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Blog Post

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Department 1

Civil War Institute


This post is the second in a three-part series on women soldiers in the Civil War and during modern reenactments. Also check out the introduction of this series.

I was thirteen years old when I joined the 5th Kentucky Orphan Brigade, a Confederate reenactment group based out of south-central Kentucky. At fourteen, I “saw the elephant”—a Civil War term for seeing battle—for the first time as a soldier. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done, but seven years later I credit that decision to go through with it as bringing me to where I am now, writing for the Compiler here at Gettysburg College. In those seven years, however, I have faced my fair share of scrutiny for portraying a soldier rather than a civilian. I didn’t become aware of the scrutiny until more recently, however, as I became more conscious both of historical and modern views about women portraying soldiers at Civil War reenactments [excerpt].


This blog post originally appeared in The Gettysburg Compiler and was created by students at Gettysburg College.