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

Standing Rock Sioux and the Whitestone Massacre of 1863

The effort by the Standing Rock Sioux to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is the largest gathering of Indian tribes in decades. As Mark Sundeen so eloquently put it on Outside Online: “Two of our country’s biggest issues, racism and climate change, have collided on a North Dakota reservation.”

It’s also about history. Police attacked Indian water protectors with dogs in early September, on the anniversary of the Whitestone massacre, in which the U.S. Army slaughtered more than 300 members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in 1863. I was surprised I hadn’t read about the historical event in “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” which made me wonder how many other massacres Dee Brown had to leave out of that litany of heartbreak and devastation. I couldn’t even find a reference to Whitestone in the comprehensive Time-Life Books series on the Old West.

ladonna-brave-bull-allard
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Standing Rock Sioux tribal historian

But the story is far from forgotten. Tribal historian LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, who helped found the Sacred Stone Camp on her land to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline, gives a heart-wrenching account of the massacre through her great-great-grandmother’s experience.

In 1863, the Army was fighting the Dakota Wars against the Sioux and found 4,000 peaceful Indians, mostly Yanktonais and Hunkpatina, gathered at Whitestone for harvest time and to prepare buffalo meat for the winter. When the soldiers arrived led by Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully, the Indians sent their chiefs to meet with them, including Brave Bull Allard’s great-great-great grandfather, the medicine man Brave Buffalo.

The Indians had never fought with the whites, but the soldiers took the leaders prisoner, and the women reacted as they had been taught to do in the presence of an enemy:

“People were starting to tear down their lodges. People were trying to move in the chaos. So the first thing the women did is they tied the babies to the dogs, they tied the children to the horses, and they shooed the dogs and the horses out of the camp. And then they gathered what they could, and they started running.”

They ran into a ravine, and the Army soldiers shot at the women and children from the ridge. Brave Bull Allards’s great-great-grandmother Grey Hand Woman, who was nine years old, was shot in the leg and spent the night crying for her mother. “Everywhere, she could hear the crying and screams, the songs of people dying,” Brave Bull Allard said. In the morning, soldiers threw her in the back of a buckboard wagon, sparing her life for some unknown reason (they did not spare many, and the survivors were taken to a prisoner-of-war camp, which was hardly a gesture of mercy).

“She laid in the buckboard as she watched the soldiers come and start killing the dogs and the babies, killing the horses, killing the wounded. They gathered up all of our property—the tents, the meat, the hides, everything we own. And we had one section of soldiers sitting down there poking holes in the bottom of our pots. And they gathered all that, and they started this great big fire, burning all our food, our homes, everything. They said that there was so much buffalo meat that they burned, that tallow ran down like rivers out into the creeks. And the people ran. For three to four days they ran, as the soldiers continued to chase and kill them.”

More than 300 members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe were killed in the attack; it was the deadliest conflict in North Dakota. Samuel Brown, an interpreter during the 1863 expedition, wrote:

“I hope you will not believe all that is said of ‘Sully’s Successful Expedition’ against the Sioux. I don’t think he ought to brag of it at all because it was what no decent man would have done. He pitched into their camp and just slaughtered them…and the worse of it, they had no hostile intention whatever. The Nebraska 2nd pitched into them without orders, while the Iowa 6th were shaking hands with them on one side. They even shot their own men.”

The surviving prisoners were released in 1870 and returned to the east side of the Missouri River, then the Army moved them to the west side in 1873. But the Sioux kept starting over, and “my grandma told me that in the 1940s we were self-sufficient. We planted our own gardens. We owned our own cattle. Everybody and every community, we owned our own homes.”

whitestone-memorial-dedication
This memorial to the Sioux Indian victims at Whitestone Hill in 1863 was dedicated on July 4, 1942. Basil Two Bears, grandson of the Yanktonai chief at the conflict in 1863, accepted the plaque in the name of five Sioux tribes present. His granddaughter, Alberta Two Bears, unveiled the memorial and is shown standing near it.

Until 1948 when the Army Corps of Engineers “decided to build a dam above us and build a dam below us. So Oahe Dam is below us, Sakakawea Dam is above us. And they designated us as a reservoir. And so they came, and they moved our people out of their homes. They took our homes.”

The Army Corps of Engineers flooded the forests and gardens and businesses and displaced entire communities, moving them to higher ground with clay-based soil that’s not good for growing trees or food. And they lost their infrastructure.

So when the Dakota Access Pipeline was rerouted from Bismarck to pass within 500 feet of the reservation on a map that doesn’t even acknowledge that the reservation exists (let that sink in), the Standing Rock Sioux had had enough. A rupture in the pipeline would hit schoolchildren and a major water intake. It threatens the lives and health of the people and the river. After all, the Army Corps rerouted the pipeline because it could contaminate the drinking water in Bismarck, whose population is 92 percent white.

Brave Bull Allard said that every year, “we go four days without drinking water, so that it reminds us how important this water is. And I ask everybody: Do you go four days without water? What happens to your body on that third day? Your body starts shutting down. So, we remind ourselves every day how important [water is]. We say mni wiconi, water of life.”

The transcript of her account can be found here and a YouTube video is here.

For more insight, read Paul VanDevelder’s excellent “Reckoning at Standing Rock,” which delves into the history of American Indian sovereignty, all the way back to the Founding Fathers.

American Civil War, Famous People of the Old West, Photography and History, Researching Historical Fiction

Historical Icons in Living Color

Photo of Ulysses Grant, colorized by Mads Madsen
A photo of Ulysses Grant colorized by Mads Madsen

The spring issue of the Civil War Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine had photos of Ulysses Grant and Robert E. Lee that I’d seen before, but this time I did a doubletake. The photos were in color.

I was baffled for a moment. There was no color photography during the Civil War. Where had the photos come from, and why had I never seen them before?

I was delighted by the richness and depth. The men looked real—dare I say alive?—in a way they never had before.

According to the credit line, the Library of Congress images had been colorized by Mads Madsen of Colorized History in Denmark. And they were masterfully done.

By an odd coincidence, right around that time, a friend sent me a link to a series of colorized historical photos. They cover a range of time periods and subjects, and they are fascinating.

A photo of Butch Cassidy colorized by Mads Madsen
A photo of Butch Cassidy colorized by Mads Madsen

We often have complex emotional reactions to photographs. But when we look at faded black-and-white images, they can seem stale and as though the people in them were not quite real. Similarly, when we visit historical sites and see the furnishings worn and dulled by age, it’s easy to forget that they were once vibrant and new.

Of course, many amateur and professional photographers take stunning photos in black and white (Ansel Adams leaps to mind), and I wouldn’t want to change that. But a generation of people have now grown up with color photography at their fingertips and though purists might disagree, I say a colorized photograph, done right, can breathe life into a historical image—and make history even more accessible to a whole new generation of history buffs.

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Writing/Rewriting

A Portrait of Rural Life after the Civil War

ASlantofLight_HC

In Jeffrey Lent’s new novel “A Slant of Light,” Union soldier Malcolm Hopeton comes home to his farm in western New York to discover that his wife has run off with his hired hand. What he does in a fit of rage propels him to flee — and sets in motion a somewhat unconventional narrative.

The book didn’t go where I expected it to (no modern-style courtroom drama), and it didn’t end where I expected it to either. Lent often writes in incomplete sentences, in fragments and impressions, and the dialogue was sometimes a mix of old-fashioned formal and more modern (to my ear at least).

But somehow it all worked. When I got to the end, I realized the book was really three interlocking stories of men and women struggling to understand and be understood by each other — to reach beyond the conventions of the times, which had very proscribed roles for women and men despite the close quarters in which they often lived and worked.

The book is also a loving, detailed portrait of farm life in the late 1800s. I went to a local bookstore to hear Lent read from and discuss the book, and his own story is fascinating. He grew up in Vermont and New York, where his father farmed with horse-drawn equipment well past the time everyone else had switched to gas-powered machinery.

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American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Resources and Events for Writers

Ford’s Theatre After Lincoln’s Assassination

After President Lincoln was killed, the government shut down Ford’s Theatre and imprisoned owner John T. Ford for over a month. By the time he was released, arsonists had tried at least twice to burn the building down. When Ford announced plans to reopen the theater, he received so many threats that the government took over again, in the name of public safety, and decreed that it would never be a playhouse again.

Ford's Theatre in April 1865, after Lincoln's assassination. Note the guards at the entrance and the crepe draped from the windows.
Ford’s Theatre in April 1865, after Lincoln’s assassination. Note the guards at the entrance and the crepe draped from the windows.

The building was gutted on the government’s orders and all the furnishings carted away. James L. Swanson, in “Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer,” wrote:

By late November 1865, a little more than seven months after the assassination, the once beautiful theater had been defaced beyond recognition and relegated to a drab, three-floor office building.

Swanson said the government finally bought the theater from Ford, and in true bureaucratic fashion, “the excessive load of tons of documents and office equipment caused all the floors to collapse [in June 1893], crushing twenty-two clerks to death and crippling or injuring sixty-eight more.”

Ford’s Theatre was restored in the 1960s and is a working playhouse again—and a museum to both the assassination and the assassin. It’s well worth a trip if you’re ever in Washington.

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction

Abe Lincoln Dead — Film at 11

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated 150 years ago today, and nearly 60 years ago, the last surviving eyewitness appeared on a TV game show called “I’ve Got a Secret.”

Samuel J. Seymour was 96 when the show aired. The Atlantic posted a video clip of his appearance, and Robbie Gonzalez picked it up on the i09 website. Despite the crunchy quality, the clip is fascinating to watch.

The show’s host references Seymour’s first-person account in the Milwaukee Sentinel on February 7, 1954 (available here). According to Seymour, he was five years old on April 14, 1865, when he traveled to Washington from rural Maryland with the Goldsboros, on whose estate his father worked. He said he was scared by the sight of so many men on the streets carrying guns and was unaware that the city was in a celebratory mood because Robert E. Lee had surrendered a few days earlier.

As a treat, Mrs. Goldsboro took him to a play at Ford’s Theatre. She lifted him up so he could see President Lincoln when he arrived, smiling and waving to the crowd from his box seat.

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American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction

Celebrating the End of the Civil War Today

Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant 150 years ago today, and bells will toll across the country this afternoon to commemorate the occasion.

The bells will peal at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Virginia at 3:00 p.m. (EDT) to mark the time when Lee and Grant concluded their meeting to negotiate the terms of surrender. The National Park Service has invited other organizations to toll their bells at 3:15 for four minutes (for the four years of the war).

I imagine my friends back in the D.C. metro area will hear bells this afternoon, but now that I’m in New England (where the Revolutionary War holds sway over the Civil War and where church bells are not as densely situated), I don’t expect to hear anything. But whatever I’m doing, I’ll pause to consider that historical moment.

Wilmer McLean’s house in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, was the site of Lee’s meeting with Grant to negotiate the Army of Northern Virginia’s surrender to the Union Army. The great Civil War photographer Timothy O’Sullivan took this photo in April 1865; it’s now in the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Division.
Wilmer McLean’s house in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, was the site of Lee’s meeting with Grant to negotiate the Army of Northern Virginia’s surrender to the Union Army. The great Civil War photographer Timothy O’Sullivan took this photo in April 1865; it’s now in the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Division.

Incidentally, the generals met on Palm Sunday in the home of Wilmer McLean, who “famously said that the Civil War began in his backyard and ended in his parlor,” as noted in the Spring 2015 issue of the Civil War Trust’s magazine. McLean’s house was damaged in the first battle at Manassas in 1861 so he retreated farther south, only to have the Union Army choose his home for Grant’s meeting with Lee.

Afterward, the McLeans (ardent Confederates) reluctantly sold “a tremendous number of the home’s furnishings” to Union officers as souvenirs. The house was dismantled in 1893 for display at the Chicago World’s Fair and later use as a Civil War museum in Washington, D.C. — neither of which happened. The house was reconstructed at its original location in 1954, as part of a collection of buildings that attempt to re-create how the village looked in 1865.

Along with the house’s original furnishings, though, the apple tree where Grant waited for Lee to arrive is long gone.

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

Thanksgiving without the Pilgrims

Sarah Josepha Hale. Portrait by James Reid Lambdin.
Sarah Josepha Hale. Portrait by James Reid Lambdin.

Americans owe the modern-day celebration of Thanksgiving to Abraham Lincoln and Sarah Josepha Hale. However, I fear we owe our warm, fuzzy image of Pilgrims and Indians living in harmony to a lazy attitude toward history.

Hale promoted women’s issues through the American Ladies Magazine, which she helped found, and then spent 40 years as editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a highly influential magazine in the 1800s.

She also lobbied tirelessly to have the last Thursday in November designated as a national day of thanks. In the years leading up to the Civil War, she thought such a celebration would help unify the country.

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

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

Contraband

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 a sticky situation: The men’s master had put them to work building an artillery battery for the Confederacy, so returning the runaways would have been aiding the enemy. However, President Lincoln had made it clear that his goal was to crush the Southern rebellion and not to interfere with the “peculiar institution” of slavery.

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Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Lyons Wakeman
American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

In her own words: Civil War soldier Sarah Rosetta Wakeman

Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Lyons 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 voice—not a published book or a diary written by an upper-class woman with an eye on posterity, but honest, unassuming letters written for family back home. They offer valuable insight into real life.

Rosetta Wakeman left home at 19 and pretended to be a man to get a job on a coal barge on the Chenango Canal. Soon after, she joined the 153rd Regiment of the New York State Volunteers for a bounty of $152—more than a year’s wages. She stayed in touch with her family throughout the war. Only her letters to them, and not their replies, survived.

She spent most of her time on guard duty in and around Washington, D.C. When stationed on Capitol Hill, she writes that she can get all kinds of fruit, including watermelon, musk melon, peaches, pears, apples, figs and raisins. She asks her family to send her butter and pies (she doesn’t care for cider or wine). I can’t imagine how they would manage that in the days before refrigerated trucks. She says to send the food by express, which doesn’t clear it up for me.

She served two years of her three-year enlistment before dying of chronic diarrhea in New Orleans in 1864. Despite her increasingly debilitating illness, there is no record that the nurses or doctors discovered her secret. When she died, she was given a soldier’s burial.

For more than a century, her family kept her letters, photo and a silver ring she sent to her mother (it cost 75 cents) in a pine trunk in the attic. Though her family did not talk of her often, they did not disown her, and in the early 1990s, one of her descendants contacted Lauren Cook because they wanted to share Rosetta’s story.

Although she often wrote of her longing for home, toward the end Rosetta also talked about re-enlisting because she found that soldiering suited her.

I don’t care anything about coming home for I [am] ashamed to come, and I sometimes think that I never will go home in the world. I have enjoyed myself the best since I have been gone away from home than I ever did before in my life.

My favorite line is from an earlier letter, where she talks about not fearing whatever fate awaits her because:

I am as independent as a hog on the ice.

I don’t believe she wanted to be a man so much as she wanted to be herself. And sometimes, home is the last place you can do that.

Union Pvt. Albert D.J. Cashier
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 Lee were aware of what was going on and in some cases condoned it.

A good part of that acceptance was due to the widely popular motif of the Female Warrior Bold: a “cultural icon of a patriotic or love-struck heroine” who goes to war, according to DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook in “They Fought Like Demons.” Wartime novelettes, serialized stories and ballads publicly promoted the concept of women going to war as men.

Throughout the war and especially toward the end, when the Confederacy was in desperate need of soldiers, some women served openly. And a few did in the Union army as well, mostly in the West:

Frontier and Midwestern regiments seemed more open to women serving undisguised in the ranks, perhaps because Victorian notions of women’s proper place were not as firmly entrenched in the rough West as they were in the refined East.

At least one man pretended to be a woman to get out of the army—twice. Charlie Anderson took advantage of his feminine appearance and the fact that everyone knew there were women in the army to “reveal” himself to be a woman in disguise so he would be dismissed. He used the ruse to take leave whenever he wanted.

Union Pvt. Albert D.J. Cashier
Union Pvt. Albert D.J. Cashier, aka Jennie Hodgers, continued living as a man after the war. Her story was widely publicized when her secret was discovered a few years before her death in 1915.

So why is the subject of women soldiers in the Civil War so novel now? Because of a strange blend of chauvinism and feminism—and some radical changes in society.

According to Blanton and Cook, separate spheres of influence for men and women were so entrenched in 19th century America that wartime exceptions to the rule did not threaten cultural norms. Furthermore, until World War I, women soldiers fit a romantic and heroic archetype.

However, women could vote beginning in 1920, and they were gradually playing a greater role in the civilian workforce—and the military during World War II. A backlash was inevitable, Blanton and Cook wrote.

Beginning in the 1930s, European sexologists, especially Sigmund Freud, popularized theories that independent women were generally insane and likely to be lesbians—or whores or all of the above. It was a way to control female behavior that threatened societal norms. In that climate, stories about armed and capable women soldiers were destabilizing in the extreme.

By the 1960s, women soldiers had virtually disappeared from Civil War studies. Even women authors disparaged or dismissed them, largely because some feminists did not believe women had that kind of power back then. They viewed the accounts as wishful thinking.

Furthermore, the improved legal and economic landscape for women in the mid-20th century obscured the dismal state of opportunities for women in the 19th century. It was hard for people to understand earlier women’s willingness to go to such lengths to expand their employment options and enjoy greater personal freedom.

It wasn’t until the early 1990s that mainstream Civil War historians began taking a long-overdue look at the role and contributions of women soldiers. I am grateful for that. Blanton and Cook have opened my eyes to a fascinating phenomenon and broadened my understanding of women’s lives in the 19th century. My fiction will never be the same.

Loreta Velazquez
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 change their clothes (in fact, they often slept fully dressed in boots and overcoats), the camp latrines were so atrocious that many men preferred to relieve themselves in the woods, and it would not have been overly difficult for a woman to hide herself in the bulky, shapeless uniforms of either army.

Loreta Velazquez
Confederate soldier Loreta Velazquez donned a false mustache as part of her disguise.

“In the 1860s, clothing was the most potent public indication of gender,” Blanton and Cook wrote, suggesting that simply by dressing like men and cutting their hair, women were taken at face value to be men. And soldiering was so closely identified with masculinity that it rarely occurred to men that there might be a woman in the ranks.

Here are some other ways that women managed to conceal their identities:

  • To hide the lack of an Adam’s apple, many women soldiers kept their collars buttoned to their chins regardless of the weather.
  • There were many adolescents in the army so higher-pitched voices and a lack of facial hair were not uncommon. Even so, women soldiers were routinely described as boyish regardless of how old they were, and some were perceived as modest and shy because they kept to themselves to avoid detection.
  • Other women cultivated traditionally male vices with glee: drinking, smoking or chewing tobacco, cursing, gambling and fighting. Some even took advantage of the opportunity to vote as men — a right that American women wouldn’t win for nearly 60 years.
  • Many women had male relatives in the Army who helped them maintain their disguise.
  • Most women soldiers were working-class or grew up on farms:

Adapting to the hard life of a soldier was not so difficult for them because notions of idealized womanhood were hardly applicable to their lives. These women were accustomed to hard work and well acquainted with manual labor before their army careers began. Farming and frontier women were generally adept at using firearms and working with horses. The working-class women, especially those from urban areas, were also quite used to poor living conditions.

  • Soldiers were primarily volunteers (and draftees later in the war), which meant they had to be trained and men didn’t have an advantage over women in that regard. Both armies were democratic and disorganized in the early years of the war, with the rank and file electing officers. Those officers never had an easy time controlling the independent-minded citizen soldiers. The general atmosphere of disorganization and insubordination made it easier for women to infiltrate the ranks.
  • The predominant infantry weapon at the time was a rifled musket that weighed 10 to 15 pounds. The average load of weapons, ammunition and supplies came to about 30 pounds — or the weight of a small child.
cover of They Fought Like Demons
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.

cover of They Fought Like DemonsHowever, “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, I had no idea that hundreds of women disguised as men fought on both sides of the war.

Like their male counterparts, they were motivated by patriotism and a thirst for adventure. They were also drawn by the prospect of being paid more than they could earn in the kinds of jobs women were limited to — sewing, prostitution and domestic servitude. In fact, some of the women had been impersonating men before the war for economic reasons.

Women joined the Army to be near a husband, sweetheart, brother or father, or even multiple family members. And many continued to serve after their male relatives were killed.

Their true identities were often not discovered until they were seriously wounded, died, were captured by the enemy or gave birth. Some revealed their gender after the war, and some were never discovered.

If they were discovered and kicked out of one command, they simply joined another. People didn’t carry personal identification back then, and as the war dragged on, both armies needed new recruits. So if someone showed up wanting to fight, officers asked few questions. In addition, physical exams were often cursory at best, and some women talked doctors into covering for them.

Many women worked their way up through the ranks or became trusted aides to high-ranking officers. All of them were volunteers who were desperate to serve and went to great lengths to do so.

By all accounts, the women fought hard and well and endured the same privations as their male counterparts without complaint. Some even suffered through the appalling conditions of being prisoners of war without revealing their gender, which would typically have earned them immediate release.

Blanton and Cook wrote:

Not one woman soldier is known to have been court-martialed for failing to perform her duty, for committing a military crime, or for disgracing her uniform. Only three women soldiers are known to have deserted their regiments, and two of these later re-enlisted.

Here are just some of the fascinating details the authors unearthed:

  • When Union Col. Henry C. Gilbert led a raid on Beersheba Springs, Tennessee, on April 13, 1864, five of his 35 troopers were women.
  • Five women are known to have fought at Gettysburg; two Confederate women were casualties of the infamous Pickett’s Charge.
  • Wounded women soldiers were discovered after the battles of Shiloh, Richmond, Murfreesboro, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Lookout Mountain and the Wilderness — among others.
  • Women soldiers were killed in action at the first and second battles of Manassas, at Shiloh and Antietam, on the Petersburg front and at Appomattox Station. After the war, some women told of burying fellow women soldiers whose dying request was that their identities not be revealed.
  • Maria Lewis went even further: She was a black woman who impersonated a white man. She served for 18 months with the 8th New York Cavalry, where she earned a coveted spot on an honor guard that presented 17 captured Confederate flags to the War Department.

I was so engrossed in the stories of these women that I was disappointed when the war began to wind down. Blanton and Cook have presented a compelling look into a phenomenon that was well-known at the time but mostly forgotten now. More on that next time!