Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero

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Industrial Age

Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero
Author: Moss, Marissa
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Time Period: Industrial Age
Time Frame: 1860-1865
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: American Civil War, Sarah Edmond
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography
Reading Age: Lower Elementary, Middle Grade
Format: Picture Book
Published: 2016

American History > Industrial Age > American Civil War

A thrilling picture book biography of Civil War soldier Sarah Emma Edmonds, from award-winning creators Marissa Moss and John Hendrix

When Frank Thompson sees a recruitment poster for the new Union army, he’s ready and willing to enlist. Except Frank isn’t his real name. In fact, Frank is really Sarah Emma Edmonds, in disguise.

Only nineteen years old, Sarah has already been dressing as a man for three years and living on the run in order to escape an arranged marriage. She’s tasted freedom, and as far as she’s concerned, there’s no going back.

Eager to fight for the North during the Civil War, Sarah joins a Michigan infantry regiment. She excels as a soldier and even takes on the grueling task of nursing the wounded. Because of her heroism, she is asked to become a spy, cross enemy lines, and infiltrate a Confederate camp. For her first mission, Sarah must once again disguise herself and rely on the kindness of enslaved people to help her do her job.

This incredible true story of a brave young woman who makes an unlikely choice to fight for her country is one that should not be lost to history.

Emily's Review

I was drawn to this story because I think we need more biographies about lesser-known heroes. Particularly stories about women in a male-dominated society. So when I came across a picture book about Sarah Edmonds, who was a civil war hero, I had to know more.

This picture book, first and foremost, is a well-written account of Edmond's life. But the illustrations send it over the edge. The illustrations are captivating and really enhance the story. And the story! Sarah Edmonds lived an amazing life. She ran away from home when her family tried to arrange a marriage for her. This is when she starts dressing as a man and going by Frank Thompson. She soon joined the Union army and spent years fighting in the Civil War, participating in some of the most famous battles and working as a nurse and later a spy. She would go on to be the only woman recognized as a Civil War veteran and was even buried in a military cemetery.

There is a somewhat uncomfortable incident in which Frank Thompson disguises himself as an African American in order to infiltrate the Confederate camp and spy on them. But otherwise, I thought this story was fascinating and would make a great addition to your Civil War studies!

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