Though she was Canadian, Sarah Emma Edmonds fought for the Union during the Civil War. She adopted the name Franklin Thompson while traveling. Disguised as a man, she enlisted and began a career as a nurse, courier and spy (if you believe her memoir).
A 1792 law prevented African Americans from taking up arms in the Civil War. As attitudes against blacks serving changed, black regiments were formed. But prejudices remained until the heroism of black soldiers won the attention of the nation.
Women weren't initially welcome in the Civil War armies, but thousands eventually ended up serving as nurses. We feature five here. Listen in to learn about nurses like Sally Louisa Tompkins, whose hospital became one of the most successful of the war.
When the Civil War began, Mary Edwards Walker sought work as a surgeon. When the Union refused to give her an appointment, she worked as a volunteer. She became the first woman to win a Medal of Honor. Tune in to learn more about Mary Edwards Walker.
After her father died, Elizabeth Van Lew freed the family slaves, including a girl named Mary. When the Civil War began, sources say Mary became an agent in Van Lew's "Richmond Ring." Join Sarah and Deblina to learn more about Civil War spies.
Belle Boyd got her start as a spy in Martinsburg, Virginia, at the age of 17. In 1862, the "Cleopatra of the Secession" obtained - and risked her life to deliver -- information that may have been pivotal to the outcome of the Battle of Front Royal.
Allan Pinkerton fell into detective work when he discovered a gang of counterfeiters in Illinois. In 1861, he helped thwart a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, which may have led Lincoln to later tap Pinkerton to organize the first Union espionage.
The Battle of Gettysburg remains the most memorable conflict of the Civil War, and historians continue to analyze the events preceding and following from the battle. Tune in and learn more about Gettysburg in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
The Underground Railroad may have saved as much as 100,000 slaves. Tune into to this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn how the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act and a secret network of abolitionists led to the creation of the Underground Railroad.