An estimated 400 female soldiers fought in the American Civil War under a male guise. One of them was the honorable Albert Cashier, born Jennie Hodgers in Clogherhead, Co. Louth in 1843.
Hodgers immigrated to the U.S. as a young girl and in August of 1862 enlisted with the 95th Illinois Infantry, as Private Albert DJ Cashier, soon to be American Civil War hero.
“Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of one of the most remarkable women Louth has ever produced,” the Drogheda Independent said.
“Wouldn't it be great, in the summer of 2015, to unveil a statue of Jennie/Albert, with gun in hand, in the center of Clogherhead with the US Ambassador doing the needful, to remember a wonderful person who lived a remarkable life.”
Cashier’s successful army career was thoroughly documented; his regiment fought in approximately 40 battles, including the siege at Vicksburg where he had been captured but escaped, the Red River Campaign, and the combat at Guntown, Mississippi, infamous for its high casualty count.
Women disguised themselves as men in the war for a number of reasons, including patriotism or the chance to be close to male loved ones. Another common reason was for the steady income, and a pension, if they survived.
Cashier did receive a pension on leaving, and lived freely as Albert for close to 50 years, securing a number of labor jobs as a man. After a car accident, a doctor figured out his secret but kept it safe.
Then in 1913, suffering from dementia, Cashier was sent to a hospital where female sex was revealed, and this time, it leaked to the press. According to the Drogheda Independent, his pension was brought into doubt, but old comrades spoke up for him and he was able to keep it.
However, after half a century of living as a man, the hospital attendants forced Cashier to wear a dress for the last years of his life, which likely further damaged his mental condition.
He died on October 11, 1915, and was buried in his Civil War uniform under a tombstone that read “Albert DJ Cashier, Co. G 96III. Inf.”