Friday, November 16, 2007

In the current issue of America's Civil War, there is an article by Tonia J. Smith (TeeJ) about Abby House. (Congrats to TeeJ on the article's publication!) Abby House was from Franklintown, North Carolina, and took an active role in the welfare of Confederate soldiers from her town. She frequently visited soldiers in hospitals around Richmond. House grew vegetables on her farm, she collected clothing, blankets, and shoes for soldiers in the field. And, she gained audiences with Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, trying to better the treatment of sick and wounded Confederates soldiers. After the war ended, House moved to Raleigh, and, in a strange turn of events, was asked to represent her county (Clay) at the State Democratic Convention in 1876, becoming the first women in North Carolina to vote. If you don't subscribe to America's Civil War, try stopping by your local newsstand and pick up a copy of the January issue. The article is well worth your time.

There were other women connected with North Carolina who were just as important and interesting. Just about everyone knows about Rose Greenhow. The famous Confederate spy drowned off the North Carolina coast in 1864 after her ship ran aground near Fort Fisher. She is buried in Wilmington.

Then there is Emeline Pigott, twenty-five when the war started and from Morehead City. Pigott worked as a nurse during the early part of the war, and after her love died at Gettysburg, worked whole-heartily for the Confederacy. She operated a spy ring between Morehead City and Kinston until her arrest . Pigott was released, and continued to work as a nurse for the rest of the war. She died in 1919 and is buried in the family cemetery in Morehead City.

You can also add Laura Wesson, a young women from Virginia who worked as a nurse in High Point and died during the war. She is buried in the High Point cemetery, amongst the soldiers.

I am quite sure other stories are out there. If I remember correctly, there are two strongly documented stories about women who served as men during the war. One was Malinda Blalock from my neck of the woods. The other was from the coastal area and I seem to have forgotten her name.

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