Monday, June 11, 2018

"Miriam Rivers" - A Civil War Novel (1865)

Published by Barclay & Co. from Philadelphia, this 1865 novel, Miriam Rivers, The Lady Soldier or General Grant's Spy, is set in an unnamed Midwestern town.  From the beginning, readers will note contradictions in reality and that things aren't what they seem.  For instance, the furniture of Miriam's cottage appears costly but isn't.  Miriam's sister, Edith, is wearing a plain dress when the author introduces the reader to the family.  Yet, there is nothing plain about her beauty.  Miriam is slightly above medium height, but doesn't appear to be that tall.  She isn't stout but yet her appearance exudes "strength and endurance."  The author is using these contradictions to foreshadow things to come with Miriam.  And while Rivers defies societal norms, her actions show that she is nevertheless able to remain within the sphere of Victorian womanhood.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Shiloh Revisited

You may have read or heard about the woman soldier whose body was discovered at Shiloh in 1934.  I wrote a brief post about her several years ago.  The title was "Woman of Shiloh."  But then I had to change the name to "WOMEN of Shiloh" when I discovered that she was not the only one who had lost her life in that terrible battle.  Click [HERE] to read the post.

When I first started researching women soldiers of the Civil War over ten years ago, I felt that a lot of the accounts were not complete and that there was more to learn.  Dissatisfied, I set out to try to find answers.  And thus, Mark and I have embarked on quite a few adventures.  I'm sure he is growing weary of my incessant queries.  How?  Who?  Where? When? Why?  WHy??  WHY????  It's as if I have regressed back to my toddler days or something.  Thankfully, Mark is very patient and I would not have learned nearly as much as I have without his expertise in everything military.  But, I can't help that I'm inquisitive and enjoy sleuthing.   Naturally, the Mystery Woman of Shiloh has always been on my radar.  And even though she will always remain an enigma, please allow me to indulge in my geekiness nevertheless. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Outrunning Her Discretion at Camp Randall

March is typically when my spring break falls.  And I have no idea why, but it seems that Mark and I tend to go somewhere colder for some reason - like the Midwest where he is.  This year, we visited the great, white tundra of Wisconsin.  With snow still on the ground, we made our way north to the state capital, Madison, the location of Camp Randall.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Introducing My Book: "Behind the Rifle: Women Soldiers in Civil War Mississippi"

I am pleased to announce that last week the University Press of Mississippi officially notified me that they are going to publish my book, Behind the Rifle:  Women Soldiers in Civil War Mississippi.  They are anticipating March 2019.  Check back for updates!

In the meantime, you can read more about my book by clicking [HERE].

Until next formation...rest.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Flags of the 95th Illinois Infantry

Civil War soldiers revered their battle flags.  Crafted by ladies from their homeland and presented in patriotic ceremonies, these banners were the lifeblood of the unit and tangible bridges to their loved ones soldiers left behind.  As a result, a soldier developed a fierce loyalty to his (or her) flag and would sacrifice life and limb to protect it as it became an embodiment of hearth and home.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"Ye Female Volunteer"

From the Cleveland Daily Leader, March 6th, 1863, 155 years ago today:


The fact that such an article appeared in the newspapers demonstrates in part the extent that women soldiers appeared in the public's consciousness.

Until next formation....rest.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mardi Gras 155 Years Ago

Mardi Gras is huge here along the Gulf Coast region due to our French Catholic heritage.  It was Mobile and not New Orleans where Mardi Gras began.  And the tradition eventually gravitated west.  As for me, I'm not a Catholic and do not celebrate the holiday.  But my sweet tooth heartily embraces king cakes, and I greatly appreciate the two days off from school.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Manuscript Update!

On Groundhog's Day, I received another year on my age, word that the rodent has declared that this infernal winter will last six more weeks, and positive remarks from the peer reviewers regarding my manuscript on women soldiers!  I announced back in November that I had submitted it to a university press and that they were interested.  Click [HERE]. And now, upon the reviewers' recommendation for publication, the university press has offered me a contract!  Happy birthday to me!!!

What's next?  I have to submit a project description and my response to the reviewers' comments by March 1st along with other tasks.  The editorial board will still have to approve publication, which would be at their meeting in April.   And so I will wait to give more details about my manuscript at that time.

Until next formation...rest.





Monday, January 29, 2018

What's in a Name?

The very first thing we often learn about a person is his or her name. Our name is an intimate part of who we are.   It comprises our identity, and we make connections between our name and identity every day.   As for people long gone who we are researching, it will all we will ever be able to learn about them.  In some cases, we learn enough to develop some sort of perception of their personality.  But it's not the same as actually getting to know them.  So we have to rely on names.  I've been researching women soldiers for over ten years now and have encountered lots of names.   

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Town She Left Behind, Part 2

In my last post, I provided a glimpse of La Moille, Illinois, the town woman soldier Frances Hook left behind when she enlisted as a soldier.  Click [HERE] for the post.  In this article....which is more like part 1.5 instead of part 2....I discuss the means in which she left her small town, bound for Chicago.