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All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War
Leonard, Elizabeth D. All the Daring
of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War
Armies
. New York: Penguin Books, 1999.
368 pp. ISBN 0-14-029858-4

ďI donít know how long before I shall have to go into the field of battle, but for my part I donít Care. I donít feel afraid to go. I donít believe there are any Rebelís bullet[s] made for me yet. Nor I donít Care if there is. I am as independent as a hog on the ice. If it is God[Ďs] will for me to fall in the field of battle, it is my will to go and never return home.Ē
 

They were present on the battle line. They crossed picket lines with ease. They gracefully smuggled goods across enemy lines. They nursed the wounded and took bullets themselves. They were the brave, the daring, and the fascinating women of the Civil War armies.    
     Elizabeth D. Leonard, professor of history and director of womenís studies at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, offers engaging accounts of these convention-shattering women in her book All the Daring of the Soldier. Available in paperback from Penguin Books, this solidly and meticulously researched volume is perfect for summer reading and is packed from page to page with adventure, intrigue, and surprise.
     From hiding contraband in hoopskirts and reticules to bearing colors at Bull Run, Leonard weaves the details of the womenís stories into a colorful patchwork of words that entices readers to keep the pages turning. Several of the women profiled in the book fought at Gettysburg, including Annie Ethridge of the 5th Michigan, Rose Quinn Moody with Company K of the Confederacyís 15th Louisiana, and Marie Tepe of the 27th and 114th Pennsylvania.
     Also of note is the story of Susie Baker (Susie King Taylor), whose memoir is the only detailed record of an African-American womanís military service during the Civil War. A former slave born in Georgia in 1848, Baker was enlisted as war contraband in the 33rd U.S. Colored Troops and appointed laundress. Because her grandmother had secretly sent her to a friendís school to learn how to read and write, Bakerís responsibilities within the unit quickly grew. She learned how to handle and fire a musket, describing it as ďgreat fun.Ē
     The first two chapters of the book are devoted to Civil War women spies and espionage, covering well-known figures like Belle Boyd, Antonia Ford, and Rose OíNeal Greenhow who sided with the Confederacy, and Union sympathizers Elizabeth Van Lew and Pauline Cushman. Union intelligence operative and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman is noted for her impressive organizational abilities and skills as scout and spy. Lesser known but equally fascinating female operatives such as the Moon sisters of Virginia (Charlotte and Virginia), the Sanchez sisters of Florida (Lola, Panchita, and Eugenia), and Quaker schoolteacher Rebecca Wright of Winchester, Virginia, are given credit for their surreptitious contributions to both sides of the struggle along with mentions of dozens of other female resistors and guerilla operatives.
     Whether you are interested in some good summer reading or in an inspiring gift selection for a female graduate, All the Daring of the Soldier affords an excellent choice and will make a fine addition to any home library. If you enjoy this book, then you also might wish to consider Leonardís other work
Yankee Women: Gender Battles in the Civil War.

 

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