March is Women’s History Month.
Writing women back into history. Many times we forget the Civil War wasn’t fought only by men, but women, too.
Did you watch the recent PBS Civil War mini-series “Mercy Street?”
I was glued to my TV every week watching the fascinating story of a Virginia hotel turned into a hospital for both Union and Confederate wounded in 1862.
What did you think of Mercy Street?
I enjoyed watching the story unfold and how it paralleled my Civil War time travel romance, Love Me Forever, which also takes place in 1862 Virginia. It was like watching my pages come alive with Civil War medicine, a visit from Mr. Lincoln, hoop skirts, women’s roles in both the North and the South, and of course, hot romance.
What I loved so much about that show was the prominence of women’s roles during the Civil War and how they changed nursing with their daring and willingness to tread into what was then a male profession.Like Mercy Street, I have two heroines:
Liberty Jordan, a time traveler from the future who goes back to Antietam dressed as a Confederate officer.
Pauletta Buckingham, a Tennessee belle and a spy bent on revenging the death of her beloved, a Texas Ranger.
An odd couple in every way. One is a strawberry-blonde, the other raven-haired. One believes in the Union; the other will do anything for the cause. One is in love with a man she canâ€™t haveâ€¦the other is engaged to a man she doesnâ€™t love.
But these two women have one thing in common: believing in womenâ€™s equality. Here my time traveler, Liberty in LOVE ME FOREVER, questions her involvement in the war with belle Pauletta Sue.
â€œLiberty couldnâ€™t stop questioning how she got mixed up with this crazy secesh woman and her insane scheme. Sheâ€™d never seen a woman so passionate about a cause, so truly believing what she was doing was patriotism. The war had unleashed a fire in her, and the more Liberty understood about the protected, delicate lifestyle these women led, the more she knew a great movement was underway that went beyond their cause.
It wasnâ€™t until 1866 that the American Equal Rights Association was founded, but this was the beginning of the movement leading to womenâ€™s freedom and that she could understand. What bothered her was that Pauletta Sue was on the losing side of the war and because of that, she might not benefit from the changes women embraced afterward. She worked so hard at her cause, Liberty believed she deserved better, but the belle wouldnâ€™t listen to her.â€
I love how these two women bond over the course of the story as did Union Army nurse Mary in Mercy Street with belle Emma. But as much as I enjoyed the series, I kept hoping they would touch on the role of women in the ranks. Brave women who fought and often died as soldiers because they believed in their cause. Iâ€™m hoping the series will be renewed and weâ€™ll meet up with a female soldier in Season 2.
My hero, Major Flynt Stephens, a Union Army physician, ponders the idea of female soldiers when he finds out his Rebel prisoner is a beautiful woman (Liberty).
â€œThe Rebel prisoner was a female.
Would his nurse give her away? Or was she waiting for him to say something? He couldnâ€™t. He felt a stirring within him, something he didnâ€™t want to admit, that brought a hardness between his loins. Did he dare imagine that a beautiful woman existed under all that blood and dirt? Heâ€™d heard stories about women enlisting in the army, both North and South, and fighting as men. A good set of teeth to rip open a bullet cartridge, a trigger finger that worked, and a firm handshake was all that was required to join up. It was no secret the promise of a steady paycheck was often the reason behind such reckless female behavior.
That didnâ€™t solve his immediate problem.â€
We will soon see women in combat roles in the Armed Forces. Imagine how proud the women soldiers in the Civil War would be knowing they paved the way…
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