• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Sarah Emma Edmonds was one of about 400 women who managed to enlist in the army during the civil war. Yet, her heroism is not confined to this simple fact; her strength in posing as a male and acting as a spy greatly increases the validity this persona.

Extracts from this document...


Sarah Emma Edmonds was one of about 400 women who managed to enlist in the army during the civil war. Yet, her heroism is not confined to this simple fact; her strength in posing as a male and acting as a spy greatly increases the validity this persona. Not only has her courage inspired generations of women, but she has acted as a crusader in the world of women's rights and integrity. While in Flint, Michigan, Edmonds became aware of the news that the Union army was immediately enlisting. Determined and ingrained in bravery, she cropped her hair, bought men's clothing, and headed for the admissions table. She signed to the name "Frank Thompson," under which it took her four times to finally be accepted (the criteria then was a simple oral examination-there was no medical or otherwise). While awaiting her orders, she received the news that she was to be a nurse in the Second Volunteers of the United States. Emma trained in Washington D.C., where she absorbed knowledge that would have been shunned to her eyes otherwise. After a few months of specialized training, her unit was sent southward to act as a part of McClellan's Virginia Campaign. "Private Thompson" was then assigned to be a "male" nurse in the hospital unit of the Second Michigan Volunteers. ...read more.


While making conversation with a one such individual, an officer approached her. He handed her a firearm ordered her to take the place of a picketer who had just been shot. This provided her with an opportunity to escape cross back over Confederate lines. When she returned, she was warmly welcomed and immediately granted a meeting with General McClellan himself, in which she revealed all the information she had acquired about Confederate fortifications. She then returned to her duties as a "male" nurse in her preceding volunteer unit. Approximately two months later, she was asked to, again, infiltrate Confederate limits. Fearing being recognized, she did not feel at ease returning as "Cuff;" so she chose the disguise of a large Irish peddler woman she deemed "Bridgett O'Shea." She was, once more, easily admitted into the same Confederate labor camp. As she sold various small items, she made conversation with her customers, a valuable information vehicle. After some time, she decided she had learned an adequate amount of data, and headed north. This time she returned with a horse named Rebel, named for its of their sense of individuality. On her journey northward, she obtained an arm wound, and yet still managed to carry on and elude Southern forces. Emma's volunteer unit was, shortly after, transferred to Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, in order to aid General Sheridan's efforts there. ...read more.


Discouraged, she took what little money she had, and bought a one-way train ticket to Washington. There, she found work as a nurse for the United States Christian Commission until the end of the war. Altogether, "Private Frank Thompson" had successfully completed eleven strenuous missions to her favor. After the end of the war, Emma gathered her most lurid memoirs to fill the pages of her book Nurse and Spy in the Union Army, which became unexpectedly popular and sold thousands of copies. Emma gave all the profits she earned from the book to the reconstruction effort. She quickly became homesick, and returned to her hometown in Canada. Sarah Emma Edmonds's effect on the American Civil War spans wider than her simple act of spying for the Union. Not only did her story go on to be read by thousands, but even disguised as a man, Emma managed to blaze a trail for women in the military. She made a statement about women's rights. She told the world that women can be in the army, they can become military officers, and they can hold a traditionally male-dominated position. Her "crusades" helped to change the generally mechanistic view of women from subservient lesser to valuable equal. Soon Before she died, Emma said (as quoted by Markle), " 'I am naturally fond of adventure, a little ambitious, and a good deal romantic-but patriotism was the true secret of my success.' " 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Jane Austen essays

  1. An exploration of Jane Austen's use of the outdoors in Emma

    For a young woman of Jane's situation and temperament, it is an unusual decision, but the excessive protests from Mrs Elton make the tale of Jane's passion seem self-aware and ironic.

  2. Argue that the theory of common sense structures provides an important and hitherto unappreciated ...

    The common-sense world is causally organized -- as was recognized for example by Husserl, whose account of the common-sense world put forward in his 1952 is built around the two central notions of cause and change. To know a thing, Husserl argues, is to know its causal dependencies: it is

  1. The various portrayals of heroines in Jane Austen's novels as well as investigate, who ...

    In her politeness to Mrs Jennings she makes up what Marianne carelessly omits. She also respects Brandon for his activity in helping his friends long before Mrs Dashwood and Marianne have seen his virtues. She can therefore be seen as a heroine of civility or a Christian heroine like Fanny Price; an upholder of right and proper values.

  2. The Train From Rhodesia - review

    "She was feeling like this again. She had thought it was something to do with her singleness" The train from Rhodesia is set in South Africa, the same place Nadine Gordimer, the author, was born. The story is based around the train and it explains the thoughts of people going on the train.

  1. Is it accurate to describe the world of 'Waiting for Godot' as futile and ...

    The characters frequently suggest hanging themselves from a tree as shown by, "What about hanging ourselves" on p.18 and repeated often until the end of the play. Estragon, commenting on the moon coming up says, "pale for weariness... of climbing heaven and gazing on the likes of us".

  2. Civil Rights Coursework

    Source B also shows that the crowd were angry and verbally abusive towards Elizabeth Eckford, 'The crowd now let out a roar of rage', this supports the point that was made in Source A, the crowd was angry and abusive.

  1. World Literature Paper: One Hundred Years of Solitude.

    This, I would claim, is a fairly obvious question which the novel pressures any reader to ask. One Hundred Years of Solitude can justly lay claim to being, perhaps, the greatest of all Latin American novels, appropriately enough, since the story of the Buendia family is obviously a metaphor for the history of the continent since it's Independence.

  2. What is the dramatic significance of Act 2 to the play as a whole? ...

    Fear is a very large theme within this act. Mary fears Abigail. You can tell this largely throughout the play. By the end of the act John Is threatening Mary to go to court to tell of Abigail. "I cannot, I cannot," is her reply.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work