Custer's "Irish Biddy": Immigrant Hero of the Michigan Cavalry

Pat Young

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#1
Nurse Charlotte McKay gives an interesting account of her meeting with an Irish woman who accompanied the 1st Michigan Cavalry:

"Visited, in company with Miss Bridget Deavers, two large camps of dismounted cavalry-men lying along the James River a few miles from City Point. Bridget, or as the men call her, Biddy-has probably seen more of hardship and danger than any other woman during the war. She has been with the cavalry all the time, going out with them on their cavalry raids-always ready to succor the wounded on the field-often getting men off who, but for her, would be left to die, and. fearless of shell or bullet, among the last to leave."

Stories of Hospital and Camp
By Charlotte Elizabeth McKay p. 125
 
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#6
Women like Bridget are fascinating- a lot was written about her at the time, yet we have practically no information about her life- e.g. where she came from in Ireland or what happened to her afterwards. Given her surname she was almost certainly from the north-west of Ireland, Donegal or Derry, but she is a woman I would love to discover more about!
 

Pat Young

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#7
Women like Bridget are fascinating- a lot was written about her at the time, yet we have practically no information about her life- e.g. where she came from in Ireland or what happened to her afterwards. Given her surname she was almost certainly from the north-west of Ireland, Donegal or Derry, but she is a woman I would love to discover more about!
It is tough because the spouse she would have written to was likely serving with her.
 

Pat Young

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#8
Women like Bridget are fascinating- a lot was written about her at the time, yet we have practically no information about her life- e.g. where she came from in Ireland or what happened to her afterwards. Given her surname she was almost certainly from the north-west of Ireland, Donegal or Derry, but she is a woman I would love to discover more about!
Do you plan on writing more about Irish immigrant women?
 

donna

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#9
In book, "Daughters of the Cause" by Robert P. Broadwater, there is small section on Bridget Divers. I will quote from the book, page 17:

"Bridget Divers, known as "Irish Biddy" served throughout the war with the 1st Michigan Cavalry. While with the regiment she served in the roles of vivandier, nurse, hospital steward, ward master, and even surgeon. She had three horses killed under her in actual battle, and lost ten in various ways throughout the course of the war."

"Near Dinwiddie Court House, the 1st Michigan was involved in a hot skirmish with Confederate cavalry and one of the captains of the regiment was killed. Bridget knew the captain had fallen, and when the regiment was driven from the field, she determined to retrieve his body. Riding alone into the midst of the gray troopers, she quickly placed the body on her horse and rode off to the amazement of the Confederates. After a twelve mile ride, Bridget caught up with the rest of the regiment and delivered the corpse for proper burial."
 

Pat Young

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#10
In book, "Daughters of the Cause" by Robert P. Broadwater, there is small section on Bridget Divers. I will quote from the book, page 17:

"Bridget Divers, known as "Irish Biddy" served throughout the war with the 1st Michigan Cavalry. While with the regiment she served in the roles of vivandier, nurse, hospital steward, ward master, and even surgeon. She had three horses killed under her in actual battle, and lost ten in various ways throughout the course of the war."

"Near Dinwiddie Court House, the 1st Michigan was involved in a hot skirmish with Confederate cavalry and one of the captains of the regiment was killed. Bridget knew the captain had fallen, and when the regiment was driven from the field, she determined to retrieve his body. Riding alone into the midst of the gray troopers, she quickly placed the body on her horse and rode off to the amazement of the Confederates. After a twelve mile ride, Bridget caught up with the rest of the regiment and delivered the corpse for proper burial."
Thanks for the added story.
 
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#11
These types of threads are always interesting. I like to use these types of stories when (not very often) I'm asked by someone who knows my interest in the war what's so interesting about it. I'll then say something like 'well, I've recently been reading about the women/Canadians/free blacks who fought in the war'. More often than not I get a surprised look and a comment like "Canadians and women fought in the war ?". Yep, says I and then maybe I mention someone like Bridget. It can be fun.

For me it's these types of stories that are of most interest.
 

Pat Young

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#12
These types of threads are always interesting. I like to use these types of stories when (not very often) I'm asked by someone who knows my interest in the war what's so interesting about it. I'll then say something like 'well, I've recently been reading about the women/Canadians/free blacks who fought in the war'. More often than not I get a surprised look and a comment like "Canadians and women fought in the war ?". Yep, says I and then maybe I mention someone like Bridget. It can be fun.

For me it's these types of stories that are of most interest.
Hi John. Thanks for the comment. I agree.
 

Pat Young

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#15
Pat you and Damian might be interested in the Irish lady, Ellon McCormick Looby, who I just posted on in Ladies' Tea Forum. Maybe you all know more about her. Another interesting story.
I do not know much about her, so I will take a look. Thanks.
 



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