Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Civil War Oddities #92

Not all wives were content with occasional visits to their husbands or with work as volunteer nurses. When R. S. Brownell signed up with the First Rhode Island Volunteers, a ninety-day unit, his wife refused to be left behind. Kady accompanied her husband to Bull Run in 1861, having already won from Col. Ambrose Burnside the nickname “Child of the Regiment.”

During fierce fighting near Manassas, Brownell’s wife stayed on the field to attend the wounded as best as she could. She was close to the standard bearer of the Sixth Regiment when he received a direct hit and dropped the flag. Seizing it, Kady was wounded while carrying it across the field. Although she relinquished the flag, the wife who went to war picked up and kept for the rest of her life a trophy that she termed “a Secessia rifle.”