Sunday, August 5, 2018

From Books to Battlefields: Women Soldiers as Students and Teachers

And just like that, my summer is over, and it's time to go back to school.   While I love my job as a college instructor and have been blessed to have taught with some of the most amazing people throughout my career at all levels, I defy you to find a teacher who rues the end of summer vacation.

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Battle of Peach Tree Creek: "They Fought Like Very Devils"

The Union soldier who uttered those words was referring to Brigadier General Winfield Scott Featherston's Mississippi Brigade of Major General William W. Loring's division, Lieutenant General Alexander P. Stewart's corps, at the Battle of Peach Tree Creek fought on this day in 1864.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Two Female Casualties of Pickett's Charge

After testing the Federal left and right flanks, General Robert E. Lee contrived a plan to attack the Union center.  This futile assault would prove to be the climactic point of the three-day battle of Gettysburg and a costly Confederate defeat.   In terms of the number of killed, wounded, captured, and missing, the South lost over 6,000 soldiers in this charge alone.   At least two of those casualties were women. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Those Panting Women

Editors sometimes displayed a sense of humor when reporting on women soldiers.  The following blurb appeared in newspapers throughout the country and across the pond in England as well.

Vermont Transcript, June 17th, 1864
Of course, the writer is playing on "pants," which women were not allowed to wear.  Doing so was both socially unacceptable and illegal.  When he refers to them "having a pair of pants," women had to acquire a pair somehow since they just didn't own the article of clothing.  Most of them more than likely secretly commandeered trousers from a male relative or even purchased them when they decided to go as a soldier.  And because Victorian women didn't typically wear pants, nobody really knew what they looked like wearing them.  That made a woman soldier more secure from detection.

Until next formation......rest.

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.