Question of the Week: 3/2-3/8/2020

Research has shown that some women disguised themselves and joined Civil War armies. Do you have a favorite account of a Civil War female soldier? Why?

6 Responses to Question of the Week: 3/2-3/8/2020

  1. I seem to recall a Blaylock married couple joining the Confederate Army from Western NC. They were Unionists like many from that region, and deserted to the Union Army the first chance they got. The wife posed as a younger brother. They shared a tent, and none wised up to it. She dropped the charade when they made Union lines. I think I read that in a book on the War in western NC by Trotter.

  2. It’s incredibly “basic” to say, but I like the story of Albert Cashier/Jennie Hodgers. She was from Ireland and disguised herself as a man to get into the Army of the Tennessee, but even after the war she continued her charade until she was well into her 60s. And when she was put into an asylum and given dresses to wear, she hated it – even hurt herself while wearing one because she didn’t know how to walk in it. Her veteran comrades vouched for her service because she proved herself a loyal and dependable soldier. She was just one of the boys. I feel I can kind of identify with that. It was much easier for a man to earn a living and be independent than a woman and I’d like to think that she wanted that enough to stand before Victorian society and flip the proverbial bird. All those women were brave for what they did, given that it was literally against the law to cross-dress like that. We take for granted many of the things that were just so taboo for them at the time.

    1. Sheritta, very good post. Nonetheless I would question the words “disguised” and “charade”. Albert’s story would ring true to many transgender people as a classic trans-man

      1. It does, however, when I was reading about her story in “Behind the Rifle” by Shelby Harriel, she had a chapter dedicated specifically to his question of transgender vs. disguising. From what I read of Jennie’s story, she never denied being a woman or insisted that she was a man, which would confirm that in her mind, she was male and not female. She knew what she was doing, as did many others who did something similar. However, Jennie was accused of also having onset dementia when she was in the asylum, so her account may not be completely accurate or should be taken with a grain of salt. There’s just no way of knowing for sure.

  3. The letter home from a Union solider in the Army of the Potomac revealing that his corporal just had a baby

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