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Woman Was Soldier in Union Army

From the Gallipolis Bulletin
May 26, 1916
Transcribed by Henny Evans

     In a little private cemetery near the village of Thivener, a few miles from Gallipolis, Ohio, there sleeps one whose name, instead of being chiseled on an impervious marble slab bearing the simple dates of her birth and demise, should be written boldly and indelibly with those of the patriots and heroes of history.
     The great Civil War between the states, now almost half a century past the full history of whose stirring incidents and deeds of patriotism near has nor never will be fully written, was, as are all other wars, the source of untold deeds of valor, which even after the lapse of 50 years will continue to be revealed so long as there remains alive a single one of the participants in that memorable struggle. Among all these stories of thrilling days none has been produced that would breathe the spirit of patriotism and present greater real stirring romances than a history of Frances Quinn.
     Away back about 1844, in the little town of LeMoyne, Ill., Frances Elizabeth Quinn was born of humble but eminently respectable parentage, whose home two years later was again blessed with a son. These children grew up into their teens around the home fireside, when both parents died and the children were left under the care of their nearest relative.

Enlisted in Indiana
     The son having reached his seventeenth year, drifted away from his boyhood home, and the Civil War opening he enlisted in the Federal army. Soon afterward Frances, being fired by the spirit of patriotism and by the enlistment of her only brother determined also to volunteer, and secretly donning male attire and going over into Indiana, where a regiment was being organized, offered her services under the name of B.F. Miller or Frank Miller, as she became known among her comrades.
     Her regiment was the Fifteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and in 1863 was before the close of the war assigned to the Fifteenth Army Corps, commanded by the General W.T. Sherman, many of whose troops were in the engagements at Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, among which was Frank Miller's regiment, the Fifteenth Indiana.
     Up to 1863 Frank Miller had succeeded in preventing the discovery of her sex. Though not unusually large or strong for one of her sex and age she had endured the privations and hardships of many long marches, and had done her part on the picket post and the routine duties of the camp until September 20, 1863. It was then that the historic battle of Chickamauga was fought and it was there that the Illinois heroine received a severe wound in one of her limbs which resulted by her being captured by the enemy.

Taken to Prison
     Though the wound was severe and by various complications threatened her life, she was conveyed to the confederate Prison at Atlanta, Ga., where she was confined until February 17, 1864, when her identity having been discovered she was enrolled among the 27 other prisoners for exchange.
     Her condition when exchanged was very pitiable. The wound in her leg was caused by a minnie ball, and while in the prison gangrene set in and nearly the entire calf of the leg was destroyed. When carried from the ambulance the true martial spirit she had displayed all during her term of army service was undimmed, and her first words onentering the Union lines were: "Hurrah for God's country!"
     After Frank Miller's exchange she was sent to a hospital at Nashville, Tenn., where she measurably recovered and went from there to Pennsylvania, where she remained until the close of the war, after which she went to Harmar, Ohio. While at Harmar she became acquainted with Matthew Angel, who had served in the Union Army in a company of the Ninety-first Ohio Heavy Artillery, under command of Captain Edward Aleshire, of Gallipolis.

Reprimanded by Brother
     Angel and Miss Quinn, alias Frank Miller, were married at Northup, Ohio, near the former home of the Angels, where they both died, having been blessed with two daughters whom they named Mary and Maggie respectively. Maggie, the younger, is the wife of B.P. Dixon, a well-known railroad man of Huntington, and Mary is the wife of a prosperous ranch owner in Minnesota.
     While Mrs. Angel's enlistment in the army was a most extraordinary occurrence, any one old enough to remember the thrilling time of 1861-62 can well recall how the young Northern heart beat with patriotism when Ft. Sumter was fired upon and the inflammatory speeches which were heard on every hand, both North and South. Mrs. Angel's only brother had volunteered and she, without father or mother to advise her, was seized by the same spirit which had actuated her brother, and she resolved to enlist. Soon after her enlistment she received a letter from her brother highly reprimanding her for the act and even threatening not to recognize her as a sister.

Answers Brother's Letter
     A reply to this, a copy of which is now in the hands of her Huntington daughter, was a stinging rebuke to her brother and sets forth her motive for enlistment. In it she says:

"My Dear Brother:--I wish to say that in reply to your recent letter that I volunteered in the Army because I wished to have a part in the defense of my country's flag. I think I love my country as well as you do, and by sufficient drilling I think I may learn to shoot just as straight as you can and if my health continues good I may be of equal service as that of yourself."

     Touching the history of the case there can be no doubt but what her motive for enlistment was that of patriotism and though the most rigid examination of her war record has been made not the slightest tinge has been discovered connected with her moral character, and no family were more respected than they who resided on a nice little farm not far from Thivener, Ohio.
     The pages of fiction can picture no more interesting case than this--the demonstration of a young woman's patriotism, which was so intense that she would endure the hardships of the soldier, suffer to be painfully wounded, be incarcerated in a prison for four months, all because she loved her country and its flag.

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