Agnes Elizabeth Winona Leclerq Joy, who may have been born in Canada, was in New York when the war began. She frequently visited military encampments, where she met and soon married Prussian nobleman and soldier of fortune Felix Salm-Salm.
Princess Agnes, as the colonel’s wife was called, stayed with her husband throughout the conflict. She spent much of her time and energy caring for the sick and wounded, frequently ignoring regulations that forbade her presence on or near the battlefields. Having watched the Prussian’s wife in action, Governor Richard Yates of Illinois was so impressed that he gave her a commission as an honorary captain.