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.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Town She Left Behind - Frances Hook's La Moille, Illinois

Mark and I stopped by woman soldier Frances Hook's hometown yesterday.  Located in Bureau County in northern  Illinois, La Moille was settled in the 1830's and named for the Lamoille River Valley in Vermont.  Yes, Lamoille is another spelling.  I have also seen it listed as LaMoille with no space.  As for the pronunciation - well, I discovered I had been saying it "wrong" the whole time.  Down here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the French Canadian influences can be readily seen and heard in the names of our towns and surnames of the people.  So I naturally wanted to pronounce La Moille like what I was used to.  Nuh uh.  It's la - MOIL, as in the last part rhymes with oil like you put in your vehicle.  And now it's going to be difficult to change the way I say it because I had been pronouncing it a certain way for so long.  Plus, we  Southerners have problems saying "oil."  Just ask us.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Spanish Fort: A Woman Soldier Experiences One of the Last Engagements of the War

In the spring of 1865, the Confederacy was in its final death throes.  Lee was being run into the ground by Grant in the east.  And then in the west, the Federals had turned their attention to capturing Mobile, which was one of the best fortified cities in the Confederacy.  Admiral David Farragut damned the torpedoes and, on August 5th, 1864, made a run past Forts Gaines and Morgan which guarded the the entrance to Mobile Bay.   This is ironic because Farragut spent his childhood on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, about 30 miles from Mobile.  He was born in Tennessee but moved with his family to the Gautier area.  You can pronounce it as either GO-shay or GO-chay.  Both will work.  But some sources say it wasn't Gautier anyway but Pascagoula.  My research points towards Gautier.  There is a Farragut Lake north of Gautier, and there are still descendants of the admiral's in the area.  Matter of fact, I have played tennis with/against one.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Making a Break in Milledgeville: Women Using the Military to Escape the Law

Motivational factors that drove women into the ranks varied.  For some, the army served as a refuge from oppressive situations at home, which had turned into a virtual prison for them.  Some women, however, joined the ranks in order to escape a literal confinement after finding themselves behind bars as a result of poor life choices.  Such is the case of at least two women who were serving time in the state penitentiary in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Manuscript Announcement

This is my 100th post to my blog, and I thought it would be appropriate to share news regarding my manuscript.  You probably didn't even know there was a manuscript.  Well, surprise!  I submitted it to a university press at the end of August after diligently working on it for the past two years.  The assistant to the director at the press told me they would get back with me within ten to twelve weeks.  After enduring the agony of waiting, I received encouraging news from an acquisition editor earlier this week,  

"We had the opportunity to discuss your project at our last acquisitions meeting, and I am happy to say everyone was quite interested and agrees it would be a good fit for us."

Yay!  That is definitely promising.  But it's really just the beginning.  So what's next?  The editor is going to submit my manuscript to peer reviewers.  When I sent off my original version back in August, I included the names of five individuals who would be willing to review my work.  (Yes, I asked them first.)  So I'm not sure if the chosen reviewers will come from my list or will be individuals that the press selects from possible contacts they already have.  Or perhaps both.  Regardless, these individuals will compose and submit a report to the press.  I should know something by the new year depending on how busy the holidays get for everybody.  These reviewers will determine whether the work should be published and provide suggested edits.  

Hopefully, I will have good news to report.  So keep checking back.

  Until next

Monday, October 16, 2017

Are These Women Soldiers? Part 3!

I shared some images before of soldiers that may have been women.  Click [HERE] and [HERE] for for the posts.   Here are some more.  What do you think?  Even if they're actually men (or young boys), their feminine appearance makes it easy to see how a woman soldier could blend in.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Laundresses: Warriors of the Washboard

In my last blog post, click [HERE], I talked about orderlies or servants, in which capacity some women served while disguised as men.  Some women, however, provided support services while in their true feminine identities.  These women were employed by the military as nurses, cooks, and laundresses. This article will focus on laundresses, also called washerwomen.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Serving Their Country: Women Soldiers As Orderlies

During my research, I have increasingly noticed more and more women soldiers who served as orderlies on both sides.  Acting in such capacity means that they would have been tasked with such chores as making coffee for the officers, caring for their uniforms and horses, helping with their meals, and other similar responsibilities.  In short, they were servants.  Because orderlies were considered noncombatants, they would have remained in the rear with the wagons and out of the direct line of fire.  The post was not devoid of risk, however.  Orderlies would have been exposed to overshot artillery rounds during battles and diseases.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Colors of Erin: The Flag of Chicago's Irish Legion

Recently, my friend, Tom, treated Mark and me to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Illinois Military Museum in Springfield.  We were joined by another friend, Chris, who had already seen all the cool things we were about to.  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jennie Hodgers-After She Came Marching Home

After returning home to Illinois upon the conclusion of three years' service with the 95th Illinois Infantry, Jennie Hodgers relocated to four different towns before finally settling in Saunemin in 1869.  With her secret still intact, she maintained her male disguise and continued to take advantage of opportunities denied to women.  She voted in elections when it was still illegal for women to do so and worked at a variety of jobs including farmhand, day laborer, handyman, child sitter, janitor, property caretaker, and town lamplighter.  The ex-soldier was not only popular among her male comrades with whom she fought, but she was also respected and highly regarded by civilians she encountered during her post-war life.  One of the families for whom she worked, the Chesbros, even bought her a house, which still stands today and is open to tourists.   You can read a post about the house by clicking [HERE].