled and trucked to Pontiac for safekeeping.
Susie Baker, later King Taylor, was born a slave in 1848 in Georgia. She learned to read and write while living with her grandmother.
Susie gained her freedom in 1862 as contraband of war and was appointed laundress of the 33rd U.S. Colored Troops. In 1862, Susie married Sergeant Edward King, one of the members of this regiment. Although she was only fourteen years old, she taught the soldiers in her husband's regiment to read and write and did their laundry. In January 1863, Susie King began to nurse the wounded men who returned to camp from a raid up the St. Mary's River. Susie also learned to clean, load and fire a musket. Susie King nursed the wounded soldiers for four years until she and her husband were mustered out of the regiment in 1866. However she retained her interest in nursing and helped organize a branch of the Woman's Relief Corps. She published her autobiography in 1902, "Reminiscences of my life in camp with the 33d United States Colored Troops late 1st S.C. Volunteers."
BORN: Aug. 6, 1848
DIED: Oct. 6, 1912
BURIED: Mount Hope Cemetery
One of the most storied battlefield nurses, and deservedly so, was Anna Etheridge (nee Anna Blair) whose formal title was Daughter of the Regiment. Her fully documented story proves how misleading that title can be in some instances. "Gentle Annie," as the soldiers called her, went to war with the 2nd Michigan Infantry, and was under fire on several occasions.
Annie Etheridge was known for her courage in giving medicial help to the wounded on the battlefield as a part of the Michigan Volunteers, serving the regiment as a nurse. She was an expert horsewoman and at the start of the war she filled her saddle bags with lint and bandages and oftern rode through battles caring for the wounded. Her first-aid and nursing services were carried out with ranks the 2nd Michigan Regiment with the Army of the Potomac. When the 2nd Michigan was transferred to fight in the West, Annie stayed with the Army of the Potomac and joined the 3rd Michigan, serving it at the Battle of Chancellorsville and the Battle of Gettysburg, later joining the 5th Michigan. In the summer of 1864, General Grant ordered all women to leave the camps and lines, including Annie who had to leave the regiment . She didn't stop serving and joined the hospital service at City Point in Virginia. Annie Etheridge served to the end of the war and was presented the *Kearny Cross, a decoration for bravery for enlisted men.
SEE KEARNY CROSS BELOW
A GIRL NAMED EMILY
Perhaps the most poignant story about women in the Civil War is one told in the book Women in War , 1866, by Frank Moore. In 1863, at age 19, a woman known only as Emily, ran away from home and joined the drum corps of a Michigan Regiment. The regiment was sent to Tennessee and during the struggle for Chatanooga a minie ball pierced the side of the young soldier. Her wound was fatal and her sex was disclosed. At first she refused to disclose her real name but as she lay dying she consented to dictate a telegram to her father in Brooklyn. Forgive your dying daughter. I have but a few moments to live. My native soil drinks my blood. I expected to deliver my country but the fates would not have it so. I am content to die. Pray forgive me...... Emily.
Elizabeth C. Howland
Elizabeth C. Howland, trained in medicine by her father, was highly successful as a Confederate spy. She often sent her young son and daughter to carry dispatches. Appearing innocent, the children were allowed to pass through enemy lines undisturbed.
THE KEARNY CROSS
Sarah Lane was born February 11, 1838 in Greene County, Tennessee. In 1854, Sarah married Sylvanius H.Thompson and they had two children. Sylvanius later became a private in the 1st Tennessee Calvary U.S.A., where he served primarily as a recruiter for the Union Army. Sarah worked alongside her husband assembling and organizing Union sympathizers in a predominately rebel area around Greeneville, Tennessee. In early 1864, Sylvanius Thompson was ambushed and killed by a Confederate soldier.
Spurred by her husband's death, Sarah continued her work for the Union, delivering dispatches and recruiting information to Union officers. When CSA General John Hunt Morgan and his men spent the night in Greeneville, Sarah managed to slip away and alert Union forces to his whereabouts. Union troops invaded the area and by her accounts, she personally pointed out Morgan hiding behind a garden fence to a Union soldier who proceeded to kill Morgan
Barbara Ann Duravan
An unknown number of Confederate women disguised themselves as men and served as soldiers. Among the proof sheets of his book My Reminiscences of the War and Reconstruction Thomas Pinckney, a member of the 4th South Carolina Cavalry captured during the war, describes his May 31, 1864 discovery that a fellow prisoner was actually a woman whom he later suspected was Barbara Ann Duravan of Tennessee. Her captors did not discover Duravan's gender until after her death in the Alton, Illinois penitentiary (used during the war to hold Confederate prisoners). They buried her in the Confederate Cemetery with her comrades.
Thoma Pinckney Papers, #11112
BURIED: Alton Confederate Prison
Listed as a "Citizen" of Memphis, Tennessee, in 1912 Union War Department records. Apparently a FEMALE political prisoner held at Alton POW camp. Note: No locality of grave shown on records, but reported as having died of smallpox. The hospital for these cases was moved to the island in the Mississippi River opposite Alton during the month of August, 1863. Beginning with November, 1863, records show that burial was made on this island of those who died from effects of smallpox.
- ANDERSONVILLE, GEORGIA
LESSER KNOWN WOMEN SOLDIERS
Both the Union and Confederate armies forbade the enlistment of women. Women soldiers of the Civil War therefore assumed masculine names, disguised themselves as men, and hid the fact they were female. Because they passed as men, it is impossible to know with any certainty how many women soldiers served in the Civil War. Estimates place as many as 250 women in the ranks of the Confederate army.
Mary Owens, discovered to be a woman after she was wounded in the arm, returned to her Pennsylvania home to a warm reception and press coverage. She had served for eighteen months under the alias John Evans.
The obituary of Satronia Smith Hunt merely stated she enlisted in an Iowa regiment with her first husband. He died of battle wounds, but she apparently emerged from the war unscathed.
An 1896 story about Mary Stevens Jenkins, who died in 1881, tells an equally brief tale. She enlisted in a Pennsylvania regiment when still a schoolgirl, remained in the army two years, received several wounds, and was discharged without anyone ever realizing she was female.
The Union CMSR for John Williams of the Seventeenth Missouri Infantry, Company H, shows that the nineteen-year-old soldier enlisted as a private on October 3, 1861, in St. Louis and was mustered into the regiment on the seventh. Later that month, Williams was discharged on the grounds: "proved to be a woman. The Confederate CMSR for Mrs. S. M. Blaylock, Twenty-sixth North Carolina Infantry, Company F, states:
This lady dressed in men's clothes, Volunteered [sic], received bounty and for two weeks did all the duties of a soldier before she was found out, but her husband being discharged, she disclosed the fact, returned the bounty, and was immediately discharged April 20, 1862.
Another woman documented in the records held by the AGO was Mary Scaberry, alias Charles Freeman, Fifty-second Ohio Infantry. Scaberry enlisted as a private in the summer of 1862 at the age of seventeen. On November 7 she was admitted to the General Hospital in Lebanon, Kentucky, suffering from a serious fever. She was transferred to a hospital in Louisville, and on the tenth, hospital personnel discovered "sexual incompatibility [sic]." In other words, the feverish soldier was female. Like John Williams, Scaberry was discharged from Union service.
For the most part, women were recognized after they had received serious wounds or died. Mary Galloway was wounded in the chest during the Battle of Antietam. Clara Barton, attending to the wound, discovered the gender of the soft-faced "boy" and coaxed her into revealing her true identity and going home after recuperation.
It is likely the Southern woman died participating in Pickett's charge. In 1934, a gravesight found on the outskirts of Shiloh National Military Park revealed the bones of nine Union soldiers. Further investigation indicated that one of the skeletons, with a minieball by the remains, was female. The identities of these two dead women are lost to posterity.
Some soldiers were revealed as women after getting captured.
Frances Hook is a good example. She and her brother, orphans, enlisted together early in the war. She was twenty-two years old, of medium build, with hazel eyes and dark brown hair. Even though her brother was killed in action at Pittsburgh Landing, Hook continued service, probably in an Illinois infantry regiment, under the alias Frank Miller. In early 1864, Confederates captured her near Florence, Alabama; she was shot in the thigh during a battle and left behind with other wounded, who were also captured. While imprisoned in Atlanta, her captors realized her gender. After her exchange at Graysville, Georgia, on February 17, 1864, she was cared for in Union hospitals in Tennessee, then discharged and sent North in June. Having no one to return to, she may have reenlisted in another guise and served the rest of the war. Frances Hook later married,
Other prisoners of war included Madame Collier. Collier was a federal soldier from East Tennessee who enjoyed army life until her capture and subsequent imprisonment at Belle Isle, Virginia. She decided to make the most of the difficult situation and continued concealing her gender, hoping for exchange. Another prisoner learned her secret and reported it to Confederate authorities, who sent her North under a flag of truce. Before leaving, Collier indicated that another woman remained incarcerated on the island.
On the Confederate side, Lucy Ann Cox initially was a vivandiere and inevitably a nurse in the 13th Virginia Infantry, traveling with her husband in Company A for most of the war. She marched with the soldiers, including the grueling campaigns of Lee's two invasions of the North, and cared for wounded soldiers during combat. When she died after the war, she was buried with military honors.
The records of Catholic orders include reports of female soldiers discovered in hospitals. One chronicler of Catholic orders reports that Catholic sisters were especially given two unusual duties: acting as peacemakers between quarreling soldiers, and attending to female soldiers who often were first discovered when wounded or sick.
In hospitals where there were sisters, such cases were assigned to them and several different communities of sisters noted their care of such women.
Margaret Hamilton, a Catholic sister from New York State, reported that while serving at the U.S. Military Hospital in Philadelphia--
"We received a large number of wounded after the battle of the Wilderness [May 5-7, 1864], and among them was a young woman not more than twenty years of age. She ranked as lieutenant. She was wounded in the shoulder, and her sex was not discovered until she came to our hospital. It appeared that she had followed her lover to the battle; and the boys who were brought in with her said that no one in the company showed more bravery than she. She was discharged very soon after entering the ward."
Other nurses also discovered female soldiers among their patients. Clara Barton, whose fame spread across the country and around the world, was caring for wounded soldiers during the battle of Antietam in 1862. While giving one soldier a drink of water, a bullet tore through her sleeve and killed him. Later Barton observed that another soldier's face appeared to be "too soft," and she became suspicious when the soldier was hesitant to have his chest wound treated.
The soldier turned out to be a woman named Mary Galloway who had enlisted to be with her husband. "She [Barton] shepherded and shielded the girl, and subsequently located her lover in a Washington hospital." Later Barton reported that the couple had named a daughter after her.
Women were represented in all three main branches of the army (infantry, cavalry, and artillery), a surprising number of them advancing through the ranks to become sergeants, and in some cases officers, until wounded, killed, or being found out through some other extreme circumstance.
Malinda Blalock (a.k.a. Sarah Malinda Pritchard Blalock) enlisted in Co. F of the 26th North Carolina Infantry, posing as her husband's brother "Samuel." Her husband was William McKesson ("Keith") Blalock. Residents of a western North Carolina mountain region with strongly divided sentiments about secession and the Confederate cause. As a professed "Lincolnite," Keith often was pitted against friends and relatives.
Although a professed "Lincolnite," Keith was forced by community pressures into enlisting for the Confederacy. Malinda's sentiments originally were pro-South, but out of loyalty to her husband she planned to desert with him at the first opportunity, Somehow the circumstances never quite developed that would allow them to carry out their plan.
Keith and "Sam" fought together in three battles garbed in Confederate gray, until in March 1862 Malinda was wounded in the shoulder. Keith carried her to the surgeon's tent, and in process of removing the bullet the surgeon discovered that "Sam" was a woman. Keith pleaded with the surgeon not to expose her, but the surgeon agreed only to give Keith a short time to work out his next course of action.
Distraught about the probability of being separated from Malinda, Keith deliberately rubbed poison oak all over himself. By next morning his skin was blistered and swollen, and he had a high fever. Fearing that he had small pox, the physician confined him to his tent under guard to avoid a contagion. It was decided to give him an immediate medical discharge on April 20, 1862.
Malinda quickly informed the incredulous Colonel Zebulon Vance (later Governor of North Carolina and a U.S. Senator) that she was a woman. After a surgeon verified her claim, she was discharged on the same day. Keith and Malinda then slowly found their way home to the mountains of western North Carolina to recuperate.
Under constant threat of recall to Confederate service, Keith and Malinda became outlaws and embarked on a campaign as Federal partisans and guerrillas in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina and East Tennessee. They guided Union sympathizers and escaped Union prisoners through the mountains to safety in the North. Toward the end of the war they served as scouts and raiders with the 10th Michigan Cavalry
During the summer of 1864 when a Confederate female artillery soldier was captured, a newspaper that reported her being taken to Grant's headquarters as a prisoner described her as "a coarse featured Amazon...who was in charge of a rebel battery when she was captured, and had on an officer's uniform of the United States." According to Union nurse Anna Holstein, the woman ranked as a sergeant and "was the last to leave the gun" before being captured.
Despite the physical strain involved, a large number of women are known to have served in the cavalry branches of the Union and the Confederate armies. Lizzie Compton reportedly served in the 11th Kentucky Cavalry in 1863, and later in the 125th Michigan Cavalry and a number of other regiments. A contemporary report stated that, "Seven or eight times she was discovered and mustered out of service, but immediately re-enlisted in another regiment."
General Philip Sheridan in his memoirs reported an extraordinary incident one day when two female soldiers were accidentally discovered in his command. A cavalry soldier along with a teamster from Tennessee, while on a foraging expedition in Kentucky, got drunk on apple cider, fell in a river, and both were discovered to be female when they were saved and resuscitated. Sheridan personally interviewed them next day and records the incident with some bemusement, referring to them as "she dragoons."
"The East Tennessee woman [the teamster] was found in camp, somewhat the worst for the experiences of the day before, but awaiting her fate contentedly smoking a cob-pipe," he recorded. "[The cavalry soldier] proved to be a rather prepossessing young woman....How the two got acquainted I never learned, and though they had joined the army independently of each other, yet an intimacy had sprung up between them long before the mishaps of the foraging expedition."
More often than dramatic disclosure of this kind, the discovery of women in male disguise was due to happenstance. A young woman was found in Captain Gerard's company of the 66th Indiana Infantry after fooling the soldiers for some time. One day by chance her uncle visited the camp, accidentally met and recognized her. She was immediately discharged.
During the 1861 Kanawha Valley Campaign in West Virginia a young soldier was discovered to be a woman after serving three months in the 1st Kentucky Infantry when she aroused suspicion by the way she pulled on her stockings. A newspaper correspondent covering the campaign reported:
"She performed camp duties with great fortitude, and never fell out of the ranks during the severest marches. She was small in stature, and kept her coat buttoned to her chin."
Two Confederate female casualties (one dead, one seriously wounded) were discovered after the Battle of Gettysburg, July 2-3, 1863. As confirmed in the Army Official Records of the war, the body of an unidentified female Confederate soldier was discovered by a burial detail near the stone wall at the angle on Cemetery Ridge. She had been a participant in Pickett's famous charge.
An author reporting on Pickett's charge at Gettysburg noted, "The fact that her body was found in such an advanced spot is testimony to her bravery. However, except for an unverified story that the woman had enlisted in a Virginia regiment with her husband and was killed carrying the colors during the charge, Hays' notation [in the Official Records] is the extent of acknowledgment she received for having given her life for her country."
Another female Confederate casualty at Gettysburg was reported after the battle by a wounded Union soldier from Michigan, while in hospital at Chester, Pennsylvania. He wrote a letter home saying that there was a female Confederate soldier in hospital with them who had been wounded severely and lost a leg at Gettysburg. He thought this was "romantic" and felt sympathy for her.
After the battle of Atlanta in summer 1864, a soldier's story appeared in a New York newspaper:
"With the rebel dead and wounded who fell into our hands at the battle of Atlanta on the 21st [July] was a handsome young soldier in a neat gray jacket and pants. The soldier's leg was injured and amputation was deemed necessary. The noble youth was placed on the surgical table when lo -- it was a female! So many `tender youths' have been captured by us since the commencement of the campaign that but little attention was given her features.
Among the numerous cases of soldiers whose careers were ended by pregnancy is one reported by Civil War nurse Harriet Whetten. Whetten recorded in her diary on Aug. 21, 1862, that she had discovered a woman among the hospitalized Union soldiers in her care who was pregnant and had to be sent home.
Several of the soldiers whose careers were ended by motherhood were veteran sergeants and even officers. When a female sergeant in the 74th Ohio Infantry gave birth after 20 months in service, Gen. Rosecrans (Apr. 17, 1863) termed it "a flagrant outrage...in violation of all military law and of the army regulations.
A remarkable coincidence came to light after October 20, 1863, following the battle of Philadelphia, Tennessee. Two women serving in different Union cavalry units were captured, and both were taken to Belle Isle prison in the James River near Richmond, Virginia, still in disguise.
One, a soldier named "Tommy" in the 45th Ohio (Mounted) Infantry, became ill in the prison and, when her sex was discovered early in February 1864, she was released. The other, Mary Jane Johnson, had served in the 11th Kentucky Cavalry for about one year. She was discovered to be a woman during her imprisonment at Belle Isle.
At least two Union female soldiers were imprisoned at Andersonville, with hints that others may well have been there.
A Michigan cavalry soldier, John L. Ransom, kept a diary while imprisoned at Andersonville. His diary entry for Dec. 23, 1863, notes "A woman found among us--a prisoner of war....She tells of another female being among us, but as yet she has not been found out."
This was not the only instance when exposed female soldiers told the authorities that they knew of other women in the ranks. Another case in point is the story of two female cousins, Mary and Molly Bell, who fought for the Confederacy as "Tom Parker" and "Bob Martin," respectively. They first enlisted in a cavalry company, were captured by Union forces, then were rescued by John Hunt Morgan's men. Next they enlisted in the 36th Virginia Infantry.
In Fall 1864 while serving in Gen. Jubal Early's command in the Shenandoah Valley, the two were arrested and labelled by Early as suspected "camp followers" after serving for two years in his command. This glib labeling does not exactly do justice to the facts.
A regimental historian of the 36th Virginia reports that while on picket duty, "Martin [Molly Bell] killed three Yankees and was promoted to corporal." At Belle Grove during the battle of Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864, their captain (in whom they had confided) was captured. When they tried to confide in the lieutenant who took command, he turned them in to Gen. Early who put them on a train to Richmond. There they spent three weeks in Castle Thunder Prison before being sent home to Pulaski County, Virginia, still in their uniforms.
Interviews with their former comrades confirmed that Tom Parker and Bob Morgan had been "valiant soldiers" who had never shirked their duty. During their interview with Gen. Early upon being exposed, Mary and Molly Bell told him that there were at least six other women in his army.
Occasionally post-mortem forensic evidence is accidentally revealed after a long period of time. We now know that an unknown female soldier was killed at Shiloh (Apr. 6-7, 1862) and buried on the battlefield. In 1934, 72 years later, a gardener working on the fringes of the battlefield found some human remains and notified authorities. Nine bodies were exhumed, along with fragments of military uniforms and gear. One was identified as a woman, and with her remains was the minie ball that apparently had killed her.
When some bodies were being removed from a Georgia battle site in 1886 for reinterment in a national cemetery, the remains of Private "Charles Johehouse" of the 6th Missouri Infantry were recognized as those of a woman in uniform. She was in full uniform and had been shot through the head.
Like the story of "Otto Schaffer," a farmer in Butler County, Kansas, who had served in the Civil War and was only discovered at death to be a woman, reports of this type suggest that for every known female soldier there may have been on the order of five to ten that went undiscovered.
William Fitzpatrick enlisted in the 126th Pennsylvania Infantry, but died in a Virginia hospital in 1862. Not until many years later was it discovered that Sgt. Frank Mayne, who deserted after Fitzpatrick died, was really Frances Day who had joined the infantry to be with her boyfriend, Fitzpatrick.
The regimental historian states that Mayne was not heard from again until long afterwards when "...in the far West, a soldier, wounded badly in a great battle, could not conceal her sex, and Frances Day then told how she had followed Fitzpatrick into the army and become herself a soldier and a Sergeant...; of her desertion upon her lover's death, and the abandon and despair which led her to seek again the ranks of the army."
It is interesting to note that except for her "deathbed confession," Day's story would never have been known.
When Marian Green's boyfriend enlisted in the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics regiment in fall of 1861, she saw him off to war in December. Unable to bear being away from him, she arranged with a certain surgeon to enlist in a detachment recruited for the regiment and, in summer 1862, joined the regiment along with many other new recruits. (One suspects this sort of "arrangement" may have happened more than once.)
That fall the boyfriend was taken ill and he was sent to hospital. A couple of days later Green showed up at his bedside, remaining for months to nurse him and other patients. She had kept her sex a secret as a soldier in the regiment, but the boy wrote to her parents informing them of her presence and the parents arranged for her return home. Later when a portion of the regiment returned to Detroit for discharge, Marian met her boyfriend there and they were married
As in the case of Mary and Molly Bell, the officers sometimes knew that one of their soldiers was a woman, but let them continue in service. "Charles H. Williams," a woman whose real name is not known, served three months in Company I of an early Iowa regiment. She was discovered when mustered out with the regiment.
She was described in newspaper reports as having small and rather delicate hands, large and lustrous eyes, and jet black hair. "She was born in Davenport where her mother now resides," the newspaper said. "Capt. Cox learned her sex but allowed her to remain.
A female soldier from Cincinnati, Ohio, who was detected in the ranks by an officer pleaded to stay in service. The officer did not report her and she remained in the ranks. "She looks as brave as any soldier in the division," he reported under a newspaper nom de plume. "I say bully for her, and if I only could get 100 of such I would send a company."
Mrs. Frances Clayton allegedly served in a Minnesota regiment along with her husband. According to contemporary newspaper reports "the better to conceal her sex, she learned to drink, smoke, chew, and swear with the best, or worst, of the soldiers.
An unknown woman enlisted in Capt. Brand's company of the 107th Pennsylvania Infantry disguised as a man. When discovered, a newspaper reported that "[she] could smoke a cigar, swagger, and take an occasional `horn' with the most perfect sang froid." She returned home and resumed female attire about a month later without explanation, but said she is determined "to try it again."
Among the more prominent female soldiers were Rebecca Peterman, 7th Wisconsin Infantry; Sarah Emma Edmonds ("Franklin Thompson"), 2nd Michigan Infantry; Mary and Molly Bell, 36th Virginia Infantry; Jennie Hodgers ("Albert Cashier"), 95th Illinois Infantry; and Frances Hook, who served in six or more Illinois regiments. Their stories are reported in detail.
New research by DeAnn Blanton and Lauren M. Cook has established that Rebecca Peterman (whose name previously had been reported as Georgeianne Peterman) served first as a "drummer boy" in the 7th Wisconsin Infantry in 1862, seeing action at Antietam. In the same regiment were her stepbrother and a cousin. As it turns out, quite a few female soldiers had accomplices in the ranks, sometimes relatives and sometimes a boy friend. A Mrs. Watkins and a Mrs. Epping enlisted with their husbands in Company G of the 2nd Maryland Infantry (Union), and after being discovered still continued campaigning with the regiment as laundresses.
Mrs. Amy Clarke
One of the most famous Confederate female soldiers, who served in both cavalry and infantry, was Mrs. Amy Clarke. A newspaper story from Jackson, Mississippi, on Dec. 30, 1862 reported:
"Among the strange, heroic and self-sacrificing acts of woman in this struggle for our independence, we have heard of none which exceeds the bravery displayed and hardships endured by the subject of this notice, Mrs. Amy Clarke.
Mrs. Clarke vounteered with her husband as a private, fought through the battles of Shiloh, where Mr. Clarke was killed--she performing the rites of burial with her own hands. She then continued with Bragg's army in Kentucky, fighting in the ranks as a common soldier, until she was twice wounded--once in the ankle and then in the breast, when she fell a prisoner into the hands of the Yankees. Her sex was discovered by the Federals, and she was regularly paroled as a prisoner of war, but they did not permit her to return until she had donned female apparel. Mrs. C. was in our city on Sunday last, en route for Bragg's command."
The following August she was seen wearing lieutenant's bars at Turner's Station, Tennessee, and was recognized as the heroic Amy Clarke, causing a bit of a sensation among the soldiers. A Texas cavalry soldier, among those who saw her, wrote a letter home to his father saying that he had heard of her brave deeds. The letter repeated the story of Clarke's husband being killed at Shiloh and she later being wounded and released by the Yankees while required to wear a dress.
Woman who Fought in Civil War Dies, aged 92
Much of the information available on female Civil War soldiers is found in their obituaries. (NARA, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's - 1917, RG 94)
Confederacy heroine of the War Between the States:
One unsung heroine of the American Civil War was not a Southerner, or even an American. Yet she became a beloved figure to Confederate troops. When she died, she was got all the rites of an officer of the Confederacy. When her brother, Samuel William Hill, moved to New Orleans from England in Dec 1850, she came with him. All went well until they had some sort of altercation, and Samuel left to join the Confederate army. Mary Hill felt that he was not cut out to be a soldier. When he enlisted in the 6th Louisiana Infantry and was later transferred into the Irish Brigade and ordered to Richmond, she went there. Her diary describes daily episodes of camp and war life.
Living in Nicholas County, then in Virginia and now part of West Virginia, Nancy Hart joined the Moccasin Rangers and served as a spy, reporting on federal troop activity in her home's vicinity and leading rebel raiders to their position. She was said to have led a raid on Summersville in July 1861, at age 18. Captured by a band of Union soldiers, she tricked one of her captors and used his own gun to kill him, then escaped. After the war she married Joshua Douglas.
Account of Shooting of Guard By Nancy Hart
Charleston Daily Mail, Thursday, April 18, 1963 This is a different account of how Nancy Hart shot the guard. Roane County Girl Served as Confederate Spy, Scout By Adrian Gwin Of the Daily Mail Staff
Hatred for Union Soldiers BlazedMr. Adrian Gwin’s interview with Nancy’s grandniece Mrs. Jessie Ferguson Keith of Fola, Virginia.
According to Mrs. Keith, Nancy was born in Raleigh, NC in 1846.Her family moved to Tazewell, VA when she was an infant.Her mother was first cousin to Andrew Johnson, who became President and Nancy’s mother was raised in the same home with young Andrew.
Nancy and her family moved to Roane County, in West Virginia when she was eight and resided with William and Mary Hart Price.
Nancy sympathized with the Confederate side, when she was 14 joined the Moccasin Rangers.
Nancy had gone back home to visit her sister Mary on October 19, 1861 as her sister was expecting and her time was near.
About dusk a party of Union soldiers rode into the yard.They told William Price he was needed in Spencer to make a speech the next day.
While William was preparing to go, they poked around the house. They found Mary Price in the bedroom with several pillows and a large bolster behind her.
They apologized rudely for invading the bedroom.But hidden in the bolster was Nancy Hart.
William Price never got to Spencer.He was found three days later, shot in the back near another farm on the road to Spencer.The hatred Nancy Hart had for the Union soldiers blazed anew.
She was captured in the summer of 1862.Nancy was captured and fell into the hands of Colonel Starr’s forces.
She was jailed in the upstairs portion of a dilapidated house with soldiers quartered downstairs and a sentry guarding her room at all times.
Nancy Hart beguiled the sentry guard, sweet-talked him and late at night by the light of two candles on the table, she played her trumps.She asked for a cup of coffee and invited the young soldier to sit with her.Over the cup of coffee, she leaned across the small table and pressed herself against the youth.He laid his pistol on the table and started to take her into his arms.Nancy grabbed the gun and with the swiftness of a panther, jumped back, fired a bullet between his eyes.Then she dived out the window and stole the Colonel’s prize horse.
Abstracted from the story in the Charleston Daily Mail, April 18, 1963