Sarah Rosetta Wakeman / Soldier


Sarah was born in New York state in 1843. Each woman had different reasons for enlisting. Sarah didn’t expect to be married, her family needed help, and she didn’t get along with family members. This all led to Sarah dressing as a man,  leaving home and traveling to Binghamton, NY, where eventually got a job as a boatman on a coal barge. While she was working on the barge, she was encouraged to join the 153rd Regiment of the New York State Volunteers. She enlisted on August 30, 1862, as Pvt. Lyons Wakeman. She lied about her age because she wasn’t twenty-one. Her unit left for Washington, DC and  performed police and guard duties. Only two years later, February 1864, she not only saw combat In Louisiana, but also contracted chronic diarrhea. She was hospitalized, but no one discovered her gender. She died in New Orleans on 22 May 1864. Sarah was then 21.

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