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tv   The Civil War Women Soldiers in the Civil War  CSPAN  February 16, 2019 5:59pm-7:15pm EST

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problem with fortis and lbj. fortis thought like a lawyer. he tended to give specific, legalistic answers that sounded defensive. he was not a particularly good witness. learn more tonight at 8:00 p.m. join students in the classroom here on american history tv. announcer: have you seen senate?" "the senate historian richard baker says, mesmerizing photographs establish this book as the ultimate insider's tour. to order your paperback copy of $18.95 plus" for shipping, visit
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the civil next on war, historical interpreters tell stories of some of the women who disguised themselves as young men and fought in the civil war. they outline how and why these women disguised themselves, what battles they fought in, and how they were discovered. the frederick county civil war roundtable posted this hour and 15 minute program. >> in 1911, nearly 60 years after the end of the civil war, a small and elderly civil war veteran of the 95th illinois was accidentally struck by an automobile while shoveling debris from the driveway. was summoned,r and in the process of setting the broken bone in the thigh, it was discovered that the civil war veteran was a she, and not a he.
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were it not for this automobile accident, we would not know the extraordinary truth about this soldier, that she was a woman serving among the ranks of men. while it was illegal for women to dress as men and enlist in either army, hundreds, possibly more, did. we do not know the exact number. if a woman was successful, she was not caught. and was able to slip back into civilian life after serving her country. in the decades after the war, the general number of women soldiers in the human -- in the union army alone was estimated to be slightly less than 400, a number that was thought to be too low. in her words, i am convinced a larger number of women disguised themselves for one cause or
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another then was dreamed of. historians in their research on the women soldiers of the civil war document about 250 individual women soldiers, and they use a variety of documents, they used military documents, the letters and diaries of soldiers and hospital personnel, and also newspaper accounts from the day. richard hall, another modern scholar, in his publication was convinced based on his archival and database research that at least 1000, possibly even more than 1000 women, served as soldiers during the civil war. in order to understand why women would want to disguise themselves as men and enlist in the army and how they were able to achieve this, first of all, it is important to understand 19th-century victorian society.
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in mid-19th, men and women occupied different worlds. men were expected to work and support their family. they were the economic providers and the political representatives of that family unit. women were expected to stay home in the safety of the house and raise the children and care for the household. this society, it was inconceivable a woman would want to dress as a man and work like a man. and in fact, it was illegal for her to do so. however, for women there were incentives for them to risk arrest and imprisonment and impersonate a manned in join the army. the story and society impose -- victorian society imposed women.tions on women were expected to marry, they could not vote, they had limited rights to own property, and they had limited employment opportunities. good jobse only
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cook,ble for women were a a seamstress, a teacher, a governess, a maid, or in extreme cases, they could go into prostitution. women earned less than men in wages for their work. a well-paid maid in new york earned four dollars a month. by contrast, an army private could earn $13 a month. that is a good three times more. by impersonating a man and joining the army, a woman can earn a better wage, she could purchase property, she could vote in elections, she could experience the full rights of american citizenship. some women, in addition to enjoying this freedom, chose to join the army because they were following a loved one, a husband, a brother, and father. and some women served for the same reason as men, they were patriotic.
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. they wanted to fight for their country how were they able to do this? there is the next question. think about modern recruiting stations and all the exams people have to go through, the physical exams. back in the 19th century during the civil war, physical exams were often cursory. if a person walked into the recruiting station, that was one point in their favor. that meant they had good legs. they had two good arms, a trigger finger, a right eye framing their rifle, opposing teeth so they could bite the top of a cartridge and load their rifle. a good sense of balance is always good when you are marching in ranks. having thetion to real cursory exam, there were so many young men who were signing up at this time. they were lying about their age. they were 13, they were 14.they
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were not shaving yet , their voices had not changed. so a woman could easily impersonate a young lad wanting to enlist. idea of victorian modesty and privacy really helped these women as well. there were common sinks or dugine facilities that were for the soldiers to use, but a lot of soldiers decided that after a couple days they got pretty nasty, and there was that sense of victorian privacy and modesty. so soldiers would go off into the woods to use the bathroom, and that would not be seen as unusual. woman soldier doing that would not arouse any suspicions at all. of course, we hear about how dirty the army's work. they did not take baths very often. marchhey were on the especially, they slept in their uniforms. they did not change out.
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there was all of that in the favor of helping the women keep her disguise. the victorian society was clothes makes that man. if someone walks into the room wearing trousers, that person was automatically assumed to be a male. no one was looking for any clues as to what the real gender of that person was. the person was wearing trousers, that telegraphed immediately to a victorian percent that person was assumed -- person that person was assumed to be male. we are both wearing uniforms. the uniforms helped to hide female attributes. as you can see with my comrade here wearing a union uniform, the frock coat, that helped to hide the hips. it is id and hangs loosely -- it is baggy and hangs loosely. a pigeon chest was considered to
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be masculine. audrey: that was manly. tracy: and with short hair under the hat, that also helped. and i am wearing the confederate uniform. soldiers were not issued formfitting uniforms. , too bige two sizes and too small. the too big helped to hide female attributes. i have a great quote here from sergeant hermann weiss. he was from the heavy altar lori -- he explained in a letter to his wife how a woman in his regiment was able to pass undetected as a man for three years. he writes, "it is no wonder at all that her tent mates did not know she was a woman, for you must know we never undress to go to bed. on the contrary, we dress up. we go to bed with boots, overcoats, and all on, and she
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could find chances enough when she would be in the tent alone to change or close." again, that idea they are sleeping in their uniforms. the mindset of the soldiers, women would not want to do this, it was illegal, women would not be there. this is illustrated i a quote we have from colonel orlando pro. he found out his orderly had been a woman, and he writes, "a single glance at her in her proper character caused me to wonder how i ever could have mistaken her for a man, and i readily recall many things that ought to have the trade her, except no one thought of finding a woman in a soldier's breadth." they didn't even think it would occur. today, we will discuss some of the best documented women soldiers three women left written accounts of their soul. orvice either as a memoir letters that were written home
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to their families. most of the other women soldiers that we know about were only discovered, like albert cashier, when death, accident, sickness, wounding, or capture made others aware of their true gender. these astonishing discoveries were entered into official military documents and communications, and in the letters, diaries, and memoirs of generals, surgeons, nurses, and other officers and enlisted soldiers, as well as in newspaper accounts of the day. in the examples we have selected focus on women soldiers who were described in first-hand accounts by people who were eyewitnesses to these women. left accounts of women who written accounts of their soldier -- of their service themselves. there were three women soldiers who left written accounts, sarah edmonds, whose alias was private
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franklin thompson, would publish se and5 her memoir "nur spy in the union army." wakeman would write letters home to her family between 1862 and 1864 that were kept by her family and became known to us in the 1990's. we will talk about that a bit later. marianne clark -- mary ann clark , whose alias was henrik clarke, wrote one surviving better home while wounded as a pow, and was waiting for exchange. firstl begin with the soldier on the list, sarah m a emma edmonds. this is from her book.
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she was born in 1841 in new brunswick, canada. she was the sixth and youngest child of a farming family. her father wanted his youngest child to be a boy and was deeply disappointed his last child was his fifth girl. [laughter] edmondsevertheless, learned to farm, raise livestock, hunt, fish, ride, and attended her parish school. when she reached a marriageable age of 17, her father had for a local widower nearby to wed her. and she wanted none of it. she ran away from home. she first stayed with family she kept getting letters from her mother that her father was going to come and get her and bring her back and make her wed this person.
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she decided she had to disappear. hair,d so by cutting her putting on men's clothing, and became a traveling book salesman. and she did extremely well. she traveled between new england and canada and michigan, and she was in michigan as a man, franklin thompson, selling books, when forts on dirt ha happened.mter she had established her identity as a young man, living in a flint, michigan, at the time. like the other men of flint, michigan, she felt she had the patriotic duty to defend her new homeland, and she would enlist with the second michigan volunteer infantry. at this early point in the war, all the surgeon did when you looked at her was to ask her what her hands did, and she
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could explain why she did not have calluses. and she found herself in the army. edmonds was, detailed as a nurse. june of 1861 when a typhoid fever epidemic struck the regimen, she served as the nurse in a battle in july of 1861 and remained caring for the wounded. she was a most captured by confederate forces. she worked as a soldier and a nurse until march 1862. her male guise helped her as a nurse. at the beginning of the civil war, women were not readily accepted as nurses. they could be nurses at home for their families, but it was unseemly for a woman of any social standing to nurse strangers, especially strange men. women would gain acceptance as as their the civil war
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service became necessary and they proved themselves to be perfectly adept at caring for men and freeing up manpower so that they could fight at the the hospitals in and taking care of the men there. maleds, by virtue of her serve thecould, "best union cause in male attire, better perform the duties necessary for sick and wounded men, and with less embarrassment to them and for myself as a man than as a woman." in march 1862, she was detailed as a regimental mail carrier, and as such was seen and eagerly awaited by every single man in the regimen. carrier ands a mail the peninsula campaign.
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around the time of the battle of second manassas, august 1862, she badly injured her leg and ribs while transporting regimental mail. horse slipped and fell on her. since she was coughing up blood and hemorrhaging that had they opened her blas, her secret would be revealed. up and these bear untreated injuries would debilitate her by the time she was in her night -- by the time jews in her 40's. in 1862,t antietam of buryingrote another woman soldier. " i can trust you and will tell you a secret. i am not what i seen, but i am a female. i have enlisted for the purest
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motives and have remained undiscovered. i have performed the duties of a soldier fatally and am willing to die for the cause of truth and freedom." because the second michigan was in washington at the time of the battle of antietam and edmonds did not list antietam as being a battle she participated in, this detail in her story might be a literary device to explain to the reader edmonds' own reasons for enlisting. heract, the publisher of book in his preface gives very similar words to defend edmond'' male disguised to her victorian readers. was --not know if she out of all the months during her service that are missing from 1862, so weeptember
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in thenow if she was service or if this was a literary device. however, a tantalizing possibility was offered by erin good, who was hired by antietam's board to locate, identify, and reinter bodies into the cemetery for the debt. insubmitted an advertisement trying to locate the family of a union woman soldier buried on the battlefield. is this the same soldier that edmonds allegedly found? is alreadyrk published by the time this account appears in the newspaper. but we just don't know. because we don't have that muster sheets, we don't know if she was there. this could be the woman she found, or it could be independently another woman if
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that account is indeed a literary device. but it is a tantalizing pop up -- possibility in and of itself. edmonds was most certainly at the battle of fredericksburg in december 18 62, where she served as an orderly for her kernel -- for her colonel. she was greatly saddened after the loss of fredericksburg. 1863, she was sent with a regiment to kentucky, where she fell ill with malarial fever. she was still sick in april and was denied a furlough. the idea is she would seek a ,urlough, would go be treated assume her female guise again, then returned to the regiment, take up hurt soldier's guise again, and none would be the
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wiser. however, the furlough was denied, so that was not a possibility that was open to her. decided in the end that she had to desert the army because as she wrote, she would "rather be shot dead than be known to be a woman and sent away from the army under guard as a criminal." after leaving the army and recuperating from her illness, edmonds wrote her book and had it published in 1865. it sold over 175,000 copies in its first and second edition, and the proceeds went to the united states sanitary commission, the u.s. christian commission, and various ladies' aid society for sick and wounded soldiers. in 1864, she returned to nursing, this time in her female guise. she worked with the christian commission in st. louis and west virginia. melr the war, she
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marrie fellow canadian, ran an orphanage in schoo for african-american freemen, and raised a family. by her 40's, she was debilitated by the injuries that had been left untreated after the riding accident as a mail carrier. she was living in kansas and saw other veterans receiving pensions for injuries they had received. she thought it only fair she be compensated for the injuries she had received in service of her country. she applied for a pension in 1882. in order to get her pension, she had two things done. one, she had to have the charge of desertion removed from franklin thompson's record, and two, she had to have written testimony from her comrades in arms, certifying she was one and the same person as franklin thompson. this is a tall order for her to come up with. that had she been a man, she would have been treated
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for her injuries and she would have had no reason to desert. that was her argument for having the charge of desertion removed from the record. to next part, from 1882 1884, edmonds approached her former comrades in arms, and they recognized her. they were wondering whether she had a little brother or an older brother that looked a lot like her. they always wondered what happened to franklin thompson. he just disappeared. when they found out that she herself was franklin thompson, , this is where the in,e from orlando poe comes nobody expected to see a soldier in a woman stress. they were so surprised -- in a woman's dress. they were so surprised their mail carrier and comrade had been a woman. they wrote to the united states congress. and shetified for her,
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was able to get a charge of desertion removed from her record and was able to get a pension in 1884. she was the only recognized union woman soldier to receive one. she was also inducted into the grand army of the republic, and would receive a military funeral from her g.a.r. comrades in 1901. a second woman who wrote about her service is sarah rosetta wakeman. sheet what right letters home to her family between 18 6 -- she would write letters home to her family. in the early 1990's, they were brought to the attention of lauren cook, who was researching women soldiers, and cook would edit and publish wakeman's letters. story,osetta wakeman's
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she was born in bainbridge, new york, in 1843. she was the eldest of nine in a family. after finishing school in 1860, she worked as a female domestic. to help her father payback debts that were owed on the family's 18 62, wakeman sought better wages in an unconventional manner. she disguised herself as a man and took a job as a canal laborer. at the end of her first trip, she encountered soldiers recruiting young men to enlist in the one 53rd volunteer infantry. herbounty they offered and the $13 a month wage she would receive as a private soldier made this venture very attractive. august 30, 1862, she enlisted volunteer53rd infantry under the name elias wakeman.
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they would depart in october. the 153rd volunteer infantry would perform guard duties as part of the defensive forces around washington, d.c. armyan was very happy with life, especially the money and the independence it gave her. " her own words, she wrote, all the money i send you, i want you to spend it for the family. don't save it for me, for i can get all the money i want. if i ever return, i will have money for myself and to divide with you. i can tell you what made me leave home. i got tired of staying in that neighborhood. i knew i could help you more to leave home then to stay with you, so i left. i am not sorry i left you. i believe god will spare my life to come home once more. i will help you all as long as i live. i am enjoying myself better this summer than i ever have before in this world. i have good clothing, enough to eat, nothing to do but handle my
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gun, and that i can do as well as the rest of them. i don't want you to mourn for me, for i can take care of myself, and i know my business as well as anyone knows for me. if they don't leave me alone, they shall be sorry for it. i have enjoyed myself best since i have gone away from home than i ever have before in this world. i have plenty of money to spend, and a good time as a soldier." the one 53rd new york volunteer infantry was to guard to guard the -- prisons. at some point during this period, wakeman road home that she guarded a woman who was "a major in the union army and went into battle with her men. she gave orders to her men. now she is in prison for not giving to the regulation of war." wakeman's wording could mean
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that the woman major was court-martialed for some offense or dereliction of duty, or may simply mean the major was caught violating the regulations of war, as wakeman herself was doing by being a woman employed as an officer in a soldier. researchers have not been able to identify this woman union major as surviving records of carol prison are incomplete. in february 1864, the 153rd volunteer infantry was sent to louisiana to join the red river campaign. in april 1864, the regiment battles, then indoor to a 70 mile forced mark retreat -- forced march retreat in two days. as a result, many became sick with chronic diarrhea. she entered the hospital on may journey to bed a
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admitted to the general hospital in new orleans. blakeman would die -- wake men would die -- wakeman would die. were it not for these letters coming to light, we would not know that this soldier in this grave was a woman. two letters document the third soldier. one was written by mary ann clark when she was a pow awaiting exchange, and a second letter was written by her mother , distraught over her daughter's military exploits. both are in the collection of the kentucky historical society. mary ann clark's surviving letter is dated 1862, and reveals her sadness at leaving her children and her conviction to continue her fight despite the personal cost. she writes, "i wish you would
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me ando ms. burbage for tell her all you know about me, how, where, and when i was taken prisoner. tell her what a good rebel soldier i have been. tell her about me getting wounded. i never expect to see her again as i may get killed in battle. there is a battle in vicksburg, and i expect to be in it. our officers tell me they will exchange me for a man. if you would be so kind to do this for me, i would be a thousand times obliged to you. i would write to her myself, but i cannot. you will find her one of the most uncompromising rebels in kentucky. i expect to start for vicksburg in the morning. give my love to all my friends in louisville." mary ann clark's mother wrote a
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letter in reply. she was anxious about her daughter in her grandchildren, and she was horrified. mary ann clark was raised in april highest christian home, an educated woman and a schoolteacher, and she ran away to join the army. she placed much of the blame on the cruel treatment clark had received from her husband, who abandoned her and her children. he went to california and married another woman. clark was despondent. she spoke of going to the army, but her mother did not think she was going to do it. surprise. [laughter] nevertheless, mary ann clark left home one night in 1861, and the first her mother heard of her after that is she had joined the army and had united with a cavalry company under the assumed name of henry clark. she returned home briefly, but returned to the army in may after the brutal murder of her
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beloved brother by unionist home guards. clarkon the research, was wounded in the thigh in an talky at the end of august 1862. . she was discovered to be a woman and taken prisoner. she was held in a several pro--- held in several prisons before she was released. she became a bit of a celebrity among the confederate soldiers who saw her or other women disguised as soldiers and identified them as her. they called her the heroic marion clark -- the heroic mary ann clark, as they, had read about in newspapers. most women soldiers who were discovered during the civil war were revealed after death, wending, sickness, or accident forced the revelation of their true gender.
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these surprising discoveries were reported in military records and the personal writings of military and hospital officials. >> the official record of the war of the rebellion, william hayes noted the body of a female confederate soldier was found by the second corps burial detail on the field at gettysburg. it says one female private in rebel uniform. >> women soldiers were also discovered when their bodies were being prepared for burial. a soldier from the first minnesota arterial -- artillery writes home, " one of the members of the regiment died in the hospital. the startling discovery was made by those preparing the body for burial that their companion, whom they had marched and fought with for two years, was a woman. you can't imagine their astonishment. the regiment had camped near us, and i went to see her. she was a pretty good size for a
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woman with rather masculine features. she must have been very shrewd to keep her secret so long when she was surrounded by several hundred men. this girl enlisted after they went to missouri, so they know nothing of her early history. under anless served assumed name. poor girl. we what trouble, grief, or persecution drew her to embrace the hardships of a soldier's life. she had abstained -- she had sustained an excellent reputation. more than a in dozen battles and services -- and skirmishes. the men in the company's big of her in terms of respect and affection. she would have been promoted in a few days if she had lived." women soldiers were discovered by medical staff. an mary edwards walker, extraordinary woman in her own right, one of the first american
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women to attend orthodox medical school and the only woman to serve during the civil war as a paid u.s. army contract surgeon and the only woman thus far in the history of the united states to be awarded the congressional medal of honor, met the wounded francis quinn, alias francis hook, at a chattanooga hospital. walker was so astonished that she contacted the press about quinn. quinn was last wounded when she attempted to escape capture and was shot in the thigh by a confederate guard. she was discovered to be female, exchanged, and sent to the hospital and chattanooga. she was wounded and discovered at least twice over the course of her subject, but she would reenlist and other regiments. she was one of two women soldiers who nurse at the baker, who was working in nashville during the war. when baker met quinn, quinn gave
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her alias as harry miller. to have surfeded with the 11th, 19, 60 fifth, and 90th illinois infantry, the 90th illinois calvary, the second tennessee cavalry, and the eight michigan infantry. discovered andas dismissed because of her gender, she would seek out another regiment where she was not known and would enlist with them to continue her service. >> in the papers of the famous humanitarian clara barton is an an assistanten by soldier -- an assistant surgeon recalling after the battle of antietam how he asked miss darton to examine a wounde soldier. the doctor suspected this young man was actually a young woman, and asked clara barton to call her so she could be treated. the wounded soldier confessed
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fromas mary galloway, frederick, maryland. she discussed her self as a soldier. the third wisconsin was a stationed for several months in 1861, so they would have had time to be acquainted and the local women soldiers living in the town. the assistant surgeon was astonished not only to find a female in the soldiers close, but that the bullet had passed through her chest without injuring any internal organs, and she fared so well after 36 hours without food or water before she was treated. according to harwood, clara barton assisted mary in locating her beloved, who was also wounded, and reunited them in a washington hospital. that wasmary galloway
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given to clara barton may be an alias. the only mary galloway i have been able to find in the 1860's census records is an african-american freed woman. but i am continuing to research that. it is a very common name in baltimore, and so i am wondering if it is also possible that her family left baltimore to escape the difficulties in baltimore 1860 and returned back to baltimore after the war so they would not be captured in the decade of the census record. i don't know. it could be an alias, it could be just that the family is in movement. but i think it is significant that clara barton kept this account in her own papers. -- we includere
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it here. we have another nurse discovering another woman soldier. she was working at a military hospital in philadelphia during war, and among the events she recalled following the war was the following. "we received a large number of wounded after the battle of the wilderness. among them, a young woman not more than 20 years of age.she ranked as a lieutenant. she was wounded in the soldier, and her sex was not discovered until she came to our hospital. it appeared she followed her lover to battle. she was discharged soon after entering the ward." in the national archives is a certificate of disability for a private frank detming. it rates, i certify i have carefully examined frank demming
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and found him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of a congenital peculiarity." [laughter] "which should have presented his/her admission into the army, being a female." demming was an 18-year-old student who served in lancaster, ohio. she served for nine months prior duringdiscovery, and that time, she was never unfit for duty, and get she was dismissed as soon as her sex was discovered. 1862, private charles freeman of the 52nd ohio infantry was admitted to general hospital number 11 in louisville, and was suffering from not only a fever, but sexual incompatibility. [laughter] a woman froman was
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ohio who had been in service for 16 weeks. decemberischarged in for "being a woman in disguise of a soldier." all of her military records are available in the national archives. >>. she suffered from a fever as well. >> she did, as long as sexual incompatibility. >> women soldiers are mentioned in official military correspondence. one soldier wrote a letter to the provost marshal in baltimore. present twohonor to female color guards. they were arrested for loitering about the camps dressed in the u.s. uniform and claiming to first to company k virginia calvary. it is reported they have another companion, if not several, of the same persuasion, who will be gobbled as soon as possible by the authorities.
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i recommend you make a levy on some of the generous of baltimore." the team at harpers ferry was a real hotbed. corroborates it. he mentions 12 other women soldiers being brought into the provost's office over the course of two months. among the rebel prisoners was a female reb. she has a delicate voice, but not very good-looking. her name is sarah mitchell, alias charlie west. when she was captured, her voice belied her and she was soon found out. she is a spunky specimen of the female gender. she succeeded in making her escape from the guard house the night before last. she was retaken last night and morning.n again this
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she boasted she would get away again, but i think she will be disappointed in her expectations. she is to be taken to washington tomorrow. " senter account rights, "we away another of the questionable characters in the personification of a female woman in a soldier's uniform. there are five more of the same class still loitering about who will be nabbed as speedily as the committee discovers their whereabouts." has a facele, she was similar to a crocodile and a voice as sweet as a cracked fiddle or an old cowbell or bellows." [laughter] other then that, how did you really feel about her? >> exactly. [laughter] >> women soldiers were sometimes
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found out after an accident or indiscretion revealed their true gender. one incident of local interest is as follows. in february 1865, in a letter to his sister, sergeant william e clark wrote the following. officersr day, the detected a girl in their ranks. she had been with them since last fall and had gone through the campaign in the valley. she was on drill and fainted away. one man took some water, and opened her blouse to pour the water on her breast, when lo what met his view, a beautiful pair of blank." [laughter] we leave you to fill in the blanks. twoell sheridan writes of men.
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"while on a foraging expedition, these amazons got very drunk and on the return had fallen into stone river and nearly drowned. after they had been fished from the water and in the process of resuscitation, therir sex was disclosed. they were personally interviewed by the general before being dismissed from the army." speaking of accidents and indiscretions, if you are a woman soldier and do not want to be discovered, don't get pregnant. one man wrote home the following, "a man was promoted to sergeant for gallant conduct, since which time the sergeant has become the mother of a child. what use have we for women if soldiers in the army can give birth to children?
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" a lieutenant colonel reported in a letter dated april 1863 to his mother. when i was last on duty as general officer of the day, i came across a singular case of illness on the picket line. a corporal from the new jersey regimen, on duty, complained of being unwell. no notice was given to his complaint that first. symptomsand other increase, becoming so evident that his officers had him carried to a nearby farmhouse. there, the worthy corporal delivered a recruit for the regiment. birth by soldiers is not .imited to the eastern s
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murphysboro, 1863. i bring your attention to a flagrant outrage committed in your command. an orderly sergeant was today delivered of a baby, which is violation of all military law and of the army regulations. no such case has been known since the days of jupiter. you will apply a proper punishment and a remedy to avoid a repetition of the act." >> women soldiers continued to be discovered after the war. was onlyshier, discovered in 1911 when she was injured in an automobile accident. she enlisted with the 95th illinois infantry in august 1862. she fought with the regimen at the siege of vicksburg in 1863.
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she participated in the red river campaign of 1864. she fought in the b battle of nashvil and would -- the battle of nashville. after the war, she continued living as a man until the automobile accident in 1911. person group was kept by surgeons and friends until 1913, when the story was leaked to the press. an investigation for pension fraud in suit following the newspaper stories revealing her true gender. at this time, she was suffering from dementia and was committed to watertown state hospital. she was forced to live in a woman's ward and wear a dress. because she had not worn a dress since she was a little girl, she would trip and fall, and she broke her hip and was bedridden for the rest of her life. nevertheless, her comrades in arms rallied to support her.
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they visited her when she was in in theare, and testified fraud investigations that she was unmistakably the same brave andier of company g, demanded she be cared for and treated properly as a civil war veteran. in december 1814 -- 1914, she was cleared of front charges based on the testimony of her comrades. buried inn 1915, was her uniform, and received full military honors. today, archival and database research is ongoing to identify and verify the service of women soldiers in the civil war. the premise is a challenging one, as these women did not want to be identified as women. they disguised themselves as men, took aliases, would give sose aliases to reporters they could reenlist with another regiment when they had the chance to do so. this makes reports of women soldiers against archival
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documents difficult. >> one recently discovered woman soldier who was the subject of current research by a friend of ans is maria lewis, african-american woman who enlisted with the 8th new york calvary. she was a member of an honor guard who came to washington near the end of the war. in april 1865, she presented herself to northern abolitionists, who were assisting free slaves in virginia. a quaker school teacher wrote in her diary the following, "a colored woman has been here who has been with the eighth new york cavalry for the last 18 months. she wore a uniform, rode a horse, carried a sword in a carbine like a man. the officers protected her. the regimen did not know she was a woman.
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she was called george harris, but her real name is maria lewis. she was from virginia, and escaped to the union army. it was not convenient to leave the army at first, and she soon became accustomed to it and began to like the excitement. in the front ranks and skirmished as they did. maria lewis is one of the latest discoveries of women serving in the rights of men during the civil war. previously undocumented references to women soldiers turned up in letters, diaries, memoirs, wartime columns and literature, and newspaper accounts. historians continue to collect research and corroborate these references. who fought as soldiers in the american civil war are not usually mention in classrooms in history books. these women expressed a love for country that defies social expectations. they risked their reputations and lies to serve governments
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that would arrest in discharge trueem if their identities were revealed. these women for the definition of courage. it is fitting that their story as sarah edmonds wrote, "i can only thank god i was free and could go forward and work, and i was not obliged to stay at home and weep." thank you very much. [applause] >> i am sure you guys have lots of questions. we do have c-span here tonight, so if you could wait for the boom mic to come around so they can pick up the question and the answer, we would greatly appreciate that. if you have any questions, feel free to ask. >> in as much as thousands of
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soldiers were killed on the battlefield and were quickly buried, do you suspect it might be a lot more women who served them what you discover -- than what you discovered so far? >> it is very possible. >> that is one of the questions we get a lot, how many? and we are never going to know that. wakeman is a case in point. if those letters had not serviced, we never -- surfaced, we never would have known that body was female. who knows how many more were buried with their male aliases. there is no way to know. punishment when they did catch the women and sent them back to washington? >> they were in prison for a time, and they were usually discharged and told to go home.
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but a lot of times, like frances hook, she went out-of-state and found another regiment and enlisted in another regiment. but the actual military punishment was imprisonment and discharge. >> at the beginning, you mentioned motives to join. up moreotive popping than others? am trying -- economics certainly plays a role. given if you are an unmarried and you have1860's a lot of low-paying jobs or you in wakeman's case, a family
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with a heavy debt, one of the easiest ways -- not easy, but straightforward way, is to disguise yourself as a man and take a male job. in this case, it was soldiering. reasons.conomic but you also find people following loved ones. you have mary galloway. there is a lot of the council of women that would follow a lover to battle. >> someone we did not mention tonight was a woman who followed her husband into the confederate army. they both worked unionist sympathizers, but they were trying to avoid the confederate constructors that -- constructors that were coming around and forcibly recruiting folks. she did not want to be left at whileo tend to the farm
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her husband was fighting a war that he did not want to fight on. so she went with him. toward the end of the war when the south was running out would that have been a large motivation for more women to join? and if they did, did the south turn a blind eye saying, if you can shoot a gun and wear a uniform, we are not saying nothing? [laughter] say -- i don't know if you want to chime in. probably was at big motivation for folks to turn a blind eye toward the end of the war. like you said, especially if the
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didn was a good soldier, her duty, fired the gun, and had your back in battle, we are not going to complain because we cannot -- beggars cannot be choosers. say gut instinct is to yeah, but there is no way we can ever corroborate that. >> that is the thing. is there any history about any women that might have made it into the academies or military schools? >> not that we found. >> my wife is from lebanon, kentucky. it is a very close knit community with a lot of oral history, and this is the first time either one of us has heard
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of sarah. >> sarah edmonds, yes. >> it is very interesting. of course, the other lady of the trio was from louisville, about an hour south, an area where volunteers went to both sides. >> yes. have you come across any evidence where fellow soldiers turned against the women? it seems like you reported that they seemed to support their fellow soldier, but was there any indication -- but was there any indication that soldiers were against having a female, that they were upset? this perished them in any way? >> not that we know of.
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usually it is positive when they are revealed. >> the only person who would be upset with the officers. because they would be like, how did this get by -- >> court-martial. [laughter] >> if it was another private soldier, usually they were ok with it. >> i am sure this phenomenon is not peculiar only to the civil war. have you found any references in u.s. history, perhaps revolutionary war or other wars, where there were women under wraps serving in the ranks? >> the first woman soldiers i found out about was when i was about 10 years old and i was going to school in massachusetts, and we learned about her in history class studying the american revolution. samson, and deborah
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she served in massachusetts company during the american revolution. the commonwealth of massachusetts ended up giving her a pension at the end of the war. and there are other women in the revolution that we know about. >> and in the richmond area? >> yes. >> and molly prichard, although she was not a woman soldier, she was just with her husband. did they give the women the same amount of pension they would give a man? she was the only woman that kind of was recognized, woman soldier, she got $12 a month for her pension. i am assuming that is pretty comparable to what a man would receive, so yes. then the ones that received a pension that were not known like
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albert would have received the same amount, whatever their disability, the percentage of their disability. >> did you find anything in your research about sailors? >> we have not found anything. >> we would like to, but we have not. not yet. our guests is because of the -- guess is because of the close quarters on a ship, it may be a little more difficult to hide. but hey, who is to say? somebody might turn up. we don't know. the'm just curious about discovered pregnancies and subsequent births of children.
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-- there, i mean, was there is there evidence these were maybe resulting from women who had followed their husbands or lovers into battle, or was there any evidence of any sort of promiscuity that may have occurred with women enrolling in the ranks? saide of the quotes i read she had shared a tent and they were intimate friends. there was that sort of implication there. but the others, i mean, there is no real way that we know. we don't really know their names. we don't know any way we could tell. where are you getting most of your information? where is your treasure chest of
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information that you are finding? is it city records, burial records, family letters? are, the majority of the research is blanton and cook, from their book, and richard hall, and the scholars that are working on the subject and have worked on the subject since the 1990's. we are finding things just -- i mean you found charles moulton. >> yeah. >> reading along, not looking for women, and wham!, there it is. there is another one. [laughter] yes, i was reading charles moulton's book about his time in harpers ferry. .ecause i love harpers ferry he was with the massachusetts
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regiment. i'm from massachusetts. i was reading his book and he keeps mentioning all these women popping up and coming into the provost marshal's office. i am like, this is amazing. when we were doing further research we found alonzo pratt, ladder -- pratt's letter cooperates charles molten's. alonzo pratt wrote to baltimore about the same women. that is always cool, corroboration is awesome. as far as sources, the national archives is great. those references to sexual incompatibility and those things. adrey: sophia blanton is archivist. she has found a lot of this material and pointed us, go
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there, look at this. [laughter] the torch. past she is not actively researching these women anymore. anytime we would come up with something, we would send it to , you dealould be like with it. you found it, it is yours. tracey: we have a friend of ours who is working on a book, shall be harold -- shelby harold. women soldiers of mississippi. the women soldiers from mississippi and women soldiers fighting in mississippi. she is carrying on the torch. she will be working on a book on women soldiers in general in the civil war. she is phenomenal. if i can shamelessly plug her forthcoming publication, i will. phenomenal. do any of the national parks
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have historical markers or pamphlets available that talk about women soldiers in the civil war? is that something that could be done in the future? >> i know shelby has mentioned a couple battlefields that have run with it. then there are battlefields that don't want to have that. >> they don't want to open that can of worms. >> the kind of squish it. >> distance themselves. >> i know at antietam they have a list at the front desk, because we both volunteer at antietam. there is a list at the front desk of women soldiers that fought at antietam, so if anyone
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asks, it is available for folks to read. they so spotlight demons in the bookstore -- sell information in the bookstore there. if you don't know, you don't know. tracey: right, right. >> before posing my own question, i guess something of an additional answer to that, in the town of song min, illinois, there is preserved the house where albert cashier lived. i have been there. >> it is on our bucket list. is, in yearsn after the war, from officials, there was a real attempt to downplay and deny all of this happened. i ask you to talk about that a little bit.
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eanney: i know that d mentioned in they felt like demons, people writing to the archives requesting information on women soldiers were told flat out there where non-. there weren't any. it is a question whether it was expunged from the records, you know, the regimental books. took -- feltnders it was -- >> embarrassment. >> it reflected badly on their command and so it was pushed under the rug, yeah. and then people didn't want to talk about it. >> yeah. i have a question. -- thell finding that
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men out there are still trying to control this as something that is not to be really known about? i don't want to make a general statement. there are a lot of people that have been open to this. but there are some naysayers out there that say, you know, particular historian comes to mind i will not mention, but says there were only three. maybe two. >> two or three at the most. >> at the most. how many of these women that were a part of the civil war then stayed into the army during the indian wars and all of that kind of thing, for the movement out west? is the only one that has been documented. she became a buffalo soldier. cafe williams.
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we just don't know. is most of these women after the war were done and ready to go back home. to trygot to be a strain and maintain that persona all that time. >> not only fighting, your hiding who you are. -- you are hiding who you are. take that further and continue it and go out west, i don't know. i don't know. i only know cathy williams, she was an african-american woman. she was a cook or -- she was with the army but not a soldier in the civil war, then became a soldier, a buffalo soldier. regarding dr. mary walker, so she -- a lot of people fought to
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give her recognition, including i believe her cousin general sherman, who put her up for the metal. -- medal. i don't think they realized they were cousins and related. name -- mylker is my grandparents'. as i read what he said about her, then her story, i mean, they were cousins but they didn't know it. they were related. real the war, she was a feminist. she was marching for the vote. >> yep. >> my question is, she made a statement. women have proven themselves in battle, and they should be allowed to be in the military and be paid equal pay. has any of her statements or
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history influenced that women today have more equal part in the military, or is that kind of like an isolated story about her and none of the things she did moved forward? matt: i can actually say something about that. tour of duty, i was an rotc commander at eastern illinois university in charleston, illinois. annually i would do a -- i would at a feminisms women in the military. i would actually bring up dr. mary walker every time. i know at least there is 90 people in illinois who know her. >> [laughter] >> get the word out. [laughter]
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>> [laughter] you participate in reenactments, and how many women are involved in reenactments of history? >> we both have done reenactments, yes. there aren't that many of us. i was going to say, there is more than some people like. >> [laughter] [speaking simultaneously] fore get a lot of pushback being there. >> what are your aliases than? >> we don't really have aliases. >> i am max. >> and imgs. -- i am cheese. >> [laughter] >> you think we are getting, we are not. we are the mac and cheese of the
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reenactment world. >> let's get one more round of applause for our speakers. [applause] you, all. thank you. i want to say we have a recommended reading list from the back table there and examples of the books we have used for our research, so take a list home if you want to pursue the topic. >> thanks, everyone, for coming out tonight. we will see you all next month. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer 1: learn more about the people and events that shaped the civil war and
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reconstruction on "american history tv," here on c-span three. you are watching "american history tv," 48 hours of american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter @ cspanhistory for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. abraham and mary lincoln lived in this spring hill home from 1841 to 1861. lincoln was elected congressman 1860.6 and president in lincoln's sans robert todd lincoln donated the family home to the state of illinois in 1887. coming up we visit the lincoln residential library and museum to learn more about the life of our 16th president.


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