Sunday, March 7, 2021

Paying the Price: The Consequences of Discovery

My friend and fellow author, Mark Flotow, periodically sends me accounts relative to my research.  He is the author of In Their Letters, In Their Words:  Illinois Soldiers Write Home.  Visit his website to learn more about him and his research:  Most of the accounts Mark sends me  have a Springfield, Illinois connection since that is where he is from.  His latest submission involved a civilian named Ellen Nolan who was discovered wearing male attire in the city.  Mark commented, "Note the fine amount versus being drunk on 'bad whisky.'"


The $7 discrepancy is a whole different topic, but it gave me the idea to discuss the price women paid - both socially and financially - for daring to overstep the bounds of propriety.

Monday, February 1, 2021

J.R.R. Tolkien's Warrior Woman: Éowyn - Part 5 - Experiences as a Soldier

In my previous posts, I discussed the backgrounds of Éowyn and her historical counterparts.  Research reveals a life of trauma and torment for many of these women that they escaped by joining the military.   Click [HERE] for the prior installment.  In this article, I am going to detail their experiences as soldiers.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Female Home Guard Units

With so many men marching off to war, women found themselves in charge of their homes and hearths.  Among the unconventional roles they assumed in the absence of their male loved ones included managing farms and hunting for food.   In addition to these undertakings which provided for their families, they also formed home guard units in order to protect them.  I mentioned a couple of these in my book, Behind the Rifle.  One unit existed in Chickasaw County, Mississippi:

Raftsmans Journal, April 10, 1861

Chickasaw County, Mississippi - Wikipedia
Chickasaw County

Friday, October 16, 2020

Monday, September 7, 2020

J.R.R. Tolkien's Warrior Woman: Éowyn - Part 4 - Escape

In my previous articles, I introduced Éowyn and examined possible bases for her character and background while illustrating how these concepts parallel those involving women soldiers of the Civil War.  In this piece, I will discuss how these women's dire need for escape from their tumultuous lives ultimately led them to serve clandestinely in military roles.

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Battle of Ezra Church and Women Soldiers

Part of the Atlanta campaign, the Battle of Ezra Church was a nasty affair fought on this day in 1864.  And I was excited to learn recently that a previously undocumented woman soldier fought in it.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Finding "William Bradley": Black Woman Soldier of Miles' Legion

I shared new information regarding the remarkable account of "William Bradley" in my book.  In this article, I'd like to explain the sources I used and how I arrived at the conclusions I did.

To summarize, Pvt. Bradley enlisted in what would become Company G of Miles' Legion and served briefly in April 1862.  All of the infantry units that comprised this legion originated from south Louisiana except for Company G, which was raised in the Natchez, Mississippi area.

"Mustered in through mistake,
was of female sex."

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Video: A Woman Soldier at Camp Strong, Iowa

In this video shot last year, Mark and I talk about Camp Strong, a training camp in Muscatine, Iowa, and a woman soldier who mustered in there.

Monday, June 1, 2020

J.R.R. Tolkien's Warrior Woman: Éowyn - Part 3b - A Background of Cages - Unrequited Love

In my previous article in this series (click HERE), I discussed Éowyn's familial dynamics and how the challenges she faced at home mirrored those that several women soldiers of the Civil War endured.  These trials included growing up without one or both parents and coping with abusive family members.   This blog post reveals another element that pushed these women deeper into despair and ultimately on a path to war:  unrequited love.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

She Sleeps Upon Her Field of Fame

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, I thought it appropriate to briefly share the account of one particular woman soldier who lost her life on May 17, 1863, during the Battle of Big Black River Bridge.  This was the last action before the Confederates retreated into Vicksburg.  I'll have to compose a more detailed account of the engagement itself at a later time.

Yesterday, I visited the site and reflected on this Confederate woman's death and others who shared a similar fate.  Like her sister soldiers who perished, her dead body was discovered by her foes.  And thus, we don't know anything about her.   The scant information available is courtesy Henry Clinton Parkhurst, an Iowa soldier who told of her discovery in his memoirs.  She was a "young woman," he said, and that the incident so moved him, that he composed a poem about it.

They buried her, Clint noted, in a grave "upon her field of fame."   And thus, she may still be resting there on the other side of this bridge where Confederates took up a defensive position.  (This isn't the Big Black River Bridge, by the way.)  I wasn't able to get a good picture, so I had to rely on Google Maps.

But just after crossing the bridge, I snapped this one:

It's just trees and brush — a common sight in any rural area — but it shows the location of the Confederate works, now overgrown.

......and perhaps the final resting place of a woman soldier.

I talk about this woman in my book and shared Parkhurst's poem in full in a previous blog post, which you can read [HERE].  I highly recommend that you do.  The ending is quite poignant:

Her woes unknown, unknown her name
She sleeps upon her field of fame
No storied page her deeds will tell
But calm she sleeps
And all is well.

Until next