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
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
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
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.