Friday, January 14, 2011

Mary & Mollie Bell

Battle of Cedar Creek
Two adolescent farm girls from Virginia, cousins Mary and Mollie Bell, fought for the Confederacy as Pvts. Bob Martin and Tom Parker. They enlisted a cavalry regiment under the command of Confederate General Jubal Early.

They served for two years and earned the respect of their comrades for their bravery. A regimental historian of the 36th Virginia reports that while on picket duty, "Martin" killed three Yankees and was promoted to Corporal. "Parker" had been promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

At Belle Grove during the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864, their captain (in whom they had confided) was captured. When they tried to confide in the lieutenant who took command, he turned them in to General Early who admitted there were at least six other women in his army. Though Parker and Martin had served under Early for two years, he put them on a train to Richmond where they spent three weeks in Castle Thunder Prison.

Though their comrades attested that the Bells had served their country well, their commanding officer called them common camp followers. New news of their discovery appeared in the Richmond Daily Examiner in very malicious terms. The report in the Richmond Dispatch was much kinder.

In late November 1864, the girls were released from Castle Thunder with no charges brought against them. No longer enlisted men, they were sent home to Pulaski County, Virginia in the same uniforms they were wearing when they were arrested. The Examiner described it as "sending home the petticoat soldiers."



  1. When were they born?

  2. I believe they were born in Pulaski, Virginia