American Civil War, Blacks in the Old West, Researching Historical Fiction

Contraband: The Secret to the Union Army’s Success?

I came across this photograph in a magazine with a fascinating article about the often-overlooked impact that refugees from slavery had on the Union’s victory in the Civil War. When three slaves — Shepard Mallory, Frank Baker and James Townsend — fled to the Union-held Fort Monroe, Va., in May 1861, Gen. Benjamin Butler faced… Continue reading Contraband: The Secret to the Union Army’s Success?

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

In her own words: Civil War soldier Sarah Rosetta Wakeman

Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman I went looking for some of the source material for "They Fought Like Demons" and found "An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman," edited by Lauren Cook. It is rare to come across an account written in an everyday woman’s… Continue reading In her own words: Civil War soldier Sarah Rosetta Wakeman

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

How we lost sight of women soldiers

Women soldiers were not a secret during the Civil War. Men wrote letters home about the women discovered in their ranks, most often with surprise and admiration, and newspapers also carried the stories. The knowledge naturally worked its way up to the highest level of both armies, with evidence that Sherman, Sheridan, Burnside, Forrest and… Continue reading How we lost sight of women soldiers

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

How women soldiers avoided detection

Women soldiers in the Civil War had an easier time hiding their identities than you might think, according to DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook’s fascinating book, “They Fought Like Demons.” Soldiers spent the majority of the war outdoors — in tents or on the march. They rarely had an opportunity to bathe or even… Continue reading How women soldiers avoided detection

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

Best-kept secret of the Civil War

I don’t profess to know everything about the Civil War by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I have a pretty good grasp of the basics. However, “They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War” by DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook blew me away. Until I read the book,… Continue reading Best-kept secret of the Civil War