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An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, Alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1
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An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, Alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  22 reviews
"I don't know how long before i shall have to go into the field of battle. For my part i don't care. I don't feel afraid to go. I don't believe there are any Rebel's bullet made for me yet."--Pvt. Lyons Wakeman.
Similar sentiments were expressed by tens of thousands of Civil War soldiers in their diaries and in their letters to loved ones at home. What transforms the lette
Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 1st 1996 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published June 1994)
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3.87  · 
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 ·  159 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Lote L.
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
A short and incredibly human read. Sarah Rosetta Wakeman's letters are full of grammar errors, pride and care for her family. A woman, disguised as a man, was able to serve in the army unnoticed for two years and was buried under the name of Lyons Wakeman, her male alias.

The letters do not differ from anything a man in the Civil War would write. Nothing stands out – no “feminine” worries, no higher goals in “gender equality”, just good old money, family worries, exchanges of practical gifts and
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
part of research for my Vicksburg project... an elegantly and carefully annotated set of letters by a woman who passed as a man in the civil war. written by an otherwise ordinary soldier, the letters capture a rich glimpse of the choices a young woman made -- for freedom, for adventure, for autonomy -- in a world that did not easily offer these things to women.
An interesting read, once I got to the letters, which I just gobbled up in one go.

I would like to see this in the hands of a better biographer who could add depth and context -- would love to see what Candice Millard could spin out of these letters!
Rebecca Dobrinski
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grad-school, history
It is not often that readers find new stories from the Civil War. Sure, one comes across a person they may not have heard of, but a totally brand new story is a rarity. Lauren Cook Burgess gave her readers the gift of a new story in An Uncommon Soldier.

As a re-enactor, Burgess would be familiar with the nuances of life in the Civil War era. This would include knowing that many women served as soldiers during the conflict. In fact, Burgess participated in many re-enactments as a woman. If she had
Shala Howell
Aug 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very thin book, so a very quick read, but a fascinating one. Almost worth picking up for the introduction alone, which provides lots of fascinating background on the 400 or so (known) women who dressed up as men and fought in the Civil War. I especially appreciated the social commentary on how exactly they could hope to get away with it -- cursory physical exams, badly fitting uniforms, dependence on clothing to indicate gender ("if it wears pants, it's male"), presence of lots of young boys in ...more
Lisa Burris
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
After being spurred to read this book by the mention of women soldiers during a recent visit to Antietam, I was intrigued by Lyons Wakeman's story. Here, her story is partially told via letters she wrote home while she was in the army as part of the NY Volunteers.

What is fascinating about Wakeman is that, rather than hiding her enlistment in the Union army from her family, her letters indicate that her loved ones supported her decision and that even family friends wrote to her while she was in
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I find it facinating to read about the women who braved the frontlines with the men in the Civil War. Some were discovered, some were not. Pvt. Wakeman's tale is amazing. Her letters home to her family tell what it was really like to be a part of that generation and although translations had to be made to her letters, as she was not the most literate, her feelings still come across the pages beautifully.

I also appreciate the time the author took in detailing their notations on the letters. When
Suzanne Hakeos
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Amazing book. I could not understand how a woman could hide as a man in the army, but I do now. It was a different time and views on gender identification were so much simpler.

Well researched about women soldiers in the Civil War, the 153rd's and Sarah Rosetta Wakeman's history.

The author did a great job of keeping the integrity of her letters together while helping the reader understand their contents and family references. The strength and conviction in Rosetta's voice calls out from the let
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview, research, explanation of how women fought in the War Between The States. An Uncommon Soldier is based upon letters found in a family trunk. I can not rate this book as I would fiction. If there were ten stars available to assign to this rating, I would give them to this book. I applaud the work of putting it all together. The forward itself is worth the purchase. Even though I've visited several Civil War museums and have been a reenactor for many years, I never knew much of ...more
Jana Richards
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, especially after reading "I Shall Be Near To You" which is a novel based on these letters. I was surprised to see that there wasn't anything written about how hard it was for Sarah to pose as a man and that she was never found out. The novel spends more time focusing on that issue. This book was very short and an easy read. Very interesting.
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book compiling the letters of a female, disguised as a male, who fought in the Civil War as part of the 153rd New York. Excellent job editing the original (mis)spelling, grammar oddities and other problems to reading the letters as prose. This really gave me an insight into Rosetta, and I loved reading about her coming alive in the newfound freedom as a man.
S.L. Hawke
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible reference for anyone wanting a window into the time period. The introduction of the book is also fascinating, a reminder that though we are in the 21st century, well, the thinking towards women, remains 19th century, or lower.
A must for reenactors to read, and her list of bibliography is a good reason to own this book.
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love the content here and hate the interpretation. I wish that historians writing in this area could maybe shelve their heterosexism for a freaking minute. Yes, women went with their lovers/partners to war and sometimes gave birth, but I'm betting dollars to donuts they weren't all hetero or even cis-gendered.
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Absolutely fascinating. The book noted that of the estimated 400 women that disguised themselves as men in order to fight in the civil war, at least six of them gave birth in camp. A letter from a fellow solider revealed that many men had no idea that he was a she until she gave birth. Can you imagine?
An intriguing look into the daily life of a woman who fought in the Union Army. Kudos to the editor for tweaking the original letters enough as to make them a bit more comprehensible. Makes one wonder how many others like her were out there.
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a lot better than I thought it would be, I had to read it for a history class (and there was no shmoop or sparknote for it) but it was a surprisingly easy read and actually quite interesting.
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
The editors story of how she came to have these letters is the most interesting part of this book. Until I read the note by respected historian McPherson I had no idea that women actually did wear men's clothes and fight in the civil war, without getting caught.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
The letters are so touching when you consider they are written by a young farm girl who went willingly into a man's world, first to earn a living on a canal boat and then to earn a bounty as a soldier in the Union army.
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating collection of letters from a woman who fought in the Civil War. The progression of fatalistic tendencies is amazing.
Robin Grace
Aug 27, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Regina and Mysti
More ALBERT research
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's amazing how much doesn't change, I laughed quite a bit while reading things I swear could have been written by my husband during his deployments. Quick and good read
Kathryn Adam-Hurst
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Letter written by Sarah Rosetta Wakeman who disguises herself as a man and joins the Union Army.
Tammy Snook
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Jun 30, 2014
Amy Merkley
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Brad Thompson
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Oct 10, 2009
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