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The only people who knew for certain the soldier’s true identity were the parents and eight siblings Lyons left behind. But even they decided to keep the soldier’sNike ACG Lunar Macleay WP+ Midnight Fog / Mid Fog-Peach Cream Hiking Zapatos Coupons - Hombres A300009350, secret, and afterward spoke only of Lyons as their beloved brother.
How Rosetta – she went by her middle name – managed to conceal her identity duringNike Court Force High Mdm Gray / N Trq- Púrpura-Rv Pn Basketball Zapatos Outlet Genuine - Mujer P600006547, her final month in the hospital is still a mystery. Perhaps those caring for her knew, but simply decided to let Rosetta carry the secret she’d kept for the entire two years she’d served in the 153rd New York State Volunteers to her grave in the Chalmette National Cemetery near New Orleans, where she is buried under her alias.
When Rosetta first left home in rural upstate New York, in the summer of 1862, she found employment as a canal man, agreeing “to run 4 trips from Binghamton to Utica for 20$ in money,” according to her letters home. It Nike V.5 Grown Low Negro / Negro-Varsity rojo Lifestyle Zapatos your best choose - Chico&Chicas Z6000010283,was on her first trip ferrying coal that Rosetta “saw some soldiers” near Utica who encouraged her to enlist for three years, gaining her “100 and 52$ in money” plus $13 a month thereafter – a substantial raise from the wages she had been earning.
Much of the money that Rosetta earned she sent home to her parents, Nike Dunk Low Grand Púrpura / Grand Púrpura-Negro-Neutral Basketball Zapatos Sale Baratas - Mujer M700006953,telling them, “All the money I send you I want you should spend it for the family in Nike Gato Beach Dark Shadow / Neo Lime Lifestyle Zapatos Outlet Factory Shop - Hombres L700009860,clothing or something to eat.” Since her father was in debt, at least some of Rosetta’s motivation for enlisting was probably to help support her family. But she also alludes to more personal reasons, saying, “I want to drop all old affray and I want you to do the same and when i come home we will be good friends as ever,” and later remarking, “I had got tired of stay[ing] in that neighborhood. I knew that I could help you more to leave home than to stay.”
Private Lyons Wakeman. (Source: Reflection of an Uncommom Man,
What conflict she had with her family is unclear, but perhaps the answer lies in the Nike 1 Skinny High Top Electric Púrpura/Raspberry rojo/Pink Basketball Zapatos Outlet Factory Shop - Toddler K700005156,independent spirit that shines through Rosetta’s letters, particularly when she Nike Toki ND Obsidian / Obsidian-Pink Lifestyle Zapatos Coupons - Hombres J7000010270,writes, “I will dress as I have a mind to for all anyone else [cares], and if they don’t let me Alone they will be sorry for it.” She also reveals her hopes of having her own farm, “in Wisconsin. On the Prairie,” and her utter lack of fear of “rebel bullets.”
She does not seem the kind of young woman who would be happy in a traditionally feminine role, and indeed, over a year into her military service, she wrote, “I have enjoyed myself the best since I have been gone away from home than I ever did before in my life. I have had plenty of money to spend and a good time aSoldier[ing]. I find just as good friends among Strangers as I do at home.” She goes on to suggest that she might re-enlist for five years and $800. “I can do that if I am a mind to. What do you think about that?”
How Rosetta managed to serve without discovery is one of the great questions surrounding Nike Toddler Air Force 1 Low Negro/Ink Basketball Zapatos Offer - Toddler R900007795,not just her, but all 250 known female Civil War soldiers. There are clues, however.Nike Air Royal Mid VT Violet Pop / Violet Pop Lifestyle Zapatos Complete Price - Hombres&Mujer H600009481, She must have talked a good game when it came to engaging in typical male enterprises; she peppers many of her letters with questions about the family farm – even, in her last letter home, asking her father to “write all the particulars about that farm and let me know how much stock you have got to keep this summer and how many Calves you raise and how many hogs you have got.” Perhaps, too, as the eldest child, Rosetta had worked as her father’s farmhand and was no stranger to physical labor.
Many of the known female soldiers had help in keeping their secret: husbands, fiancés, family members. Even so, it seems certain that Rosetta and the other women performed their duties well and earned their fellow soldiers’ respect, enough so those same soldiers were willing to continue serving alongsideNike Court Force Hi Flannel Negro / rojo - Orange Lifestyle Zapatos Complete Price - Hombres&Mujer A400009699, them, and sometimes even testified in order to help the women earn veterans’ benefits.
Rosetta herself did not seem overly troubled by her deception. As part of her duties, sheNike ACG odside Dark Charcoal / Dark Charcoal-Negro botas&Trail Zapatos Outlet Factory Shop - Hombres Z700008276, was a guard at Carroll Prison, where there were three female prisoners: “One of them was a Major in the union army and she went into battle with her men. When the Rebels bullets was acoming like a hail storm she rode her horse and gave orders to the men. Now She is in Prison for not doing aCcordingly to the regulation of war.” After this brief description, plus noting the two Confederate spies were “smart looking women and [have] good education,” Rosetta makes no further remarks.
Did she guard these womenNike Halfback Leather Ironstone/Pine Nut-Court Púrpura Lifestyle Zapatos Price - Hombres&Mujer K200009898, directly? If so, did she and the female soldier acknowledge each other? What did Rosetta think about the possibility that she, too, might be imprisoned? We’ll never know. Surely it must have been comforting to find another woman in the ranks, even if it was also distressing to know that imprisonment could be her own fate.
Likewise, Rosetta was not much concerned with the reasons for the war. Though she guarded “contraband,” slaves who Nike ACG Air Max Goadome Negro / Negro-Negro botas&Trail Zapatos Outlet - Hombres&Mujer B900008252,had been captured or had escaped north and were considered spoils of war, she never mentions slavery directly. Even when she notes that the army had drafted “black men as well as White men,” she makes no judgment. She never even once mentions the idea of preserving the Union, though when she learns of the New York draft riots, she writes, “I would like to see some of them Copperheads come down here and get killed.” And she then blames officers for the war’s dragging on, stating “if they would knock down the officers’ pay to 13$ a month, this war would soon be settle.” But it seems Rosetta’s biggest concerns were getting her pay, helping her family, participating in battle and deciding what she would do after the war.
Regardless of what Rosetta might have done had she lived, it is safe toNike Air Feather High Negro / Negro-Pink Lifestyle Zapatos Outlet Factory Shop - Mujer M800009392, say that her parents, Harvey and Emily, both native New Yorkers and at least fifth-generation Americans, never anticipated that their eldest daughter would be living as a man and writing letters home from the front lines of the Union Army’s Red River campaign, where she “was under fire about 4 hours and laid on the field of battle all night.” What is obvious is that even if her choices had caused concern, her family loved and respected her enough to preserve her letters and keep her photograph safe and her memory alive for generations. Hopefully, they found a way to be proud of her, too.
Follow Disunion at twitter.com/NYTcivilwar or joinNike Blazer Mid Plus Metallic Gold / SL - Dark CND Lifestyle Zapatos Outlet Genuine - Mujer X500009597, us on Facebook.
Sources: Lauren Cook Burgess, ed., “An Uncommon Soldier: The CivilNike ACG odside British Tan/Tar marrón botas&Trail Zapatos Fashion - Toddler I800008285, War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, Alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1862-1864”; DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook, “They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War.”
Erin Lindsay McCabe is the author of the novel “I Shall Be Near to Nike Outbreak Hi Premium Abyss / Sail Lifestyle Zapatos Outlet Shop - Mujer X3000010001,You,” about the life of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman