March is Women’s History Month, so…
Who’s your favorite woman from the Civil War era? Why?
Arabella Wharton Griffith Barlow, dubbed “The Raider” by those who worked with her in the field hospitals, because she commandeered the use of virtually anything and everything in her work. She was a New York item, accustomed to intellectual circles and said by the famous diarist George Templeton Strong to be “Certainly the most brilliant, cultivated, easy, graceful, effective talker of womankind, and one who has read, thought and observed much and well”. Despite her privileged life, she married a man (Francis Barlow) who was 11 years her junior and with him and for her country threw herself into the cauldron of war, devoting the rest of her life to caring for wounded, diseased and dying men. Hopping from battlefield to battlefield to be with her husband, she saved his life at Antietam and again at Gettysburg. Sadly, she sacrificed her own when she contracted typhoid when working in the hot sun at City Point hospital in the summer of 1864. She died in Washington on July 27, a blow from which Francis never fully recovered. She is buried in Old Raritan Cemetery in Somerville, New Jersey.
Mary Lincoln, with all the tragedy she endured, is my answer. She may have had her faults – we all do – but few face as many public challenges as she did.
I very respectively disagree sir, think of all the stress the President was going through, yet he had to threaten her with being commited several times…Read below for a true hero and the first documented possible transgender her whole life.
I too thought immediately of Mary Lincoln, and Clara Barton.
Mary Lincoln was threatened to be commited by her husband
Read below for a true hero who fought the whole war dressed as a man then dressed a man for the rest of her life becoming the first transgender to be photographed nearly 45 years apart as a man
Mary Ann Bickerdyke, one darned impressive managing woman. “Mother Bickerdyke” to the soldiers of the Army of the Tennessee. She served throughout the war at the front, nursing her soldiers, setting up nearly 300 field hospitals in the western theater. Accompanied Sherman’s armies from Chattanooga to Bentonville and was unofficially referred to as “Brigadier General Commanding Hospitals.” Uncle Billy invited her to ride at the head of the XV Corps in the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington at the end of the war. Advocating for veterans after the war. She is one of my heroes.
Mary Chestnut…for insight into Confederate leadership in Richmond and a window into the loss and grief suffered by those in her circle of family, friends and acquaintances.
All good choices gentlemen. Mary Lincoln suffered more in her brief lifetime than anyone should ever be asked to suffer—the loss of three sons and a husband. It is no wonder she became slightly derailed later in life. Clara Barton was Superwoman: she not only did Herculean work during the Civil War, but founded the American Red Cross and did more Herculean work in Johnstown after the flood there in 1889. Mary Ann Bickerdyke ranked even Sherman, as he himself said. And Mary Chesnut left us that magnificent diary that gives us insights into the Confederate experience that would otherwise be lost to history. Let’s have some more.
Margaret “Maggie” Junkin Preston for her accomplishments and steadfastness as well as being the unofficial “Poet Laureate of the Confederacy.”
Julia Ward Howe’s Battle Hymn of the Republic called forth hundreds of thousands of Union volunteers, both soldiers and those who worked at the home front.
Meg good to see you again!!! See below for another true women hero, missed your writing, seizure again but I’m back strong, just can’t keep up with you, lol, think I got you beat this time thought lol, your writing rocks Meg, I missed it last month
Anna Dickenson. In an era when women were expected to occupy a very limited role, this early-20-something lady didn’t buy into it.
Mary Walker for her courage, persistence and deication.
Albert D. J. Cashier (December 25, 1843 – October 10, 1915), born Jennie Irene Hodgers, was an Irish-born immigrant who served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Cashier adopted the identity of a man before enlisting, and maintained it for most of the remainder of her life. She became famous as one of a number of women soldiers who served as men during the Civil War, although the consistent and long-term commitment to the male identity has prompted some contemporary scholars to suggest that Cashier was a trans man.
Elizabeth Van Lew. Look up her actions in Richmond during the war and it is an incredible story.
Great entry Dr. Kolakowski, but I have to go with Albert D. J. Cashier, not only did she dress as a man and fought the whole war, she continued to dress as a man her whole life being pictured in 1913 in her uniform. Perhaps she was the first documented Transgender in the 19th century, what bravery that would take sir.
Almira Hancock, wife of a soldier.
Varina Davis, one of the most beautiful women of the era both inside and out
I’ve been a fan of Clara Barton and her work since I was a third grader. But in researching for a book I learned about nurse extraordinaire Maria Hall at Antietam. Her work and the work of nurses like her show us what dedication and service can be.
‘Mother’ Bickerdyke was the champion of the sick and wounded. Unrelenting in seeing her boys got the best care possible. Mary Walker, first female surgeon in th the male dominated surgical field.
Mother Bickerdyke because she was a tireless worker to make sure her boys were treated well. Generals Grant and Sherman knew what an asset she was to the boys who loved her so.
If want something said ask a man, If you want something done ask a women–Margaret Thatcher No, not civil war but the strongest women of my lifetime
Mary Edwards Walker. Medal of Honor. ‘Nough said!
Without question Albert D. J. Cashier for two reasons. First she fought the entire war as a member of Company G, Illinois Regiment, she was photographed November, 1864. And perhaps the first known Transgender she was photographed July, 1913 still dressed as a man as she did throughout her life. Want bravery not only to fight for 4 years but to go through a life as a man in the 19th century.Perhaps she is women of the century
All great entries, fun to learn about the women of the civil war, I expect nothing less from this A plus sight, kudos to the publishers and all who participated!!!!
I learned so much reading this page, what a enjoyment to learn of all the contributions all the women did not only to help there husbands but the cause in general. I still think being a transgender from 1861-1913 and having your photo taken is pure bravery in a very ignorant time. Kudos to all the entries, as we all have learned were nothing without the support of women (now that I’m stateside for good I have to find my princess to worship for the rest of my life, ) Great question ECW and better answers!!!
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