They Fought Like Demons

They Fought Like Demons

Women Soldiers in the American Civil War

Book - 2002
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Louisiana State Univ Pr

Popular images of women during the American Civil War include self-sacrificing nurses, romantic spies, and brave ladies maintaining hearth and home in the absence of their men. However, as DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook show in their remarkable new study, that conventional picture does not tell the entire story. Hundreds of women assumed male aliases, disguised themselves in men’s uniforms, and charged into battle as Union and Confederate soldiers—facing down not only the guns of the adversary but also the gender prejudices of society. They Fought Like Demons is the first book to fully explore and explain these women, their experiences as combatants, and the controversial issues surrounding their military service.

Relying on more than a decade of research in primary sources, Blanton and Cook document over 240 women in uniform and find that their reasons for fighting mirrored those of men—-patriotism, honor, heritage, and a desire for excitement. Some enlisted to remain with husbands or brothers, while others had dressed as men before the war. Some so enjoyed being freed from traditional women’s roles that they continued their masquerade well after 1865. The authors describe how Yankee and Rebel women soldiers eluded detection, some for many years, and even merited promotion. Their comrades often did not discover the deception until the “young boy” in their company was wounded, killed, or gave birth.

In addition to examining the details of everyday military life and the harsh challenges of -warfare for these women—which included injury, capture, and imprisonment—Blanton and Cook discuss the female warrior as an icon in nineteenth-century popular culture and why twentieth-century historians and society ignored women soldiers’ contributions. Shattering the negative assumptions long held about Civil War distaff soldiers, this sophisticated and dynamic work sheds much-needed light on an unusual and overlooked facet of the Civil War experience.



Publisher: Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c2002
ISBN: 9780807128060
0807128066
Branch Call Number: 973.7082 BLA
Characteristics: xiii, 277 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Cook, Lauren M.

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SFBookAddict
Jun 29, 2017

This book blew my mind. Who knew women fought as soldiers in the Civil War both as Yankees and Confederates? No history class I ever took talked about it. Having read this book, it all makes sense. This well researched book explains the myriad of reasons why women fought in that war, what they did, how they did it, why we didn't know much about them. These women were undoubtedly brave and determined. The authors used first hand sources in writing this little known, amazing history. A must read for anyone interested in women's history, the Civil War, and U.S. History.

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SFBookAddict
Jun 29, 2017

SFBookAddict thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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