Women weren’t allowed to join either army during the American Civil War, but according to Leonard, many young women were driven not only by “Patriotism and the love of a good man…” but also by “…their quest for adventure and their hope for a different sort of paying job than was typically available to them.”
My upcoming release from The Wild Rose Press, Confederate Rose, is the story of a fictional woman, an Irish immigrant, who went on such a quest. But although Katie O’Reilly is a figment of my imagination, she’s based on the stories I’ve read of the real heroines who fought this war and were up until now, mostly forgotten.
And if you visit my website, you’ll have a chance to win a copy of the September 25th release.
Blurb: Disguised as a man to serve with her husband as a soldier in the Confederate Army, Irish immigrant Katie Rose O’Reilly vows to remain in the ranks and seek revenge on Yankees after her husband is killed at Sharpsburg. When she falls and almost drowns in a swollen stream, Southerner Alexander Hart, a Yankee spy, saves Katie from drowning then nurses her through a resulting fever, keeping his identity secret from the feisty and beautiful Rebel soldier even as he finds himself falling in love with her. Can Katie reconcile her loyalties with her love?
“What? Are you telling me you were kissing him?” His blood heated at the thought of her moving on to another man.
“I was tryin’ to escape.”
“By kissing him?”
“Aye.” Anger flashed in her eyes. “And it was working until you came along and hit the poor lad.”
He grasped her forearm and pulled her from the guardhouse. They couldn’t stay here debating. “Come on, we’ve got to get out of camp. I fear I’ve compromised my cover.”
“But what about Nate?” she protested. “You may have killed him.”
Sighing, Alex knelt and felt for a pulse. The lad’s breathing was regular, his pulse steady. “Reckon he’ll be out for awhile, but aside from a nasty headache and some bruising, should be all right.” He rose and glanced into the guardhouse. “They’ll reckon you clobbered him when he came for your dinner plate.” He caught her worried gaze. “Now, let’s skedaddle.”
She nodded, but eyed him again. “Why are you dressed as a priest?”
“It’s a disguise. I’m ministering to the Rebel soldiers.” His eyes roved to the white vee of her bosom. “Button your shirt before we go. We don’t want to attract any more attention.”
I felt compelled to write this romance/adventure story after reading the true accounts of those daring heroines of the past.
If you’d like to read these true life, inspiring stories as well, they’re contained in the books
All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies by Elizabeth D. Leonard and An Uncommon Soldier by Lauren Cook Burgess, the Civil War letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman.