Friday, November 9, 2012
An initial stint protecting the White House may have given Wakeman a false sense of security about surviving the situation, but in February of 1864, her regiment was shipped to Louisiana to participate in the Red River Campaign. Marching for hundreds of miles through the backwater swamps didn't kill her and neither did the battles, some of which lasted all night. But contaminated water resulted in chronic diarrhea and she died in New Orleans and was buried under the name Private Lyons Wakeman in the Chalmette National Cemetary.
We know all this today because she wrote letters to her family throughout her two years in the army. In one of them, sent from Washington, D.C., Wakeman wrote: "I don't know how long before I shall have to go into the field of battle. For my part, I don't care. I don't feel afraid to go." Said like a true in-your-face woman who's just trying to make a living.