Saturday, November 05, 2005

Jennie Hodgers (aka "Cashier")

(excerpt taken from

"Jennie Hodgers was one of the several women who served in the Civil War. She is noted as holding the record for documented service for female soldiers in the war, having completed a three-year term in the 95th Illinois Infantry Regiment. Other women may have served for a longer period of time, perhaps having moved from regiment to regiment to avoid having their disguise discovered, but recorded information on this is lacking. Annie Etheridge served with three different regiments over a period of three years but she served more as a first-aid worker or nurse, not as a soldier.

Jennie Hodgers was born in Belfast in Ireland in 1844. In September 1862, when she was eighteen, she joined the recently formed 95th Illinois Regiment under the name "Albert Cashier", giving the occupation of farmer. The regiment then made its way to Mississippi to join General Grant. "Cashier" became noted for "his" fearlessness and good health.

"Cashier" took part at the Siege of Vicksburg when General Grant's troops forced the Confederate garrison to surrender. The Vicksburg monument to Illinois soldiers who fought there includes "his" name among more than 30,000.

"Cashier" took part in around forty battles and was never wounded, which was why Jennie Hodgers escaped discovery. "He" fought in such major battles as Brice Crioss Roads and was at the Siege of Mobile.

After the war "Cashier" worked as a farmhand and handyman in various small towns in Illinois. In February 1890 "he" applied for a governemnt pension but refused to take a medical examination an was refused.

The real identity of "Albert Cashier" was not discovered until 1911 when "he" was involved in a car accident. "He" had been employed to help with household chores and "his" employer accidently hit "him" with his car and broke "his" leg. The doctor who was called discovered a deception that had succeeded for over 50 years.

The doctor and employer dealt sensitively with the issue and did not make Jennie Hodger's secret public. Instead they helped her get a place in the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home at Quincy, Illinois, by telling the commandant of the home about the problem."

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