"Frank" Martin

In the newspaper, The Waynesboro Village Record, June 19, 1863,  is an account of a young woman who disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the Army of the Cumberland.  Apparently the original story ran in the Louisville Journal and was reprinted in the Waynesboro Village Record, page 1 column 3.

While accompanying a captain to take some prisoners to Louisville, Frank attracted the attention of Colonel Munday and since "Frank" was  'exceedingly sprightful and possessed more than ordinary intelligence,' the Colonel detailed him  for service.  "Frank" soon won the esteem of his superior officers and became a favorite with all connected with the barracks No. 1.

"Frank" was born near Bristol, Pa.. In 1863, her parents resided in Alleghany City, Pa., where she was raised. They are highly respectable people, and in very good circumstances. She was sent to the convent in Wheeling, Va., at twelve years of age, where she remained until the breaking out of the war, having acquired a superior education and all the accomplishments of modern usage. She visited home after leaving the convent, and after taking leave of her parents, proceeded to  Louisville in July 1862, with the design of enlisting in the 2d East Tennessee cavalry, which she accomplished and accompanied the Army of the Cumberland to Nashville.

She was in the thickest of the fight at Murfreesboro, and was severely wounded in the shoulder, but fought gallantly, and waded the Stone river into Murfreesboro on the memorable Sunday on which our forces were driven back. She had her wound dressed, and here her sex was disclosed, and Gen. Rosecrans made acquainted with the fact. She was accordingly mustered out of the service, notwithstanding her earnest entreaty to be allowed to serve the cause she loved so well. The General was favorably impressed with her daring bravery and superintended the arrangements for her safe transmission to her parents. She left the Army of the Cumberland, resolved to enlist again in the first regiment she met. When at Bowling Green she found the 8th Michigan there, and enlisted, since which time she has been and in 1863 was still connected with it.

She is represented as an excellent horseman, and has been honored with the position of regimental bugler in the regiment. She had seen and endured all the privations and hardships incident to the life of a soldier, and gained an enviable reputation as a scout, having made several wonderful expeditions, which were attended with signal success.

When the article was written in 1863, "Frank" was only eighteen years of age, quite small and had a beautiful figure. She had auburn hair, which she "wears quite short, and huge blue eyes, beaming with brightness and intelligence. Her complexion is naturally very fair, though slightly bronzed at present from the effects of exposure. She is exceedingly pretty, and very amiable. Her conversation denotes more than ordinary accomplishments, and, what is stranger than all, she appears very refined in her manners giving no evidence whatever of her rudeness which might naturally be expected from her late associations."

"Frank" informed the press that she had discovered a great many females in the army and was intimately acquainted with a young lady who was a lieutenant in the army. She had assisted in burying three female soldiers at different times whose sex was unknown to any but herself.

The writer either never knew "Frank's" real name or chose to keep it to himself out of respect for the young soldier and her parents.

The account above is paraphrased from the original found on Valley of the Shadow:  Two Communities in the American Civil War, Virginia Center for Digital History, University of Virginia Library.  The article maybe read at


Frank Martin is one of the women in the biographical collection by Larry G. Eggleston entitled  Women of the Civil War
 by Larry G. Eggleston
and is available online through GoogleBooks.com.

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