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Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table: Soldiers, Spies, and Femme Fatales


Thursday, July 10, 2014


Women during the Civil War did more for the war effort than just keeping the home fires burning. Up to one-thousand known women joined the military. There were many reasons for doing so: adventure, following a loved one, or even money. Most got away with it, but what happened when they were discovered? Examples and pictures of some female soldiers - such as Malinda Blaylock - and their exploits will be discussed. Then there was spying, which we usually think of as a male-dominated activity during the Civil War. Women were very proficient at spying for both the North and South. Profiles and pictures of these courageous ladies should be enlightening. Pauline Cushman, actress and spy, was one such woman who took to infiltrating enemy lines. Finally, there are the femme fatales. These were flamboyant, devil-may care, independent women who set out to make their own mark in the world. They challenged conventional social mores with their risky behavior. Lola Montez and Adah Menken, for example, would even shock today’s sensitivities. Charen N. Fink is a director of the Brunswick Civil War Round Table, and has been a member of various Civil War related societies, organizations and Round Tables>She's previously served as president of the Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table, Society of Civil War Surgeons, National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Society of Women of the Civil War, the Southport Historical Society and the Cape Fear Civil War Round Table.

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