Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Margaret Catherine Murphy

Margaret Catherine Murphy enlisted with her father in the 98th Ohio Volunteer Infantry as Pvt. Joseph Davidson. Her father quickly received a reputation for being "the Orderly Sergeant of the company." A few days after her enlistment, Margaret was suspected of being a woman due to her laugh. But her father reported to the captain that he had examined "Davidson" and vouched for "his" being a man. 

Margaret paid a high price for her patriotism and daughterly devotion. Her father was later killed at the Battle of Chickamauga and she served another 6 months, avoiding detection until she betrayed herself while drunk. After she was discovered to be a female, her captain was convinced that she was a confederate spy. She was imprisoned at Old Capital Prison, transferred to City Point, VA, on through Confederate lines and taken by Confederate guards to Petersburg where she was jailed. Not knowing what to do with her, the Confederates returned her to the Union at City Point. She was subsequently sent to the prison at Fitchburgh, MA where she spent the remainder of the war.

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