Women soldiers to be topic at Kinston historic Civil War program
By From staff reports
Published in News on August 8, 2012 1:46 PM
"They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers of the American Civil War" will be presented Saturday at 2 p.m. in the summer's final "2nd Saturdays" program series for the CSS Neuse/Caswell Memorial in Kinston.
The free program will be led by Lauren Wilkes and examines women warriors. It is co-hosted by the Lenoir County Visitors Bureau and presented at the county's Visitors Center, 101 E. New Bern Road, Kinston.
Ms. Wilkes researched documents for more than a decade and co-authored "They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers of the American Civil War." The book presents the experiences of 250 women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the Civil War.
About 400 women are believed to have fought on the Union side, and many additional women bore Confederate arms, but because they enlisted under false names, it's particularly hard to document the numbers, she said.
"We find women in all branches, all ranks up to major," Ms. Wilkes said. "I'm still looking for a general. Women's experiences as soldiers were like their male comrades. Because no one knew, they were given the same duties and responsibilities, and oftentimes were promoted at somewhat better rates than the men."
The Saturday program concludes this summer's statewide 2nd Saturdays programs organized by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources and presented at historic sites and museums all across North Carolina. Each venue crafts a program of arts/history/culture specific to that site.
The remains of the CSS Neuse, a Confederate gunboat, have been moved to 101 North Queen St., and limited exhibits are expected to open later this year. The Gov. Richard Caswell site remains open on West Vernon Avenue. For additional information, call (252) 522-2091, or visit online.
The CSS Neuse/Gov. Caswell site is part of the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.