I am on a railroad to Pennsylvania along with many other civilians, nurses, and soldiers in hopes to either see their family or join the war. I keep thinking to myself: "What can a housewife like me do in the battlefield?" Some of the women nearby are considering to provide aid as a nurse. They keep talking about the importance of helping the troops with everything that they need as their responsibility. Loren, the woman next to me, is talking about how inhumane slavery is and her need to join and fight for Union. All I could think about is my son. I want to be with him.
As we approach the closest camp, Loren drags me aside.
<b>Loren</b>: I'm going to serve the army. You should come with me!
<i> Are you nuts? Only men can volunteer to be in the troops! </i>
<b>Loren</b>: That's foolish! I'm going to find a way to save the Union!
Then I thought—maybe if I serve the army, I could be closer to George... But that is CRAZY because I am not fit to fight, especially since I'm a woman. Maybe...maybe I should just stay back and help as a nurse instead? At least there I could take care of the wounded similar to back home when my husband and I look after little Georgie every time he gets hurt. Oh, I miss my husband but I know that he can take care of himself.
<center> Take part in the war by [[serving the army | 2a]] or by
[[becoming a nurse | 2b]] </center>I chose to follow my husband Jim and relocate to Virginia, in favor of the Confederate army. This environment is completely different from what I was accustomed to back home in Maryland and I am uncertain of what to do next. As a housewife, I am used to taking care of familial life and maintaining the cleanliness of our home. The biggest role I've taken on is tending to our family tobacco business back in Maryland, but since I moved to Virginia I now see that there are more opportunities for me here.
I want to support my husband Jim as much as I can and provide the emotional encouragement he needs in proximity. He is risking his life on the battlefield for the Confederate army and I refuse to act as a bystander at home—anxiously waiting to hear about his safety each night. I feel that it is my political calling to participate in the war and support both my husband and the Confederacy.
I can physically take part in the battlefield by serving in the army, which is prohibited from women by law, or I can participate by providing aid as a nurse. If I am to secretly work alongside my husband in the war, I will have to disguise my identity and pose as a male. I will be risking my legitimacy and reputation, but I will be able to closely comfort him and fight for a cause I strongly believe in. If I participate as a nurse, I will be tending to the wounds of other soldiers like Jim.
<center> Take part in the war by [[serving the army | 1a]] or by
[[becoming a nurse | 1b]] </center>It pains me to stay back home and not see Jim and George. I have been talking to my best friend Elizabeth for months now, trying to console her as her husband left to be in the Union army. She is the only person who can really understand what I'm going through. I haven't heard from Jim and George ever since. I am also tiresome from the mundane act of cleaning and taking care of the business.
Later that day, I get a call from Elizabeth. She said she is going to travel with some of the local nurses to Pennsylvania tomorrow night. She is tired of waiting to hear from her husband and so she hopes to reunite with him. She asks me, "Would you like to come? Mary Ann, we can finally serve a more meaningful purpose—we can be nurses! You might also see your son there!"
[[Go with Elizabeth to Pennsylvania | 2]]
[[Decline her offer and stay back home in Maryland |3b]] </center>I had to do something! I had learned many summers ago how to treat infections and diseases and I was tired of standing by on the side lines watching as others labored tirelessly to bring aid and comfort to the sick and wounded soldiers. Also I could not stop worrying about George.
After the battle at Fort Sumter, there was a shortage of nurses. The US army were finally recruiting women to be nurses. I seized my opportunity and volunteered. The aftermath of the battle was an eye-opening experience. There was death and destruction everywhere I looked.
I received a letter each from both George and Jim. They were both marching toward Virginia. The Union forces fought Confederate troops just outside Manassas on the 21st of July but were outpositioned and outnumbered. We had to quickly retreat to Washington where the regiment would attempt to regain troops and push back. I received another letter from Jim who had been injured during this battle and was being treated for a gunshot wound to his thigh. It seems like there is high chance that he will not be able to walk again. I sure hope that he is okay.
[[Stay with the Union army, they need you more than ever |2bc]]
[[Go back home and nurse Jim back to health |6]]I had to do something! Jim had taught me many summers ago how to shoot a gun and I am a very good shot. The outdoors do not bother me at all and I live with two men already, what is a few more? I know it would be tough but I am tough...I think? My local recruiment station will not accept women so I had to improvise. I cut off my hair, real short, to the scalp, and I dressed in my husband's baggy clothes. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I was surprised. I look so similar to George.
After the battle at Fort Sumter, I was relocated to a camp in Virginia. It was there where I found George. He was safe and would continue to be as long as I stayed by his side. To keep him from exposing me to try to send me back home to safety, I did not tell him it was me and remained in disguise.
We fought Confederate troops just outside Manassas on 21st of July, but were outpositioned and outnumbered. We had to quickly retreat to Washington where we would attempt to ragain troops and push back. I received word that Jim had been injured during this battle and was being treated for a gunshot wound to his thigh. I hope he'll be okay but I heard that he will most likely not be able to walk again.
[[You reveal yourself to take care of your husband back home |6]]
[[You continue fighting for the Union and stay with George|8]] I should have returned earlier. Jim ended up losing his leg. The bullet that was left in him caused an infection and they needed to remove it immediately. During that process, they accidentally punctured his sciatic nerve. Now, he cannot walk anymore and relies on a wheelchair to get around.
It took a few months before Jim regained his strength. He is able to do most things on his own, but I still do everything for him. I have heard news that the Union troops are advancing and gaining momentum. It seems that they now have the upper hand. I can't believe I'm thinking this, but I miss the time I spent in the battlefield. It was exhilarating and freeing. Other than taking care of my husband and the house, I have been bored out of my mind. I'm so tired of only being sanctioned and disciplined into this endless housewife role. I know that women like me are just as capable as men to be in the battlefield.
Jim may have noticed my dissatisfaction back home as he told me, "If you want to go back out there again--to do what you love to do--go ahead. I want you to be happy and live a fulfilled life. Fight for what you want and I will be right behind you." I do want to do more but I'm still not sure if I can leave my husband just yet.
<center>[[Return to the battlefield as a nurse |9a]]
[[Focus on fighting for women's rights |7]]
[[Stay back home with Jim |9]]</center>I have been helping my husband back at home, but I am eager to make a difference in some way. Since the war started, many of the men who worked in factories chose to fight in the battlefield. The lack of employees allowed me, a woman, to volunteer some of my time in local factories who in the past would only hire men. I was happy to be testing my strength and breaking the stereotypes through these jobs, but it wasn’t enough. I want to reach out to more women, so they can understand what is possible.
I want them to also think, <i> "Why only men? We are as capable as them!" </i> I decided to strive and fight for what I truly believe in. I need to step up and fight for women everywhere. We need equality politically, economically and socially. [[Next |9b]]Although I miss my time as a nurse, I know it is my duty to stay with my husband. If I didn't, I would be too worried leaving him in a time of such distress and I would be unable to perform my job as a nurse to the best of my abilities.
On January 1st, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation was ordered by President Lincoln. It saddens me because I know some of those enslaved will never know of it’s existence. However, I hope some of those people are able to escape and soon gain freedom.
It is July 2nd, 1863 and I have received news of a battle that has broken out a day prior in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It seems this could be a turning point for the Union. Part of me is rejoiceful because I know what is right; however my husband could never know. With the injury Jim is suffering and being unable to fight in the war, he is spiteful as ever and I can’t take waiting on him anymore..
I love him, but I was able to experience a new sense of freedom as a nurse that I had never known before. Although I was constantly ridiculed and disapproved of, I was helping people and using my knowledge for something greater. I want to help in some way, but I gave up my time in the battlefield for my family. I know it was the right thing to do, but I also know so many women that have stayed at home continues to feel helpless. They don’t know their capabilities and maybe I can use my experience to, somehow, encourage them to fight. So now, I need to decide.
[[To return to war as a nurse |9a]]
[[To continue your activism path in Maryland |9b]]I can’t stay back home anymore. I need to help my country and I know I have the knowledge and ability to do so. I was surprised with the encouragement that I received from my husband because he was unhappy about me leaving the house from the start. He must see the light in my eyes that appeared after my taste of freedom. I had never done anything like this before and I will continue to take every opportunity I have to use my abilities.
My house was divided by this war and for that reason I do not have a preference on which side I help. I just want to heal the wounded, the way I would have liked someone to successfully help Jim when he lost his leg. I know everyone I help is a brother, a husband, or a father to someone and I think of how their family feels being away from them. All in all, that is what gives me the motivation to work to the best of my ability.
I currently am volunteering my services at a hospital in Pennsylvania and a battle just broke out in Gettysburg. Thousands of soldiers are being admitted with gruesome injuries. My skills are being tested but each time I am able to help someone I feel more and more valuable to my country. On top of the difficulties I am facing as a nurse, I also have to encounter many comments and dirty looks I receive from the men working at the hospital. This all angers me, but also only pushes me to work harder and gain more knowledge. However, there is Doctor Develter, the only man during my entire time in the battlefield that has not made me feel any lesser. He, in fact, encourages me and I’m sure I could learn a lot from him.
[[Talk to Doctor Develter |12a]]
[[Continue as a nurse |12b]]I began writing. I wrote about my experiences before and during the war. I want to explain how it felt to be expected to stay at home and amount to nothing more than the duties of a housewife. After helping as a nurse during the war and realizing my capabilities, I want women to feel empowered to do the same and possibly push the limits even further. I became aware of women giving speeches and writing letters to reach and inspire as many people as possible and I want to do something similar. I didn’t know who my writing would reach or if it will even be read by anyone, but I want a record of my experiences. In this way, if I am able to encourage at least one other woman, then I know I have made my difference. I am sick of feeling lesser than men and being forced to believe we, as women, aren’t capable of the same things. The war has inspired me to fight for myself and for my fellow women...and this was a start.I decided that participating in the war as a soldier was the best way for me to express my political opinion and fully support my husband Jim. It is the choice with the most risks, but they are risks I am willing to take in order to prove my patriotism to the Confederacy.
I have to disguise my true identity as a female if I want to fight as a soldier similar to Loreta Janeta Velazquez. I heard from underground gossip that she wanted to follow her husband to the first Battle of Bull Run but he refused to let her go. Instead of staying back, she had a uniform made and disguised herself as a man--taking the name Harry T. Buford. Loreta even used her true female identity to gather intelligence in Washington D.C.
If I am going to participate in the Battle of Bull Run I must follow the troops and find Loreta. She will know how to guide and protect me since we are both in similar positions. She learned how to disguise her true self successfully and I hope to do the same. The troops are now headed to Maryland and Tennessee, where should I go?
<center> Join the troops to [[Maryland |1abc]] or to [[Tennessee |1ab]] </center>I had to do something! I had learned many summers ago how to treat infections and diseases and I was tired of standing by on the side lines watching as others labored tirelessly to bring aid and comfort to the sick and wounded soldiers. Also, I could not stop worrying about my Jim.
The brutality of the war caused a shortage of nurses. The US army were finally recruiting women to be nurses. I seized my opportunity and volunteered. The aftermath of the battle of Shiloh was an eye-opening experience. There was death and destruction everywhere I looked. It was possible the most inhumane suffering. I tried to help as much as of the wounded as possible. For some, it was already too late.
The Proclamation of Blockade has taken a toll on us. We barely have enough resources to take care of our wounded soldiers. But it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be here, so I want to make sure I leave my mark. Although, it hurts me to feel the continued doubts of my male peers to my capabilities. [[Next |1bc]]So much has happened so quickly. Before I was even able to settle, I was already being transferred to Tennessee. September 22, 1862 is a day that I will never forget. I remember having this terrible gut feeling that morning of. In a few hours, I was informed of our victory. However, it turns out that many were hurt.
The next thing I knew, hundreds of wounded soldiers were being rushed into our camp. One man repeatedly screamed, "So much blood! Blood everywhere." We were all so overwhelmed. As I was trying to calm and help the screaming soldier, in the corner of my eyes, I saw a familiar face on a gurney. It was Jim.
I didn't know what to do but cry. My Jim is hurt. I want to help him. I know I could help him. I immediately talk to Doctor Develter and ask him of my husband's state. He is saying he will need to perform a surgery on his leg to remove the lodged bullets, but it will be complicated as it is so easy to make a mistake that might drastically change his life. Doctor Develter then asks me, do you want to help me with this surgery? I was shocked. He is the only man in this place that has not made me feel any lesser, but suddenly I am unsure.
[[Perfom emergency surgery |1bcd]]
[[Refuse and continue to help the other soldiers |10]]My husband's life is in my hands. Doctor Develter is guiding me as much as possible with this whole procedure. I am so afraid to make the wrong move. I remove one bullet easily as it was so close to the surface. As we go deeper into his leg, we find that the bullet is located closely to his sciatic nerve. My heart sank.
Doctor Develter takes over while I help him. He says that it is possible for Jim to fully recover if we leave the bullet in, but it is a risk as he can get an infection. Although many refuses, he then lets me take the lead on closing my husband up.
I'm not sure what to do anymore. They transferred my husband back to Maryland a week ago. Jim's mother volunteered to look after him. I wanted to go back home as well but she encouraged me to keep fighting as she fully supports what I am doing. I'm a matron now and I am in charge of keeping the hospital in order, but I do want to be with Jim.
[[Stay, continue as a matron|4]]
[[Go back home to take care of Jim|6]]As I stayed and continued to be a matron. A group of soldiers came running in our camp! They started to capture people and make them prisoners of war. I made a run for it, but it was all too late as a soldier had already spotted me trying to run away.
Captured, they put me and a few others inside these prison camps. It feels like torture in here. I want to see my husband. I haven't talked to him in so long that I don't know if he is doing okay or not with his injured leg. But, I need to survive in here first.
It has been a week, and I have been seeing so many soldiers being brought in the camp due to injuries. I've had enough of just watching these young and old men injured and dying from simple traumas that I can easily help them with! Even though we support different views of the war and I am their capture, I want to help them. I scream to a guard, "Hey, Let me out! I want to help them! I can help those who are wounded--I'm a matron!" He stares at me for a while, not moving a muscle or even replying back. He then calls over someone who seems to look like his superior. Next thing I know, I am outside in front of many wounded soldiers. In seeing so many unjustly hurt and wounded, I feel empathetic for them and goes to work right away.
Its been over 2 weeks now, and I'm not sure if I will ever be able to go back home. I am not sure when my freedom will be exchanged for something else, or if I should just escape on my own. I am tired of waiting...
Eventually, you escape and you [[return back home to finally be with Jim |6]] or [[become a guerilla| 17]]September 22, 1862 is a date that will forever be engraved in my memory. I chose to follow the troops to Antietam and I am afraid it is one of my biggest regrets; I have witnessed so much bloodshed. War is nothing like how I perceived it to be beforehand when I used to read about it in the newspaper. War is not just or glorifiable-- it is violent, cruel, and merciless. I saw men being shot in the face, and all I could think about were their loved ones back home who no longer had a father or a husband.
Although I survived, I will have to live with physical and emotional scars. A soldier from the Union side shot me in the arm and if I don't receive medical treatment I am scared it will become infected. I must go to a medical tent and receive treatment from a nurse even if it means I must reveal who I really am... I don't think I am ready to face the repercussions of my choices, but I need to survive this.
On top of all the burden that I am already facing, my son George has written me that he is also injured from the war. I am in no physical condition to tend to my own son, and I am living with heartache each day that I am away from him.
A day later, I receive [[another leter |5ab]] and my heart sinks.On the morning of April 6, 1862, I found myself among the 40,000 Confederate soldiers who struck the Union troops by surprise. Under the command of General Albert Sidney Johnston, we surrounded the Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River and attacked the Union's troops while they were least expecting it. We made great progress against the Union on the first day of battle, but we lost General Johnston in the process and he was replaced by General Beauregard. We are supposed to be winning, but it feels like both sides are losing because all I see around me are the cries of strong men and the blood of brave faces lost in battle.
A couple of months later in August 1862, I was drawn into the Second Battle of Bull Run. Somehow our General Robert E. Lee planned a strategic counterattack against the opposing enemies, Pope and McClellan and overcame their troops when we were significantly outnumbered. This moment was a great victory for the Confederacy and led the Union to retreat to Washington once more.
Although this was considered a win for the Confederacy, it came at a price. I was shot in the upper abdominal area during battle and I had to receive medical treatment if I wanted to survive. The surgeon had to remove my uniform-- revealing my true identity as a woman. I am afraid of the legal consequences and shame that I will face, but I do not regret risking my life to support my husband and my country.
Jim was also injured in the Second Battle of Bull Run. A grenade detonated 20 feet away from him and now he may lose his leg. I should be celebrating this Confederate victory, yet I feel like the worst has yet to come... [[Next| 15]]<i>My dearest Mary Ann,
I do not know how to form the right words to say this. Our precious son, George, has passed away due to illness. There may have been a hope for him to survive, but the Proclamation of Blockade issued by President Abraham Lincoln on April 19th, 1861 prevented the transportation of medical supplies to the Union army. Although George and I were fighting on opposite sides of the war, the love I have for my son triumphs over my political beliefs. My heart is aching and I feel an emptiness from the loss of our son.
I was greatly injured on the battlefield as well. A soldier from the Union threw a grenade over to our side and it detonated only ten feet away from me. I saw the grenade flying towards me and all I could think about was how I cannot leave you alone without a husband or a son. Thankfully I survived, but I am experiencing partial paralysis in my left leg. It turns out that a bullet was also lodged in my leg during the crossfire. The wounds were left open for a couple days because we did not have antibiotics or properly sterilized tools...this means I may lose my leg. This war has done so much damage to our family and everyone else around us. We need each other right now Mary Ann, please come home from Antietam.
[[It's time for vengeance |16a]]
[[Go back home to take care of your only loved one left, Jim|6]]After reading that letter from Jim, I began to cry. I have never cried so much before in my life. My own son has perished in battle and will no longer come back to me. This is not what I wanted, not at all! I wish I could go back in time to stop my son from joining the army. I wish I was strong enough then to stop him. Oh why, why did this have to happen to my only son and child...
A couple of days have passed and I am still in Antietam. I thought about joining the guerrilla army. But... it seems like such a difficult task to attend to. I have heard of these unofficial soldiers and their savage ways. Their tactics may not be the most ideal, but I want to fight for my son and against the war.
After some thinking, I decided that I will be [[joining with the guerrilla army| 17]] or [[returning to Maryland |6]]I am not exactly sure what I truly signed up for. It is hard to live the life of a guerrilla soldier. I never fought or behaved like this before. A day consists of constant ambush, raids, and use of hit-and-run tactics on the enemy. This is not who I am. Eventually, I [[go home and take care of Jim|6]]The election on November 6th, 1860 started it all. When the Republican Party took office with their elected president--Abraham Lincoln, many senators from southern states were angered and some even resigned from their government positions. This was strictly a northern-voted candidate and it soon triggered a secession crisis until the country was divided. The Union knew it not only had to defend itself, but it was time to fight for the abolishment of slavery.
On April 12th, 1861 after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter signifying the start of the American Civil War.
The Johnsons, a small family living in the border state of Maryland, are caught in the middle of it all. Mary Ann Johnson is the typical housewife of the 19th century. She looks after her husband and son and performs daily chores. She does what is expected and never knew anything different. Her husband, Jim Johnson, is an educated man and provides for his family as well as he could. He is a slave owner due to family traditions and insists there is nothing wrong with it. Their son, George Johnson, disagrees with his father and is eager to do something about it as he spent most of his childhood with those same slaves. There are often disagreements in their household and the war is destined to cause even more conflict...or even tear them apart, as it did to many families living in the border states.
<i> Our story begins in Baltimore, Maryland the evening of April 19th, 1861. You, [[as Mary Ann]], will experience the effects of Civil War in your own home. </i>Days later, I am home alone with no company. I haven't heard from neither Jim or George, so I try to keep busy around the house doing housework and maintaining the business; but they were always on my mind.
Suddenly, I hear a knock on the door. I go to open it and suprisingly, I see my best friend Elizabeth. I have not seen her since we heard the news of her son's death during the riots. Her eyes are dark and sunken as if she hasn't been sleeping. I ask how she is and then I notice that she's holding two white papers. With a voice that sounded as if she has just finished crying, she said: "Mary, I received two letters at my home mistakingly. They are for you."
As she hands the letters to me, I open them immediately. I read both of them and tears begin to swell up in my eyes, rolling down my cheeks, and dripping to the floor. It was from [[George]] and [[Jim]]...
After reading the letters I was more confused than ever—and hesitant. I know that I am not fit to be in the battlefield, but I do want to see them again...
<center> [[Follow husband Jim to Virginia |1]]
[[Follow son George to Pennsylvania | 2]]
[[Stay back home in Maryland |3]] </center><i> 25 April 1861
I am so sorry for how things left off. This is hard for me too, but I needed to stand up for what I believe in. I know father is already going to be disappointed, but I do not want you to be disappointed as well. I am currently in Pennsylvania fighting for the Union troops and even though I am putting my life on the line, I am fighting for something that I believe is right which I can only hope you and father could understand. Mom, do not worry--I will survive this and I will come back to you when this is over. I will stay strong for you.
I love you so much mom,
[[Return|Next]]<i> 27 April 1861
My lovely Mary Ann,
As I am writing this to you, I can't help but say sorry for leaving you. Forgive me for how quickly everything escalated. I never thought I would ever leave the comfort of our home and your tender love and care to Virginia's camps of hell but I need to fight. I need to secure our liberty and sadly, George cannot understand that. Those filthy things have done nothing but poison our son's mind! Wherever he may be, I can only hope that he is safe. I hope that soon he comes back to you with a better understanding.
Mary Ann, please be strong for me. Keep the home well kept and contact my brother about our business--have him help you. I will come back home soon with victory and pride.
I love you always and forever,
[[Return|Next]]The next day, I go to town to buy groceries. I was trying to pick the freshest of the fruits when all of the sudden I hear a shriek. Another riot! I immediately duck down hiding behind a shelf. The sound of children crying and guns firing are forever going to be engraved in my head. I wanted to help them, but my feet are stuck on the ground. I couldn't move. I couldn't do anything.
Moments later, silence...the riot has ended. I then hear a cry to the aisle next to me. It sounds like a child. I run towards her and see a deep and bloody wound on her right leg. I immediately rip the bottom of my skirt and wrap it tightly around her leg similar to what I did when little Georgie got cut by a sewing machine. As nurses came, I help them transfer those wounded soldiers and civilians to the hospital. It is such a refreshing experience to be of this help to others; and then I thought, maybe I should do this... Maybe Elizabeth is right.
Later that night, I join the nurses and Elizabeth to travel to [[Pennsylvania to provide aid| 2b]]. Hopefully, I will see my Georgie.Many hard months go by. The war is taking its toll on me and all the other men around me. George has suprised me showing characteristics in him that I had never seen before. He had shown great courage and leasdership during all this as he moved up in ranks and became Lieutenant General. He is the spitting image of his father Jim. It was then when I realized that George doesn't need me anymore. He is able to care for himself.
During the past year I gained an interest in the medical practice. I was inspired by all the hard working doctors and nurses that cared for the wounded and sick. They put their lives at risk to save strangers. They were selfless just like me. I want to pursue a similar path, but I am concerned about Jim's status. I haven't heard from him for a while.
[[You reveal yourself to be a woman and return home to nurse Jim back to health|6]]
[[You reveal yourself to be a woman and work hard to become a nurse|2bc]]I am too emotionally distraught. I can't operate on my husband while I am feeling this way. I try to distract myself by continuing to help the other wounded soldiers. I feel adrenaline rushing through my body that I become more efficient than ever.
A few hours later, Doctor Develter informs me that one bullet is left in his leg since it is too close to his sciatic nerve. He says that that it is possible for Jim to fully recover if we leave the bullet in, but it is a risk as he can get an infection.
I am so ashamed on what has happened. I should have been there with Jim, but I was not. They ended up transferring my husband back to Maryland a week ago. Jim's mother volunteered to look after him. I wanted to go back home as well but she encouraged me to keep fighting as she fully supports what I am doing. She doesn't know that I wasn't there for him. Doctor Develter keeps encouraging and helping me. He says that I made the right choice to focus on other soldiers. Later on, they promoted me as a matron. I am now in charge of keeping the hospital in order due to the apparent efficiency that I demonstrated in Tennessee, but I do want to be with Jim. I hope he can ever forgive me.
[[Stay, continue as a matron|4]]
[[Go back home to take care of Jim|6]]While I'm washing the dishes, I overhear my husband and son in the dining room arguing again. They have been arguing during supper for months about politics. My son George has had enough of his father's opinions. As their arguments progress, I hear gunshots outside the windows. From the distance, crowds are yelling and more glass is breaking. Riots! I look towards my husband and son, and George looks at me and says, "I'm going to join the riot mom!" I scream, "No George! I do NOT want you joining that riot! You're only going to get hurt!", but it was all too late as before I finished my sentence, he had already left the house.
As the riot dies down, I hear George coming through the front door. As he enters, Jim and George immediately get into another argument. Because of George's participation during the riot, my husband tries to kick my son out of the house. I screamed relentlessly trying to end this cycle, "STOP THIS, you two!"
<i> But George has already decided. He sees no other choice. His desire for adventure prompts him to leave and join the Union Army because he disagrees with his father's political ideologies. He ends up being stationed in Pennsylvania. Back at home, Jim decides to join the Confederate Army to change his son's way of thinking. He is then relocated to a base in Virginia—leaving you alone back home. <i/> [[Next]]My true identity as a woman was revealed by the Confederacy. They did not care that I risked my life for the Confederate army, for the fact that I was disguising as a male soldier was too overbearing for the judiciary to overlook. I am terrified of what my life will be like now that I have lost my social standing and reputation as a well-respected woman. In this day and age, a woman's class and image is essential to how we are treated in society. People may look down on me, but no one understands why I put my life on the line except for my family.
Even though I made these sacrifices for justifiable reasons, I am afraid the judge will not show me mercy. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and I fear it may still be in order. For my own life, this means the charge placed on me by the judge may not be reviewable and I could possibly remain a prisoner of war. I do not want to be stuck in chains, linked to an empty and lifeless cell. I need to get away...
I heard the Confederate guerilla army is looking for more soldiers. Should I make a break for it and disguise myself once more? Or should I go back home to Maryland and take care of my husband Jim, who may possibly lose his leg?
[[Join the Confederate guerilla army| 17]]
[[Go home to take care of Jim|6]]I decided it could do no harm to speak to Doctor Develter again. He has offered me a lot of knowledge and let me sit in on his surgeries and other operations. The other doctors highly disapprove, but I have never felt so invigorated. I have been learning so many things that I never thought I would have the ability to. I am realizing that I have never wanted to do anything more other than learn. I know this war has caused many terrible things, but it has given me the ability to separate myself from what is expected of me. It has also helped me make a difference in the world. I want all women to experience this freedom and I will spend my life fighting for that.I am satisfied with my work as a nurse, and the many lives I have helped to save. After four long years, the war has come to an end on April 9th, 1865 with a northern victory. It’s time for me to go home. I hope that after all of these experiences during the war, women’s expected roles will finally be given a second thought and ultimately, changed. So much has happened so quickly. Before I was even able to settle, I was already being transferred to Tennessee. September 22, 1862 is a day that I will never forget. I remember having this terrible gut feeling that morning of. In a few hours, I was informed of our loss; and therefore, many were hurt.
The next thing I knew, hundreds of wounded soldiers were being rushed into our camp. One man repeatedly screamed, "So much blood! Blood everywhere." We were all so overwhelmed. I try to calm him down, but I am also afraid. I have never seen such a gruesome picture.
In the corner of my eye, I see a young soldier who is about the same age George. He is in so much pain. Doctor Develter is saying he will need to perform a surgery on his leg to remove the lodged bullets, but it will be complicated as it is so easy to make a mistake that might drastically change his life. Doctor Develter then asks me, "Do you want to help me with this surgery?". I was shocked. He is the only man in this place that has not made me feel any lesser, but suddenly I am unsure.
[[Perfom emergency surgery |2bcd]]This young man's life is in my hands. Doctor Develter is guiding me as much as possible with this whole procedure. I am so afraid to make the wrong move. I remove one bullet easily as it was so close to the surface. As we go deeper into his leg, we find that the bullet has punctured his sciatic nerve. My heart sank. It was already too late. An amputation is in order.
Doctor Develter continues to guide me throughout this entire surgery. Although many refuses, he lets me take the lead in this amputation. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I was so scared of making a mistake as I felt like everyone in the room wanted me to fail. A few hours later, I was able remove his right leg. It hurts me as even though it was successful, I still removed this young man's freedom to fight and live.
I am now a matron. They promoted me to look after the hospital as that previous surgery proved my abilities. I finally gained their trust and confidence. I want to continue my journey in the field, but I want to be with my Jim. I hope he's still okay.
[[Stay, continue as a matron|4]]
[[Go back home to take care of Jim|6]]