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  • Cam Writt

Sarah Emma Edmonds

Updated: May 7, 2019

Sarah Emma Edmonds was a Canadian woman who posed as a man so she could serve in the Union Army during the US Civil War. She was so skilled at disguising herself, she was never found out as a woman, but was accused several times of being Canadian. While she was serving as a medic, a friend of hers was killed in an ambush by Confederate troops. Edmonds then took her deceased friend's job in espionage as a way to avenge his death – a move that was later described by General McClellan as “metal as hell”. Once, while sneaking into an enemy camp, Edmonds dyed her skin black and wore a wig to disguise herself as a black man. I doubt there was ever a greater insult to the Confederacy than a cross-dressing illegal immigrant woman successfully marching into their camps wearing blackface. Her bravery in combat and espionage led to her induction to the Grand Army of the Republic, which is either a fraternal organization of Union Army veterans, or a Star Wars fan club. Either way, she's the only woman who was ever allowed in.

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