Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Thesis Advisor

Eddie Lee

Committee Member

Jason Silverman

Committee Member

Donald Rakestraw


Civil War, African American, Nineteenth Century, Women, Female Soldiers


The purpose of this paper is to explore the social, economic, and political benefits for African American females who cross-dressed to join both the Confederate and Union Armies during the American Civil War. The benefits gained by the African American women who disguised themselves as males improved their overall quality of life when compared to other African American women of their era. The improved quality of life for these disguised women was made available through the increased number of options granted to African American males in the social, economic, and political spheres that were denied to African American women. The results were increased status in all three spheres for the select group of women who were able to successfully disguise their gender through the end of the Civil War.