Women in Battle During the Civil War
1839 – 1915 A.D.
There were women who served during, as well as after, the battle. Bridget Divers accompanied her husband in the First Michigan Cavalry and continued until the close of the war. In one of Sheridan’s raids her colonel was wounded and her captain killed in a severe cavalry engagement. She went with the colonel to the rear, put him aboard the cars, and took him to a distant hospital, and tended to him. Then having been four days and nights without sleep, she rested one night and returned to the front. She found that the captain’s body had not been recovered. She said it should never be left on rebel soil. With only an orderly for company, she rode fifteen miles, found the body, strapped it to her horse, and rode back seven miles to an embalmer, where she had the body cared for. She again took the body on her horse to the nearest railway station, and had it placed in a coffin, and forwarded to Michigan.
Returning to her regiment she told the men there were still some wounded men who must be brought in. She ordered ambulances and started back to the scene of the battle. On her return she was overtaken by the enemy. The ambulance driver fled and she was alone with her wounded men. She pleaded with the Confederates to spare the men. They in fact did not care to be bothered with them, the horses were taken, also any valuables they could find, and Bridget was left alone with her wounded soldiers.
Night came on and they were still many miles from camp, but, fortunately, one of the officers rode out for reconnaissance and discovered them. Horses were soon procured and the men were brought into camp. “Michigan Bridget,” as she was called, could fight as well as nurse. It several times happened that when a man was killed in battle, she took his gun and stepped in his place in the ranks.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.