Many say a champion is one who gets up when they can’t, But sometimes it’s difficult standing up for something when your life could be put on the line. Regardless of her fear and the limitation of women’s rights, Sarah Emma Evelyn Edmonds became a soldier, nurse, and spy for the Union under a male alias because of her patriotism. Edmond’s greatest achievement was carrying out eleven missions behind enemy lines, well known for being one of the most hardworking women figures; a soldier, nurse and spy.
Edmonds, born on the first of a Canadian December, had a difficult childhood that caused her to leave home for bigger and better to become an inspiration of her time. “In her self-written biography, Unsexed, or the Female Soldier, Edmonds described her family as overprotective; she felt ‘sheltered but enslaved and her father, in her words, the ‘stern master of ceremonies” (CWS). Her family can be easily inferred as one prime reason she fled from home. If she hadn’t left and got word of the war, who knows what would’ve happened.
She had gathered much important information spying behind enemy lines that, the Union without, would majorly affect the outcome of the war. Another example is in an entry of her memoir, “But was I capable of filling it with honor and advantage of the Federal Government? This was an important question for me to consider ere I proceed further. I did consider it thoroughly, and made up my mind to accept it with all of its fearful responsibilities” (CWS). She was fearful of choosing to join the military, especially in secrecy; women soldiers were often declined and shamed upon.
Nevertheless, she considered and decided that her country was far more important than any hesitation she had. Her childhood and lack of a good father figure was tragic and pitiful, but had she not struggled then, she would have never strived for a better life and, in the process, becoming one of Union’s biggest secret weapons. Not only did her early life lead to her legacy, but her education and career did as well. Her career as a soldier is what she is best known for and happens to be her legacy itself, while her education helped her in this process.
At 13, a traveling salesperson visited her family’s farm, and her mother offered a place for the man to stay the night. When he departed, he left behind Fanny Campbell, or the Female Pirate Captain, her first novel. It told of stories about women who snuck on ships as men in the era of piracy” (EWB). This was one of the first influences in her education that would give her the idea to escape home disguised as a man, in order to later join the Union. Another way her career helped in her achievements can be shown in one of the greatest things she’s known for. “Edmonds claimed to have carried out eleven missions behind enemy lines.
For the first, she disguised herself as a black laborer by using silver nitrate to darken her skin. ” (EWB). These were many of the true stories that would be later mentioned in her book, the reason of her fame and recognition. Her early life started towards her legacy and her career and education was the reason of her legacy. The results of her actions are rather intriguing, as well. Her actions surrounding the Civil War were a great factor in the outcome and the catalyst for improvement of women’s rights. She is remembered for her industrious work in the nationwide predicament, fighting on the side of the victorious Union.
She was able to get a job in an enemy tent kitchen and, in the process, smuggled over information to the Union that very night” (EWB). Because she was able to get information, the Union had a major advantage of the knowledge of the Confederate’s next advances. She also impacted the society by the ideas that her story had brought about. “Since her case generated a lot of publicity, Edmonds became something of a celebrity in her small town of Fort Scott and was awarded membership into the Civil War veterans organization, the Grand Army of the Republic, in 1897” (CWS).
She had been recently found out to be a woman and had fought to get the credit for her work, regardless of her gender. She is well-known because of this event for being an outspoken woman against the odds of society. Her impact on society’s views is one of the biggest parts of her legacy, as well as the process of how her early life, career, and education helped in the Union’s success. For these reasons, Sarah Emma Evelyn Edmonds has a legacy in being one of the strongest female figures for her service; a claim that one can easily see eye to eye with.
Her rough early life was a kick start in her perseverance. Her education and career, a push towards what would be her greatest achievements. All was needed to lead Edmonds to the impacts that would gratify her the legacy she truly had earned. If no one stands up, all will sit down. Sarah Emma Evelyn Edmonds was one of the first women to stand up and go against society’s restrictions for the greater good. Her legacy lives on in her change on societal views; averted of judgement and seeing of equality.