While in the "Secret Service" as a "Spy," which is one of the most hazardous positions in the army-she penetrated the enemy's lines, in various disguises, no less than eleven times; always with complete success and without detection. Her efficient labors in the different Hospitals as well as her arduous duties as "Field Nurse," embrace many thrilling and touching incidents, which are here most graphically described.
-from the original "Publisher's Notice"
It sounds like the stuff of pulp fiction, but it's all true. Or mostly true, at least. Sarah Edmonds, disguised as "Franklin Thompson," enlisted in the Union Army in 1861; saw combat at the Battle of Blackburn's Ford, First Bull Run/Manassas, the Peninsular Campaign, Antietam, and Fredericksburg; and sometimes served as a spy "disguised" as a woman! Afraid of her secret being discovered, "Franklin" went AWOL, and Sarah rejoined the cause as a nurse. These thrilling adventures of a daring woman in the Civil War have been accused of being "fanciful," but that's just the beginning of their charm.
SARAH EMMA EDMONDS SEELYE (1841-1898) was born in New Brunswick, Canada, ran away from home at 17, disguised as a boy. An 1884 congressional bill recognized her service to the Union and granted her a military pension. She died in Texas, and her remains today are housed in a Grand Army of the Republic plot in Houston.