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"I am naturally fond of adventure, a little ambitious, and a good deal romantic-but patriotism was the true secret of my success." -- Sarah Emma Edmonds

While researching the 13th Michigan Infantry during the Civil War looking for more information about my great-great grandfather, John E. Hickman, a small note caught my attention. Soon I was reading about a Canadian woman, a Michigander, Civil War Private Franklin Thompson, a black man, an Irish peddler woman, a black mammy, a spy, a male nurse, a female nurse, and the only female member of the GAR. To my amazed surprise, it was all the same person: Sara Emma Edmonds. She disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the 2nd Michigan Infantry, Company F.

After the war, she wrote it all up in Nurse and Spy in the Union Army The Adventures and Experiences of a Woman in Hospitals, Camps, and Battle-Fields. There's a free Kindle edition of her book. There are 5 additional Kindle versions, ranging in price from 99 cents to $4.50, and several facsimile reprints in both hardcover and paperback versions.

As for my great-great grandfather, John served in the Union Army as an enlisted man in the 13th Michigan Infantry, Company C. According to the online records I found, he was 41 years old. (When he enlisted, if I understand the information correctly.) I knew he was married and had several children; we have transcriptions of the letters he and his wife exchanged during the war.

I was further distracted while writing this post. That led quite productively to information I've been going to track down since I started delving into the Squier family history in 2010.

My great-uncle Ted's papers are (sensibly enough) in Ann Arbor along with the Hickman letters. I'm especially excited to see the Squier family papers include what looks like great-uncle Ted's 1970s correspondence with Miss Helen Squier of Wales, Massachusetts. There are also two folders of genealogical research and family history back to 1639.

I look forward to spending time at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan during future trips to the midwest!


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 9th, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
Very interesting! Dad did our's a while back, but there is little information about the actual people. A friend has offered to dig around for me.
Feb. 10th, 2012 11:21 am (UTC)
Free epub version from a very prolific source of free eBooks.
Feb. 12th, 2012 03:06 pm (UTC)
You might be interested in this: "They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War"


A search of Amazon for Sara Emma Edmonds returns a number of books, too.

-- Michael Walsh
May. 23rd, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC)
13th Michigan
I am writing on behalf of the 13th Michigan Memorial Association. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and preserving the memory of the members of the 13th Michigan Veteran Volunteer Infantry. We currently have over 2700 pages of letters, diaries, period newspapers and official records on the 13th. If you would like to have any of this information, please contact us at 13thmi_association@att.net. We will be glad to share any information we have. I know we have John Hickman's letters and diary.
I am not sure what else we might have on him, but I would be glad to check.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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