william cathay

Black history month day 8: Union Soldier Cathay Williams.

Cathay Williams was born in Independence Missouri to a free man and a slave woman. In that time, a child’s slave/free status was determined by that of their mother’s, so Cathay was born a slave. In the early stages of the Civil War, the place Williams lived was occupied by Union forces. Slaves that were captured by Union forces were known as “contraband” and were usually pushed into service for the war effort as cooks or nurses. Williams served these efforts as a cook starting when she was 17.

On November 15, 1866, Cathay Williams enlisted in the army for a three year engagement as “William Cathay” and successfully passed herself off as a man. Her deception was discovered during a period of hospitalization two years later and she was discharged.

Williams worked as a cook, a seamstress, and possibly the operator of a boarding house in the years following her military service. She applied for disability pension payments as a former soldier, something that have been given to previous women who posed as men during war efforts, but unfortunately was denied and died shortly thereafter. Her final resting place is unknown, but before she died she was able to give an account of her story and to this day she is the only known African-American woman to serve in the army during the Civil War.

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APRIL 14 - CATHAY WILLIAMS

In November 1866, Cathay Williams became the first documented Black woman to serve in the United States Army, despite regulations that forbade her from enlisting due to gender. Cathay took the name “William Cathey” and passed herself off as a man throughout her three year engagement, before she was discharged due to medical reasons.

Seven to eight years later, she revealed her story to a St. Louis journalist after rumors spread about her service. A little over a decade later, she would attempt to apply for disability pension based on her time in the military. Though other women who posed as men were granted pension—notably Deborah Sampson after being endorsed by Paul Revere—the doctor decided she was not qualified and her application was rejected, even though she suffered from neuralgia, diabetes and had all ten toes amputated. She died shortly after being denied this pension.

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Today’s subject was recommended by Crystal P.

anonymous asked:

What your opinion on Women in the Military?

If a woman can meet the standards then I don’t see why not.  Today pretty much every modern military in the world allows women in combat.  The thing that gets me is that many people treat the subject like it’s something new and groundbreaking, like its never been done before. However, throughout history there have been many women who fought and did battle, many of whom were absolute badasses who make UFC heavy weight champions seem like wimpy wet noodles.

Anhotep I, Ancient Egypt, Hyksos War, “cleansed Egypt of the Hyksos”.

Hua Mulan, Tang Dynasty China, disguised herself as a man.  Inspired the Disney movie “Mulan”.

The Trung Sisters, 1st Century Vietnam, rebelled against the Chinese Empire.

Joan of Arc, the Hundred Years War. Led the French to victory against the English.

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Tomoe Gozen, lady Samurai during the Genpei War.  The woodblock illustration below is of her decapitating the Samurai Honda no Moroshige of Musashi during the Battle of Awazu.

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Matilda of Tuscany, Middle Ages, Investiture Conflict, personal bodyguard of the Pope.

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Hannah Snell, Royal Marine, Seven Years War, disguised herself as a man.

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Nadezhda Andreyevna Durova,  most heavily decorated soldier in the Russian Cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars. Disguised herself as a man.

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Deborah Sampson, American Revolution, disguised herself as a man. Removed a musket ball from her thigh with a knife.

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Harriet Tubman, American Civil War, spy, army scout, and co-commander of Union forces during the Combahee River Raid.

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Loretta Valsaquez, American Civil War, Confederacy. Disguised herself as a man.

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Cathay Williams, 38th Infantry (Buffalo Soldiers) during the late 19th century. Disguised herself as a man.

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The Dahomey Amazon’s, West Africa 19th century.  The most feared warriors of the Kingdom of Dahomey.  Their favorite pastime was to decapitate their captured enemies.

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One of many “Soldateras” during the Mexican Revolution.

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Captain Flora Sandes, World War I, English woman who fought in the Serbian Army.  Won the Serbia’s highest honor (the Order of the Karađorđe’s Star) after leading her company on a successful assault despite being wounded by a grenade and in a bout of hand to hand combat.

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Soldiers during the Spanish Civil War.

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Lydia Litvyak, Soviet Air Force, World War II: First female fighter ace, first kill scored by a woman, highest scoring female fighter pilot with 16 kills. Heroine of the Soviet Union.

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Nancy Wake, World War II, commanded a 7,000 man resistance group in France. Was tortured by the Gestapo for 4 days and never talked.  On the flip side she was known for interrogating enemy spies and getting them to talk, then executing them.

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The 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Group, a Soviet all female bomber group during World War II.  Nicknamed “The Night Witches” by the Germans because of their stealthy bombing tactics.

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Lyudmilla Pavlichenko, Soviet Sniper during World War II, deadliest female sniper with 309 kills. Heroine of the Soviet Union.

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Mariya Oktyabrskaya, Soviet tank driver during World War II, Heroine of the Soviet Union.

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Capt. Kim Campbell, US Air Force, A10 Warthog pilot during the Iraq War, the pictures speak for themselves.

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Cathy Williams, Buffalo Soldier

Sharon Solomon

This picture-book biography tells the story of Cathy Williams, who in 1866 disguised herself as a man in order to join the U.S. Army as a Buffalo soldier and earn good pay. No one found out, until she grew tired of army life and revealed her identity. Young readers will be fascinated by the story of this daring and courageous woman.

Story Element: Woman Posing as Man
somebodielse

 asked: What kind of problems/difficulties would a female mc masquerading as a male face? It’s pre industry era, just a little bit. Would that time period also affect it?


A good place to start would be to read about real women who have masqueraded as men. Frances Clalin fought in the Civil War as Jack Williams. Cathay Williams fought in the Civil War as William Cathay. Sarah Emma Edmonds fought in the Civil War as Flint Thompson. Albert J. Cashier  was born Jennie Hodgers in 1843 and successfully hid his female body parts more most of his life, including when he was in the Civil War.

Others to read about: Hannah Snell, Onorata Rodiani, Deborah SampsonJane DieulafoyNadezhda Durova, and Dorothy Lawrence.

The experiences of these people will give you some ideas about the difficulties your character might face. :)