Elizabeth and her husband John Finnern both joined Company D, of the 81st Regiment Ohio Volunteers and served in the Civil War. According to her gravestone,"She Served in Male Attire Untill Her Sex Was Detected When she was Detailed as a Nurse Serving 3 Years."
Elizabeth Finnern died at home of James Parker in Williamstown, Monday. She was the widow of John Finnern
She is noted for dressing as a soldier and fighting along side her husband during the Civil War,going
unattected as a woman,she was 87 years old. She was laid to rest next to her husband in the Soldiers Circle
in South Park Cemt.
(Obituary from the Greensburg newspaper.)
Greensburg Correspdence Indianapolis News
Mrs Elizabeth Finnan aged 88yrs died after a lingering illness.
This simple statement would not arouse simple interest, but behind it lies a story of a woman devotion to the man of her choice and of her sacrifice to the country of her adoption.
The story of Elizabeth Cain Finnern is one of the most remarkable in the history of the was of the rebellion.
Offering her service at Sandusky, Ohio when her husband enlisted she was taken to Cincinnati where she was accepted as a laundress for the 81st Ohio and from that day of the beginning of the war until the regiment was mustered out at Columbus Ohio September 1864 she was never absent from her post of duty at any time.
Although she went in the first place as laundress that post was soon abolished, and the husband was informed by Gen. Dodge that his wife must leave the regiment Gen John A Logan has observed the attachment between the husband and wife and interfered in their behalf. Mrs Finnern was permitted to remain and a little "A" tent was furnished for her.
She drew the Government rations the same time as any soldier, and most of the time wore male attire.
In times of danger she carried a musket just as the soldier did, and in all respects shared the rough life of the men about her. Often she marched 50 miles a day and her courage and endurance were equal to that of the soldiers themselves.
The list of the battles in which she took part reads almost like a record of engagements of the war of the rebellion.
She was at the battles of Corinth,Pocahontas,Huntsville Ala.,Harrisburg. Mo,.Pulaski, Tenn.,Fort Donelson, and Chattanooga Tenn. Snake Creek Gap, Kingston, Shilo, and others. After every battle Mrs Finnan offered her services in the field hospital. Wherever and whenever she was needed she was at hand, and neither the surgeon nor soldier ever called in vain for her aide. At the battle of Lookout Mountain she was able to perform some service for Gen Grant who later took occasion to single her out for praise.
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