SPRINGFIELD – Hundreds of women disguised themselves as men to fight in the Civil War, but for most it was a temporary transformation. This was not the case with Albert Cashier, whose fascinating story will be told March 12 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Born Jennie Hodgers, Albert Cashier took on the identity of a man before the outbreak of the Civil War. He enlisted with an Illinois regiment, fought for three years and continued life as a man for nearly 50 years after the war.
The presidential library’s next Illinois History Forum will delve into the facts about Cashier, from his childhood in Ireland to his bravery during the war to his life and death in central Illinois. The presentation will explore how Cashier avoided discovery and the advantages and disadvantages of presenting as a man.
The free event takes place at noon, Thursday, March 12, in the Lincoln Presidential Library (112 N. Sixth Street, Springfield). Guests are welcome to bring their lunch.
Attendees are encouraged, but not required, to read “They Fought Like Demons,” a book about women combatants in the Civil War.
Cashier lived and worked as a man long before enlisting in the Union Army and his military comrades considered him a brave soldier. They visited him in his later years and testified for him when the federal government tried to cut off his military pension.
When he died at age 71, Cashier was given full military honors. He is buried in his uniform in Saunemin, Ill., in Livingston County.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s life and times. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.
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