Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Jackson, Mississippi Arsenal Explosion

Recently, I came across Raina's Facebook page and found her information interesting.  She is writing a book on women working in arsenals, some of whom perished in explosions at various sites.  The working title is In the Midst of Youth and Beauty:  Women in Civil War Arsenals.  You can visit her Facebook page by clicking (HERE) and blog (HERE).  In reading some of her material, I learned that there was an explosion at the arsenal in Jackson, Mississippi which I wasn't aware of.  Because I also enjoy learning about and sharing my own state's history, I asked her to write an article about this event, which she graciously did.  It appears below.   Thanks, Raina!  Following her article, I include information about women soldiers who worked in arsenals....or attempted to.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

My Talk for the Shieldsboro Rifles SCV Camp

"I don't need to test the amp," I said.  "It has always worked fine," I said.  So as I prepared for the first talk of the year, I didn't drag it out and hook it up to ensure it was in good order like the rest of my equipment. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Aiming to Do Her Part-Mercy Street's Woman Soldier

A new character made an appearance on the latest episode of Mercy Street, a soldier named Private Ames who came in with a sick comrade.  The youngster seemed extra protective and concerned.  As events began to unfold, we learned that Private Ames was a woman soldier disguised as a male.  What gave her away?  The French illustrator said she knew because, as she put it, her adeptness at anatomical drawings allowed her to pick up on the woman soldier's bodily nuances.  As for everybody else.....well, she kind of betrayed herself  with the extreme hand holding and the kissing, which would have NEVER happened in public!!  The real women soldiers were discovered after becoming a casualty, or falling ill, or putting their stockings on in a feminine way, wringing out a dishrag in a feminine manner, sneezing like a girl, wearing clothes that were too big, instinctively trying to catch apples with nonexistent aprons, "giving a woman's squeal," trying to don trousers over the head.  But they were never detected while smooching on a man.  While many women soldiers enlisted to be with a husband or sweetheart, they kept their emotions in check because they were terrified of being discovered, and that was one sure fire way of being outed..  Sarah Emma Edmonds, alias "Franklin Thompson" of the 2nd Michigan Infantry, offered perhaps the best illustration of this fear when she wrote that she would rather have been shot dead than to have been discovered and sent away from her regiment like a criminal (Edmondson file, RG 15, National Archives).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

Vicksburg: POW Exchange Point

During the summer of 1862, the Dix-Hill Cartel created a system regulating prisoner exchanges.  This included enlisted men (and women), officers, civilians, and civilians employed by the military, such as teamsters and sutlers. You can read the details of the agreement by clicking (HERE).  One element of this system was establishing sites that would serve as exchange points.  City Point was chosen for the east and Vicksburg for the west.

At least one woman was exchanged at Vicksburg under this cartel.  Mary Ann Clark was captured in Kentucky in late 1862.  The unit she was with and the battle where she was taken vary.  Most accounts claim it was Richmond (KY). But I have also seen it listed as Perryville.  And then another source says she was captured by a Federal detachment, which indicates she was serving picket, out on a patrol, or foraging, if this had indeed been the situation when she was taken.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The KGC in Villisca, Iowa and Facts About the Free State of Jones

The Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) was a secret society that sought to extend slave-holding territory through annexation.  Click (HERE) to read an article I wrote last year about a woman soldier who claimed to be a member of the organization.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Are These Women Soldiers? Part 2!

Last year, I posted some images from the Library of Congress that I thought were interesting.  Click (HERE) to see it.

Mr. Frank Vattelana sent me the following photographs and gave me permission to share them.  The inscriptions are his labels.   What do you think?  Female soldiers?

II Corps, 2nd Division, AOP

114th New York

Benton Barracks, St. Louis



I'll post another batch another time.

Until next formation....rest.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Review of "Inventing Loreta Velazquez" by William C. Davis

Published by Southern Illinois University Press in October 2016, William C. "Jack" Davis' book, Inventing Loreta Velazquez:  Confederate Soldier Impersonator, Media Celebrity, & Con Artist, discusses the controversial woman who claimed service in the Confederate army


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sophronia Smith Hunt-29th Iowa Infantry

Satronia is how her name appeared in her obituary that was carried by newspapers from across the country.  Though she died in August 1928, she just received a headstone this past Veterans Day.  She had lain in an unmarked grave for over 80 years.   Click (HERE) to read more.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Casting Their Lots

The women's suffrage movement began in 1848 when the initial women's rights convention was held at Seneca Falls, New York.  The right to vote was still a long time coming.  But that didn't deter some women.  In 1852, one appeared at the polls in New York disguised as a man.  However, her smooth face betrayed her and her ruse was discovered.
New Orleans Times Picayune, November 13th, 1852