They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War

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They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War

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LSU Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At least 250 women served-disguised as men-in the ranks of both North and South during the Civil War. Although works about female Civil War soldiers have appeared over the past several years, this volume, by National Archives archivist Blanton and Cook, a Fayetteville State University employee in North Carolina, makes a nice summation. After covering the major combat actions in which women served (and in which several were killed), the authors reconstruct the reasons why women entered the armed forces: many were simply patriotic, while others followed their husbands or lovers and yet others yearned to break free from the constraints that Victorian society had laid on them as women. Blanton and Cook detail women soldiers in combat, on the march, in camp and in the hospital, where many were discovered after getting sick. Some even wound up in grim prisons kept by both sides, while a few hid pregnancies and were only discovered after giving birth. Many times the rank and file hid them from officers, who were duty-bound to discharge women if they were found out. Some remained in disguise for years after the war; Albert D.J. Cashier (nee Jennie Hodgers) of the 95th Illinois Infantry was only unmasked in 1911, when she suffered a fractured leg in an automobile accident. The authors make a strong case that the controversial Loreta Janeta Velazquez (alias Lt. Harry T. Buford, C.S.A.) actually did perform most of the deeds she wrote about in her 1876 memoir, which has previously been discounted as fiction by most Civil War historians. Solid research by the authors, including a look at the careers of a few women soldiers after the war, makes this a compelling book that belongs in every Civil War library. (Dec.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807128060
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Series: Conflicting Worlds Series
  • Pages: 277
  • Sales rank: 1,081,940
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

DeAnne Blanton, a senior military archivist at the National Archives, specializes in nineteenth-century U.S. Army records. Lauren M. Cook, special assistant to the chancellor for university communications at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, is the editor of An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, Alias Private Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1862-1864.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction: "Entrenched in Secrecy": Women Soldiers of the Civil War 1
1 "They Fought like Demons": A Military History of Women in Combat 8
2 "To Dress and Go as a Soldier": Means and Motivations 25
3 "A Fine Looking Soldier": Life in the Ranks 45
4 "Fairly Earned Her Epaulettes": Women Soldiers in the Military Service 64
5 "Why They Detained Her I Can't Imagine": The Prisoner of War Experience 77
6 "I Would Rather Have Been Shot Dead": Women Soldiers as Casualties of War 91
7 "A Congenital Peculiarity": Women Discovered in the Ranks 107
8 "Romantic Young Ladies": Female Soldiers in the Public Consciousness 145
9 When Jennie Came Marching Home: Women Soldiers in the Postwar Years 163
10 Beyond Heroes or Harlots: The Changing Historical Perspective 193
Conclusion: "I Love My Country": A Summation of Women's Military Service 205
App The Female Warrior Bold 211
Bibliography 215
Notes 231
Index 263
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2008

    Promising Title but............

    HOW DISAPPOINTING - for I really looked forward reading this book, but about a quarter in to it, I gave up! It is so disjointed and the authors jumped from one war to another as well as from one Battlefield location to another! Extremely difficult to follow - a good premise, but a real disappointment! I understand it is hard to speculate on some stories, since we really do not know just how many women fought, nor who they were or their reasons, but why waste my time! I should have trusted my guts when I read the forward and the Authors disclaimed any 'real' knowledge about the facts, but I was darned if I was going to waste more of my time, then I already did! I returned my copy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2006

    Widespread novel on women in the Civil War

    While doing a research paper on women in the Civil War for my English 2H class, I used this book as a resource. I think it's great if you want a book that covers the general topics of females in the Civil War.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2003

    Interesting subject but disappointing presentation

    While the topic of female participation in the Civil War is an interesting one, this book is disappointing. It is poorly presented, similar to reading lists. The format makes it impossible to follow any particular character.

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