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Civil War Tintypes of Women [?] Soldiers

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 6 May 2021

Biographical History

Although both the Union and Confederate armies restricted enlistment to men, scholars estimate that as many as 750 women served in the Confederate and Union Armies. Some women were quickly discovered and discharged; some were identified as female only after being wounded, captured, or killed; and some served for years without their gender becoming known. Sarah Edmonds Seelye, for example, served two years in the Second Michigan Infantry under the name Franklin Thompson. Albert Cashier served the entire length of the war, participating in some forty battles, was mustered out, worked as a laborer, and eventually retired with a pension; it was not until the age of seventy, living in a Soldier's Home, that he was found to have been born a woman.

"Compared with the number of men who fought, the women are statistically irrelevant. But the women are significant because they were there and they were not supposed to be...[I]t is not their individual exploits but the fact that they fought. While their service could not significantly alter the course of the war, women soldiers deserve remembrance because their actions display them as uncommon and revolutionary, with a valor at odds with Victorian views of women's proper role. Quite simply, the women in the ranks, both Union and Confederate, refused to stay in their socially mandated place, even if it meant resorting to subterfuge to achieve their goal of being soldiers. They faced not only the guns of the adversary but also the sexual prejudices of their society."

[Adapted/quoted from "Women Soldiers of the Civil War" by DeAnne Blanton, in Prologue, Spring 1993, Vol. 25, No. 1, published quarterly magazine of United State National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Civil War Tintypes of Women [?] Soldiers consists of two tintypes, showing individuals in military uniforms of the American Civil War era. One shows two individuals, standing. The other is of a single individual, seated. The faces, body shape, and expression suggest that they may be women.

Arrangement of the Collection

No order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Confederate States of America. -- Army.
United States. -- Army.


Women -- United States.
Women soldiers -- United States.


United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.

Genres and Forms

Tintypes (photographs)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Civil War Tintypes of Women [?] Soldiers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2021.

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