The Incredible " Irish Bridgett ", Not ' Just Another Female Soldier '

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,396
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#1
Irish Bridgett, well, couldn't be say. ' Italian Bridgett' or probably not ' English Bridgett ', named as so many girls were for the Patron Saint of Ireland ( it's a really long story ). Having been born in the correct era, in just the right place with the just the right circumstances, Bridgett ' got her Irish up' at a specific point in time and became a memorable part of the sisterhood we've come to revere ( ok, a LOT of us ) as Female Soldiers of the Civil War. I found two very good stories on her, there are more but these contain the best information so borrowed them along with the links of course. Fair warning following either link- both will keep you occupied into next weekm, far too fascinating to close after one article, like eating one potato chip, can't be done.

Bridgett Divers, Female Soldier of the Civil War
http://www.civilwar.com/people/21-union-women/148420-mrs-bridget-irish-biddy-divers-deavers-.html



" The Heroines of the Great War for the Union, like its heroes, have come from every class of society, and represent every grade in our social scale. Ladies of the highest refinement and social polish have left homes of luxury, and devoted themselves, week after week, and month after month, to daily labor and nightly vigils in the wards of great hospitals.

No less praiseworthy and admirable have been the devotion and self-sacrifice of those who were born in less favored circles, and brought with them to the work, if not the elegance of the boudoir, the hearty good will, the vigorous sense, and the unwearied industry of the laboring class.

If the antecedents and manners of Bridget Divers, whom Sheridan's men commonly knew as "Irish Biddy,” were not those of what the world calls "a lady," she proved herself possessed of the heart of a true, brave, loyal, and unselfish woman, who devoted herself, from the beginning to the end of the war, to the good of the soldier, with such uncalculating generosity, that she deserves and enjoys the grateful remembrance and the unfeigned respect of every patriot who saw anything of her admirable labor.

In the commencement of the war, she went out with the First Michigan cavalry, and through the war continued to act with and for that organization. But as she became familiar with the army, and well known in it, she extended her labors so as to reach the wants of the brigade, and even the division to which the First Michigan belonged.

She knew every man in the regiment, and could speak of his character, his wants, his sufferings, and the facts of his military record. Her care and kindness extended to the moral and religious wants, as well as the health, of the men of her regiment, as she always called it. In the absence of the chaplain she came to the Christian Commission for books and papers for the men, saying that she was the acting chaplain, and appearing to take a very deep interest in the moral and religious well-being of them all.

It made no difference to her in what capacity she acted, or what she did, so be it was necessary for the good of the men.

Acting now as vivandière or daughter of the regiment, now as nurse, hospital steward, ward master, and some times as surgeon, she was invaluable in each capacity. From her long experience with wounds and disease, her judgment came to be excellent, and her practical skill equal often to that of a physician. In drawing various supplies from the Sanitary and Christian Commission she showed good judgment, and knew just what the men really wanted, never encouraging waste or recklessness in distribution, while she was really very kind and tender-hearted.

Her whole soul was in the work of aiding and sustaining the soldier. No day was too stormy or too cold to check her in an errand of mercy. She overcame all obstacles, and battled successfully with all sorts of rebuffs and discouragements in the prosecution of her duties.

When the Christian Commission received letters from home, which was very frequently the case, inquiring for a soldier, if the man was believed to be even in the division to which she was attached, Bridget was the first person to whom application was made. If it was in "her brigade," as she called it, she could tell all about him. If in the division, she was more likely to know than the commanding officer or the adjutant, and could generally give all the desired information. Her memory of names and places was truly wonderful.

When the brigade was in active service she was with it in the field, and shared all its dangers. She was a fearless and skilful rider, and as brave as the bravest under fire.

In actual battle she had two or three horses killed under her, and in the course of the war lost eight or ten in various ways.

In the battle of Cedar Creek she found herself at one time cut off and surrounded by the enemy, but managed, by an adroit movement, to escape capture.

As to making something out of the war, she was utterly indifferent to that. At one time a purse of some three hundred dollars was made up and presented to her; but in a few weeks the most of it was gone, having been expended in various purchases for the comfort of her boys. Any money given to her was sure to find its way back again into the regiment, as she would expend it for the benefit of some sick, or wounded, or unfortunate man, or for the purchase of hospital supplies.

Her personal appearance is not prepossessing or attractive. Sleeping on the ground like a soldier, and enduring hard ships like the rest, her face has become browned by exposure, and her figure grown athletic by constant exercise and life in the open air. But the heart that beats under her plain cassock is as full of womanly tenderness as that of any princess in purple velvet; and, though her hand is strong and brown, it is as ready to do an act of generous kindness as that of Florence Nightingale herself.

Not even with the close of the war did her self-imposed duties end. She has become attached to the free and spirited life of the cavalry soldier, and preferring camp life, with its hardships and adventures, to the comfort and tameness of villages, she is now with the detachment that has crossed the great plains and the Rocky Mountains for Indian service on the distant western frontier. "



" Bridgett Deavers, Divers, Diven, Civil War Soldier "

http://books.google.com/books?id=X2GeBUmW_MgC&pg=PA214&lpg=PA214&dq=bridget+devens+civil+war&source=bl&ots=sFr718OIAe&sig=rrkOztTDhyVnMaFwQQizxd4S2uk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=itgXU_aqGcOL1AHvwYDoCg&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=bridget devens civil war&f=false

bd1.JPG

bd2.JPG

bd3.JPG

bd4.JPG


**************************************************************************************************************
I couldn't find her on Find A Grave AS herself, as this identified and honored female- she may be there and identified as such but I'm just missing her in the search engine there. I did find this grave- which could be her and the person who created the grave had no idea. I'm not saying this IS her, have to go dig around a lot more, I'm saying this is a possibility.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/f...l=all&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=100260170&df=all&
 
Last edited:

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
30,371
Location
Long Island, NY
#3
I am particularly interested in immigrant women who assumed masculine identities. It was not unheard of for women to disguise themselves as men when making passage to America if they were unaccompanied to avoid sexual assault. I wonder how many continued to live as men once successfully passing themselves off that way on shipboard or how many reverted to the disguise later on.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,396
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#4
Oh, interesting! I can see that, although it speaks not-well for the state of those ships in the 3rd class sections, whoa. We read about ancestors who came over in one of the waves, like perhaps the Irish wave caused by the Potato Famine, see the ship's logs, their name in immigration logs and it's kind fo just part of the whole story. We mostly do not imagine what it was like on the trip unless it's the foggy image like Ancestry recently used of well dressed, beautifully coifed women, one holding a baby as the Statue of Liberty slid into view. With respect to Ancestry who is selling something- bet one immigrant in ten thousand first experienced America that way, the rest had several children on a crowded deck and a patched coat and the ship was headed for Ellis Island. I'm not trying to draw a pitiful picture, would have to imagine it's more accurate of what they had to overcome, that's all. If you add sexual assault, you're adding a degree of lawlessness to conditions on the voyage. Gives you an idea of how badly these amazing people wanted to get here.

I was expecting an article on immigrant women and the hazards they faced on the trip, ' here'. :smile: Which you wrote in your imaginary spare time! :smile:
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
30,371
Location
Long Island, NY
#6
Oh, interesting! I can see that, although it speaks not-well for the state of those ships in the 3rd class sections, whoa. We read about ancestors who came over in one of the waves, like perhaps the Irish wave caused by the Potato Famine, see the ship's logs, their name in immigration logs and it's kind fo just part of the whole story. We mostly do not imagine what it was like on the trip unless it's the foggy image like Ancestry recently used of well dressed, beautifully coifed women, one holding a baby as the Statue of Liberty slid into view. With respect to Ancestry who is selling something- bet one immigrant in ten thousand first experienced America that way, the rest had several children on a crowded deck and a patched coat and the ship was headed for Ellis Island. I'm not trying to draw a pitiful picture, would have to imagine it's more accurate of what they had to overcome, that's all. If you add sexual assault, you're adding a degree of lawlessness to conditions on the voyage. Gives you an idea of how badly these amazing people wanted to get here.

I was expecting an article on immigrant women and the hazards they faced on the trip, ' here'. :smile: Which you wrote in your imaginary spare time! :smile:
I am working on an article on Albert Cashier, who started life as a woman in Ireland, but who was buried by his regiment as a man in America.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
30,371
Location
Long Island, NY
#7
We mostly do not imagine what it was like on the trip unless it's the foggy image like Ancestry recently used of well dressed, beautifully coifed women, one holding a baby as the Statue of Liberty slid into view.
Last year I had read newspaper accounts of the arrival of ships from Ireland. The New York Herald described the newly arrived Irish as ”the very picture of Despair, misery, disease and want…ejected without mercy and shipped for America…It is inhuman, and yet it is an act of indiscriminate and wholesale expatriation.” Canadian officials visiting the ships bringing over the Irish compared the conditions onboard to those in the slave trade. Here is the article I wrote on new arrivals in the Five Points.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,396
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#8
Pat, that is one of my favorite articles you've directed us to- thank you! Not that they all haven't been super, for some reason the story of the Irish in America, and the Irish AND America is consistently delightful, which is an awful thing to say given the content there. It's just the 'Irish'- and I'm not- maybe what, 10%? Only our Scotch-Irish clan, the DNA put paid to claims of straying much from the fold through tenure there.

Anyone with Irish ancestor who fought in the war, very much recommend this especially if they were recent immigrants- an awful, awful lot were, right? Just something about the fact that they were darn well starved out of England, tossed away by as rascist a group of elitists who ever lived, you could not extinguish their life force. These days, you tool around Ancestry, there's this noticable need for folks to be able to connect their trees to the peerage. Not sure it would be the case if the caste system in Great Britain across the board in those days were better understood for what it was, and how viscious it was. Underclasses really were like dogs, their lives expendable, like the Irish or other nationalities whose resources were coveted. It was more than that, though, there really was a core belief of ' better', and inborn ' better'. You don't hear much about what Buster Kilrain's character's intent was, in ' Killer Angels', his personal war on aristocracy- probably because everyone identifies SO much with the chivalry, the plumed hat, beautiful women in lovely platations- that's ' The South' for a lot who don't look too closely at History. It was also transplanted peerage, and boded very poorly for transplanted peasantry.

Sorry so long- these pieces are just very good, so much new information we get to tie in with things we' had', you know? Thanks very much.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
30,371
Location
Long Island, NY
#9
Pat, that is one of my favorite articles you've directed us to- thank you! Not that they all haven't been super, for some reason the story of the Irish in America, and the Irish AND America is consistently delightful, which is an awful thing to say given the content there. It's just the 'Irish'- and I'm not- maybe what, 10%? Only our Scotch-Irish clan, the DNA put paid to claims of straying much from the fold through tenure there.

Sorry so long- these pieces are just very good, so much new information we get to tie in with things we' had', you know? Thanks very much.
Thank you. I learn a lot from writing them. I had not realized before I started that so many of the Five Points Irish were from the small county of Sligo, my own family's ancestral home. My grandfather was born a mile or two from the Five Points, Joe Brady whose parents were peasants from Sligo. He worked down at the Fulton Fish Market as a boy to help support his family.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,396
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#10
Boy, I keep getting your articles mixed up, please excuse!! I'll read your article on the Irish, then reply on another thread, it's awful- sometimes spend so much time attempting to self educate on a lot of these things, will overload. There's just SO much good infomation out there- a lot of it can be found on CWT. And OH my gosh, that's like the gold ring of an ancestor- worked at the Fulton Fish Market as a boy? Cool growing up in the city story or what?

It's also the fault of being interested on our Irish in America- if there was one genealogical piece of makeup I used to wish as a kid we had, it really was the Irish, and knew we had zip. ( DNA tells me 10% after all, interesting ) This despite my Swiss grgrandmother apparently detesting the entire nationality. Dad said she was just horrible- actually sang him a ditty as a teeny child where the Irish did not fare well. By our generation, funny, the image had sure turned around. I THINK maybe I just wanted freckles!
 

godofredus

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 17, 2013
Messages
2,086
Location
Chicago
#13
I am working on an article on Albert Cashier, who started life as a woman in Ireland, but who was buried by his regiment as a man in America.
Great, can't wait to see it. Her (his) name is on the Illinois Monument at Vicksburg. She is buried in a town in Livingston Count IL about 110 miles from Chicago. See: http://www.lexingtonillinoisfort.org/Articles/2010/September/CashierHouseUpdate.htm

I haven't been able to find out what has happened since 2010 but then I don't have your chops. Good luck, and let us know what happens.

By the way, the article on Irish Bridget seems to have been lifted from a contemporary (1860's ?) newspaper. Any idea which one?

And as for Italian Red Hair, look at Titian's models - Venetian.
 
Last edited:

kholland

Captain
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Messages
6,276
Location
Howard County, Maryland
#14
Annie I got the freckles but not the red hair. Mine was auburn with reddish tints. Of course, now it is turning gray with white in it. My Dad was mostly Irish.
I got both red hair and freckles Donna and my brother and two sisters got black or brown hair. Although my brother`s beard many years ago was auburn.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,396
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#15
OH my gosh, when I was a little girl, didn't covet Barbies or her darn Dream House- ( although positively panted for a Creepy Crawler set, which arrived one Christmas ) I wanted FRECKLES. Red hair too, if possible, if that was not available in my size, black or brown would do. We had a lot of Irish in our school, there were some extremely beautiful girls who had the black, black hair, porcelain skin with freckles! OH did I wish for that! Or the masses of curls with freckles, another take. Funny what little girls find themselves wishing for, isn't it?

Yes, will be wonderful to see what you come up with on Albert- he's such a fascinating figure that there's been an awful lot of discussion. It's 50-50, I'd say, maybe less as far as fresh takes. I think a lot of authors ( am not including you, Pat ) bump into Albert's story and feel it's something which has been hidden away for 150 years, you know? The articles are honest, we're sincerely being told of a remarkable person we'd all love to have known better, but the thing is they feel they've stumbled on to something NEW. Be great to really see something new, have a feeling it's where you'll be headed with him/her.
 



Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top