Hi friends! Surprise! It’s me! And it’s a surprise to me I’m doing this! XD So, you may or may not have known that … ALBTALBS was down for a few days? Because of problems and tech support and I just can’t be bothered because my insides are rebelling so what time I’ve been able to rest I’ve been trying to do that. But here I am!
And today I want to talk about Sarah Emma Edmonds. (Who was also mentioned in Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy so I really should’ve read that book for my TBR Challenge… but I didn’t. Worse all the books I’ve read today have been just … :\ “meh” so I feel like Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance is my theme song of the day. Cuz of not me, but you know, the reading.)
Ok enough of my babbling. Clearly I need more cocktails. Sarah Emma Edmonds! Let’s chat about her! I admit I haven’t heavily researched her. (Guess I’m still on the “shitty ass whatever I’m done with school and won’t be doing any more of that.”) So this is again based on what I heard from Karen Abbott, and what appears to be reputable sources from around the web after a cursory search.
Sarah Emma Edmonds was born in December 1841. She was also known as Frank[lin] Thompson … because she disguised herself as a man and fought for the Union in the Civil War! … How cool is that?! She also apparently fell in love with one of her fellow soldiers but of course she couldn’t do anything about it because you know “she was a dude” – and just … ahh, right? RIGHT?! SOMEONE NEEDS TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THAT. (Apparently the guy was also drawn to her but couldn’t figure it out because you know – dude.) In fact, this image is Sarah as Frank. (Thanks public domain!)
Sarah Emma Edmonds was actually born in Canada, as Sarah Emma Edmondson. Her father was apparently a farmer and resented the fact that she was a girl, so you know, his loss. She fled Canada to get away from her (abusive?) father and an arranged marriage. And she changed her name to Edmonds. (Some things were simpler then, no?) She became a traveling Bibles sales[man] as Franklin Thompson in Hartford, Connecticut. “On May 25, 1861, Edmonds was mustered into the 2nd Michigan Infantry as a 3 year recruit.” She saw some action in the war, and you can read about it here. What breaks my heart is that she left the army and was listed as a deserted because she got malaria and was afraid to get treated for it. Being totally awesome, Sarah then became a nurse to help the war effort.
In 1897, Edmonds was admitted into the Grand Army of the Republic, the only woman member. One year later, on September 5, 1898, Edmonds died at her home in La Porte, Texas. In 1901, she was re-buried with military honors at Washington Cemetery in Houston.
Sarah wrote a book, Nurse and Spy in the Union Army and it’s free as a kindle book!!!
So a little more detail, she enlisted as a male nurse, and was at the Second Battles of Manassas and Antietam. How badass was she? (And there are records that show when the situation called for it, she’d pick up a weapon and fight. And that her fellow soldiers liked and respected her, and welcomed her into her group years later when she’d been “outed” – and was trying to get a pension.)
She is also said to have served as a Union spy and infiltrated the Confederate army several times, although there is no official record of it. One of her alleged aliases was as a Southern sympathizer named Charles Mayberry. Another was as a black man named Cuff, for which she disguised herself using wigs and silver nitrate to dye her skin. And yet another was as Bridget O’Shea, an Irish peddler selling soap and apples.
It kinda tickles me that she was allegedly “in disguise” as a woman. 😀 It makes me sad though that Sarah “married L. H. Seelye, a Canadian mechanic” in 1867. She had three children, which is great, but my little romance loving heart wishes it had been her fellow Union soldier.
Had you guys ever heard about Sarah? I think historians believe ~400 women were involved in fighting in the Civil War? Probably there were more. Imagine the bravery and heroism that led a woman to do such a difficult thing.
Do you have a favorite female soldier? Or female spy? Someone in disguise? We’ll be talking more female figures and awesomeness … well in general, but of course this month. So let’s chat! Who should we be talking about?