Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mardi Gras 155 Years Ago

Mardi Gras is huge here along the Gulf Coast region due to our French Catholic heritage.  It was Mobile and not New Orleans where Mardi Gras began.  And the tradition eventually gravitated west.  As for me, I'm not a Catholic and do not celebrate the holiday.  But my sweet tooth heartily embraces king cakes, and I greatly appreciate the two days off from school.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Manuscript Update!

On Groundhog's Day, I received another year on my age, word that the rodent has declared that this infernal winter will last six more weeks, and positive remarks from the peer reviewers regarding my manuscript on women soldiers!  I announced back in November that I had submitted it to a university press and that they were interested.  Click [HERE]. And now, upon the reviewers' recommendation for publication, the university press has offered me a contract!  Happy birthday to me!!!

What's next?  I have to submit a project description and my response to the reviewers' comments by March 1st along with other tasks.  The editorial board will still have to approve publication, which would be at their meeting in April.   And so I will wait to give more details about my manuscript at that time.

Until next formation...rest.





Monday, January 29, 2018

What's in a Name?

The very first thing we often learn about a person is his or her name. Our name is an intimate part of who we are.   It comprises our identity, and we make connections between our name and identity every day.   As for people long gone who we are researching, it will all we will ever be able to learn about them.  In some cases, we learn enough to develop some sort of perception of their personality.  But it's not the same as actually getting to know them.  So we have to rely on names.  I've been researching women soldiers for over ten years now and have encountered lots of names.   

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Town She Left Behind, Part 2

In my last post, I provided a glimpse of La Moille, Illinois, the town woman soldier Frances Hook left behind when she enlisted as a soldier.  Click [HERE] for the post.  In this article....which is more like part 1.5 instead of part 2....I discuss the means in which she left her small town, bound for Chicago.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Town She Left Behind - Frances Hook's La Moille, Illinois

Mark and I stopped by woman soldier Frances Hook's hometown yesterday.  Located in Bureau County in northern  Illinois, La Moille was settled in the 1830's and named for the Lamoille River Valley in Vermont.  Yes, Lamoille is another spelling.  I have also seen it listed as LaMoille with no space.  As for the pronunciation - well, I discovered I had been saying it "wrong" the whole time.  Down here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the French Canadian influences can be readily seen and heard in the names of our towns and surnames of the people.  So I naturally wanted to pronounce La Moille like what I was used to.  Nuh uh.  It's la - MOIL, as in the last part rhymes with oil like you put in your vehicle.  And now it's going to be difficult to change the way I say it because I had been pronouncing it a certain way for so long.  Plus, we  Southerners have problems saying "oil."  Just ask us.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Spanish Fort: A Woman Soldier Experiences One of the Last Engagements of the War

In the spring of 1865, the Confederacy was in its final death throes.  Lee was being run into the ground by Grant in the east.  And then in the west, the Federals had turned their attention to capturing Mobile, which was one of the best fortified cities in the Confederacy.  Admiral David Farragut damned the torpedoes and, on August 5th, 1864, made a run past Forts Gaines and Morgan which guarded the the entrance to Mobile Bay.   This is ironic because Farragut spent his childhood on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, about 30 miles from Mobile.  He was born in Tennessee but moved with his family to the Gautier area.  You can pronounce it as either GO-shay or GO-chay.  Both will work.  But some sources say it wasn't Gautier anyway but Pascagoula.  My research points towards Gautier.  There is a Farragut Lake north of Gautier, and there are still descendants of the admiral's in the area.  Matter of fact, I have played tennis with/against one.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Making a Break in Milledgeville: Women Using the Military to Escape the Law

Motivational factors that drove women into the ranks varied.  For some, the army served as a refuge from oppressive situations at home, which had turned into a virtual prison for them.  Some women, however, joined the ranks in order to escape a literal confinement after finding themselves behind bars as a result of poor life choices.  Such is the case of at least two women who were serving time in the state penitentiary in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Manuscript Announcement

This is my 100th post to my blog, and I thought it would be appropriate to share news regarding my manuscript.  You probably didn't even know there was a manuscript.  Well, surprise!  I submitted it to a university press at the end of August after diligently working on it for the past two years.  The assistant to the director at the press told me they would get back with me within ten to twelve weeks.  After enduring the agony of waiting, I received encouraging news from an acquisition editor earlier this week,  

"We had the opportunity to discuss your project at our last acquisitions meeting, and I am happy to say everyone was quite interested and agrees it would be a good fit for us."

Yay!  That is definitely promising.  But it's really just the beginning.  So what's next?  The editor is going to submit my manuscript to peer reviewers.  When I sent off my original version back in August, I included the names of five individuals who would be willing to review my work.  (Yes, I asked them first.)  So I'm not sure if the chosen reviewers will come from my list or will be individuals that the press selects from possible contacts they already have.  Or perhaps both.  Regardless, these individuals will compose and submit a report to the press.  I should know something by the new year depending on how busy the holidays get for everybody.  These reviewers will determine whether the work should be published and provide suggested edits.  

Hopefully, I will have good news to report.  So keep checking back.



  Until next formation...rest.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Are These Women Soldiers? Part 3!

I shared some images before of soldiers that may have been women.  Click [HERE] and [HERE] for for the posts.   Here are some more.  What do you think?  Even if they're actually men (or young boys), their feminine appearance makes it easy to see how a woman soldier could blend in.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Laundresses: Warriors of the Washboard

In my last blog post, click [HERE], I talked about orderlies or servants, in which capacity some women served while disguised as men.  Some women, however, provided support services while in their true feminine identities.  These women were employed by the military as nurses, cooks, and laundresses. This article will focus on laundresses, also called washerwomen.