Friday, July 12, 2013

Private Albert Cashier

  Albert Cashier was a member of the 95th Illinois Infantry and was the shortest soldier in the unit. Cashier fought in more than 40 battles and skirmishes and marched thousands of miles. Cashier was present for the surrender of Vicksburg and Mobile. If you look closely at this picture you can see the faint outline of breasts because Cashier was a woman. Soldiers were not given thorough physical exams upon induction in the Civil War like I had in 1968. If they had a head, arms and legs they pretty much were qualified to serve. Cashier was born Jennie Hodgers and was an immigrant from Clogherhead Ireland who could not read or write. Her prospects would have been poor as a laundress or seamstress. Most women who disguised themselves as men were poor or working class. Jennie decided to maintain her male identity after the war for the same reasons she joined the army in order to make more money and enjoy the benefits of being a veteran. She was also able to vote as a man. She lived out her life as a man in her hometown of Saunemim Illinois. In 1910 she was hit by a car and her sex was discovered by a doctor but he kept the secret to himself. Then in 1913 she was admitted to a mental hospital because her mind was deteriorating with old age. The workers discovered her sex while giving her a bath and forced her to wear a dress. She died on October 11, 1915. She was buried in her uniform and the name Albert Cashier was etched on her tombstone. She was 71 years old since she was born on Christmas day 1843. It took nine years to trace back to her real name of Jennie Hodgers. The second picture is her house in 1950 and her grave in Saunemim Illinois. The fourth is a picture when she was young and old.

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