Victorians in Disguise – Part V

Another woman who posed as a male soldier was Sarah Edmonds. She enlisted in the 2nd Michigan Infantry under the name of Franklin Thompson on May 14, 1861. She fought at Antietam, Maryland without injury, but a few months later contracted malaria. A medical examination would, of course, have revealed her sex, so she deserted the army, working for a time as a spy.

Disguised as a male slave, wearing “a wig of real Negro wool”, she claimed to have visited Richmond several times.

She attended a regimental reunion as a woman in 1884 and was persuaded by former comrades to petition Congress to revoke her conviction as a deserter and file for a veteran’s pension. According to records of the Grand Army of the Republic, Sarah Emma Edmonds was its sole female member.

From More Civil War Curiosities by Webb Garrison

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2 thoughts on “Victorians in Disguise – Part V”

  1. Thanks, Paisley! You have to remember the time period, though. Women didn’t even have the vote back then and had basically no rights. Men also didn’t think them capable of doing anything outside the home. Even women who wanted to serve as nurses had a hard time getting in. It took mass casualties before they were allowed to nurse troops.

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