From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—Women's history continues to be a burgeoning field, especially the study of women who fought in the Civil War. Silvey offers insights into the soldiers' daily lives in hospitals and prisons and on the battlefields, including Antietam and Bull Run. Interjected into this brief survey are the stories of the women, some of whom joined the military, both Union and Confederate, to follow their husbands or sweethearts, and others who were passionate about the cause and wanted to defend their homeland. Still others wanted adventure or wished to escape from poverty. Lieutenant Harry T. Buford was, in fact, Loreta Janeta Velazquez and served as a Confederate officer at the First Battle of Bull Run. Sarah Emma Edmonds, born in Canada, left a harsh farm life and enlisted in the Michigan Volunteers. Jennie Hodgers served for three years as a member of an Illinois infantry unit and continued to live as a man for the next 40 years. Her true identify was not discovered until her death in 1911; nonetheless she was buried with full military honors. These are a few of the intriguing stories told in this well-researched book. Another highlight of the book is the use of archival photographs and reproductions. This title can serve as a springboard for further reading and inspire exploration of primary accounts.—Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, IL
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While previous books for young people have profiled women who served as nurses and spies during the Civil War, this one spotlights Union and Confederate women who fought on the battlefields. Why these women fought; what their lives were like; how they hid their identities; how they fared in hospitals, in prisons, and in two significant battles; and what they did after the war ended are all topics that are covered. Readers will appreciate attention to mundane questions such as how women with so little privacy dealt with menstruation. Throughout the book, Silvey shows that though the women discussed all fought in the same war, their backgrounds, motivations, and experiences varied widely. Period photos, prints, drawings, and documents are among the many illustrations. Back matter includes source notes and a list of books, articles, and archival materials. Well researched and clearly written, this attractive book illuminates an aspect of the Civil War that is often overlooked. Grades 6-9. --Carolyn Phelan