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Sarah Edmonds

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  • Nurse And Spy In The Union Army

    $24.95

    In her 1865 autobiography, Canadian-born Sarah Emma Evelyn Edmonds (nee Edmonson) recounts her sensational life on the front lines of the American Civil War. As a young woman, Emma Edmonds ran away from home, escaping an abusive father and an arranged marriage. To avoid being discovered, she dressed in men’s clothes and cut her hair and, eventually, assumed the full-time identity of a man, taking the name Franklin “”Frank”” Thompson. Frank worked for a time as a Bible salesman, but in 1865 joined the Second Michigan Volunteers as a nurse. Frank, already a master of disguise, eventually volunteered to be a spy and penetrated the enemy lines multiple times in various forms: as a slave, with silver nitrate painted skin to appear Black and, curiously, as a woman. Fearing discovery after recuperating from falling off a horse, Frank eventually deserted the army, and Sarah Emma Edmonds returned, enlisting in the army as a nurse. In 1867, Emma Edmonds married Mr. L. H. Seeye, a fellow Canadian, and eventually the two settled in La Porte, Texas, where they raised three children. In 1884, she attended a regimental reunion, as herself, without her disguise as Frank. Urged by her fellow soldiers, she filed for a full army pension. In 1885, she was awarded a pension from the army for both of her identities. She became the only recognized woman in the Grand Army of the Republic.

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