Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"She Dragoons" ~ Sarah Bradbury & Ella Reno

Sarah Bradbury enlisted in the 7th Illinois Cavalry under the name Frank Morton. She went on to serve in several different regiments, finally joining the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry as an orderly in General Philip Sheridan's escort. There she became acquainted with another female, Ella Reno, who was serving in the ranks as a teamster and described by General Burnside has having short "army fashion" hair.

In an indiscreet moment, the two got drunk on apple cider while on a foraging expedition in Kentucky and fell in the river. After their rescuers discovered they were women, they were called before Sheridan to explain themselves. In his memoirs, Sheridan referred to them as "she dragoons", writing: "The East Tennessee woman [the teamster] was found in camp, somewhat the worst for the experiences of the day before, but awaiting her fate, contentedly smoking a cob-pipe. [The Cavalry soldier] proved to be a rather prepossessing young woman. How the two got acquainted I never learned, and though they had joined the army independently of each other, yet an intimacy had sprung up between them long before the mishaps of the foraging expedition." 

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