Woman Won 'Male Rights' Fighting in Civil War

Soldier remained in her disguise for better jobs, voting rights
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2009 6:50 PM CDT
Woman Won 'Male Rights' Fighting in Civil War
Jennie Hodgers, who enlisted under the name of Albert Cashier, fought for the Union at the siege of Vicksburg, and 40 other battles.   (©usm photos)

A veteran of 40 Civil War skirmishes and battles kept one secret under wraps: her breasts. Union Army soldier Albert Cashier was really Jennie Hodgers, one of hundreds of women who fought in the war. "The country needed men, and I wanted excitement," Hodgers said. She also benefited from 19th-century male-only rights like a paycheck, a ballot, and an independent life, NPR reports.

When the military uncovered Hodgers' deception, former comrades fought for her veteran's pension. Hodgers settled in sleepy Saunemin, Ill., where the remains of her house inspire pride in some residents and shame in others to this day. The town plans to rebuild the house and organize historical tours. "I wouldn't like to think that that's what puts us on the map," says one farmer, "but maybe it is."
(Read more Civil War stories.)

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