Sarah Emma <I>Edmonds</I> Seelye


Sarah Emma Edmonds Seelye

Magaguadavic, York County, New Brunswick, Canada
Death 5 Sep 1898 (aged 56)
La Porte, Harris County, Texas, USA
Burial Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA
Plot Section G, GAR Lot, Grave 26
Memorial ID 6843300 View Source
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Civil War Union spy. Sarah Seelye was born Sarah Emma Edmundson in Magaguadavic Settlement, New Brunswick, Canada. Running away from home disguised as a boy to avoid a forced marriage, she sold Bibles in New Brunswick until fear she would be discovered by her family caused her to flee to Flint, Michigan in 1856. She continued her disguise as a boy and worked as a publisher's agent until May 1862, when she enlisted in Company F, 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry, as Franklin T Thompson. For almost two years she served in the Union army as a male nurse, participating in the First Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Blackburn's Ford, Antietam and Fredericksburg, among others. She also served as a spy, ironically disguising herself as a woman or as a slave, infiltrating the Confederate camps while working in the fields with the rest of the servants. In 1864 Sarah contracted malaria, and fearing her exposure as a woman, deserted. After she was cured, she served the Union army again as a female nurse in a Washington DC hospital. After the war, Sarah wrote of her adventures in a book titled "Nurse and Spy in the Union Army" under the pen name S.E. Edmonds in 1865. The book was hugely popular, but caused the government to cancel her pension on grounds of desertion. She went on to marry a childhood friend, Linus Seelye, and had three children with him. A Congressional bill in 1884 reinstated her pension in 1884 in recognition of her wartime service, and the charge of desertion was removed from her record. In 1897, Sarah Seelye joined the McClellan Post and became a member of the Grand Army of the Republic - the only woman ever admitted. She died in La Porte, Texas, September 5, 1898. At the insistence of her fellow GAR members, her remains were moved to the GAR plot in Washington Cemetery three years later.

Bio by: Screwtape

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Clay Homister
  • Added: 10 Oct 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6843300
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sarah Emma Edmonds Seelye (Dec 1841–5 Sep 1898), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6843300, citing Washington Cemetery, Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .