Last month I talked about the women of Decatur, Illinois, and the service project meeting a daily train carrying wounded warriors to hospitals in the north. The project earned the women the monniker the "Basket Brigade." Other kinds of baskets and brigades involved women, too.
The woman at right
was photographed in camp (check out that basket!), and it appears her family is with her. Did you know that women were present in Civil War camps? Long encampments made that possible. In fact, those camps benefited from the presence of women to cook, mend, do laundry., etc.
Mary Kennerly of St. Louis followed her husband when he joined the Confederate Army. In fact, she gave birth to her third child in a military camp in 1862. She also endured the siege of Vicksburg, serving as a nurse for the wounded members of her husband's unit. When her husband died of dysentery, Mary stayed with the 1st Missouri. She even wore a Confederate uniform and joined the battle of Allatoona, where she was shot in the leg. Mrs. Kennerly returned to St. Louis after the war and lived there until her death in 1894.
Scholars have compiled a list of 100 women who served as soldiers. One of the better known is pictured here.
Frances Clayton served in both artillery and cavalry regiments. Described as an accomplished swordsman, horse rider, and "all-around good soldier," Clayton was wounded at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. She was alongside her husband at the Battle of Stones River when he was killed just steps away from her.
I once photographed the discharge papers of one John Williams on display at the Missouri History Museum. The reason for discharge? "Proved to be a woman."
Kady Brownell of Rhode Island was so well respected by her regiment that at least one poem was written in praise of her service.
Learning about women from the past can be inspiring. What woman from history do you admire most? Why?
Stephanie Grace Whitson celebrates the lives of women who served during the Civil War in both her recent novels.
The newest, A Basket Brigade Christmas (http://bit.ly/1NFUgW8)
was #7 on the ECPA bestseller list for November. To be entered to win a copy, answer Stephanie's question about the woman from history you most admire.
Learn more about Stephanie and her work at www.stephaniewhitson.com.