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I’ll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War

By: Anita Silvey

"One fact about [the Civil War] has rarely been mentioned until recently. . . .[H]undreds of women disguised themselves as men so they could fight as soldiers." Among them were Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, who joined the Union army in order to make money, and Melverina Peppercorn, who enlisted with the Confederate army to stay near her twin brother. This book explores the motivations and describes the experiences of these and other women who fought in the Civil War. Author's note. Bibliography. Source notes. Index. Black-and-white photographs and time-period illustrations.

ISBN: 9780618574919

JLG Release: Mar 2009


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: The First Battle of Bull Run , Women dressing as men , Slavery , Traditional gender roles , Disguises , Pay inequality , Enlistment , Clothing and gender , Medical examinations , Discovery , Rules of warfare , Civil War battlefields , Antietam , Uniforms , Injury , Death , Hospitals , Military prisons , Return to civilian life , Revealing secrets , Role of the historian

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Awards & Honors

Amelia Bloomer List 2010; NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2009, History/Life and Culture in the Americas

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

Horn Book

Why did women, disguised as men, fight in the Civil War? How did they pass? And how did these remarkable women transition back into civilian life? Silvey builds an engaging social history around these questions, interspersing solid factual exposition with colorful vignettes and period illustrations and photographs. The broader contexts of the war a Why did women, disguised as men, fight in the Civil War? How did they pass? And how did these remarkable women transition back into civilian life? Silvey builds an engaging social history around these questions, interspersing solid factual exposition with colorful vignettes and period illustrations and photographs. The broader contexts of the war and the mores of the time give additional resonance. Bib., ind.

Junior Library Guild

In I’ll Pass for Your Comrade, Anita Silvey delivers first-person accounts to describe one of the most overlooked aspects of the Civil War: women disguised as men in order to serve as soldiers. By using specific examples of women from both the North and the South, Silvey explains the reasons women wanted to join men in war and the ways in In I’ll Pass for Your Comrade, Anita Silvey delivers first-person accounts to describe one of the most overlooked aspects of the Civil War: women disguised as men in order to serve as soldiers. By using specific examples of women from both the North and the South, Silvey explains the reasons women wanted to join men in war and the ways in which they were able to succeed in their well-founded deception.

The book highlights the irony that, in a certain sense, gender stereotypes made it easier for women to disguise themselves successfully. “If someone wore pants and had short hair,” Silvey writes, “everyone assumed the person was a man.” Loreta Janeta Velazquez tested her disguise at a local barroom before enlisting; she talked with men she knew, but they had no idea who she was.

The numerous accounts offered in the book give a sense of the surprising number of women who enlisted and fought. This is underscored by an episode in which Sarah Emma Edmonds, “who, in her disguise as Private Franklin Thompson, was providing medical aid for soldiers at Antietam,” administered brandy and water to a dying soldier. The soldier revealed to Edmonds, “I am not what I seem, but am a female. I enlisted from the purest motives, and have remained undiscovered and unsuspected.”

Well-researched and clearly written, I’ll Pass for Your Comrade, gives a voice to a previously silent group of Civil War participants. It is an essential addition to classroom units on the Civil War and women’s history in general.

Book Details

ISBN

9780618574919

First Release

March 2009

Genre

Narrative nonfiction.

Dewey Classification

973.7/4082

Trim Size

7" x 9"

Page Count

112

Accelerated Reader

Level 8.3; Points: 2;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 10.7; Points: 6;

Lexile

Level 1130L

Format

Print Book

Edition

-

Publisher

Clarion

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

The First Battle of Bull Run, Women dressing as men, Slavery, Traditional gender roles, Disguises, Pay inequality, Enlistment, Clothing and gender, Medical examinations, Discovery, Rules of warfare, Civil War battlefields, Antietam, Uniforms, Injury, Death, Hospitals, Military prisons, Return to civilian life, Revealing secrets, Role of the historian,

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