Albert Cashier

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Albert D. J. Cashier
Albert-Cashier.jpg
Cashier in November, 1864[1]
Birth name Jennie Irene Hodgers
Born (1843-12-25)December 25, 1843
Clogherhead, County Louth, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Died October 10, 1915(1915-10-10) (aged 71)
Illinois, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Union
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1862–1865
Rank Private
Unit 95th Illinois Infantry, Company G
Battles/wars Vicksburg, Red River, Guntown
Other work Farmhand, janitor

Albert D. J. Cashier (December 25, 1843 – October 10, 1915), born Jennie Irene Hodgers, was an Irish-born immigrant who served as a male soldier in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Cashier was female assigned at birth, but lived as a man.

Early life[edit]

Cashier was born in Clogherhead, County Louth, Ireland. According to later investigation by the administrator of his estate, he was the child of Sallie and Patrick Hodgers. Cashier's later accounts of how he moved to the United States and why he enlisted were taken when he was elderly and disoriented, and are thus contradictory. By 1862, Cashier was living in Belvidere, Illinois.

Enlistment[edit]

On August 6, 1862, he enlisted into the 95th Illinois Infantry using the name Albert Cashier and was assigned to Company G.[2][3] The regiment was part of the Army of the Tennessee under Ulysses S. Grant and fought in approximately forty battles,[3] including the siege at Vicksburg, the Red River Campaign and the combat at Guntown, Mississippi, where they suffered heavy casualties.

Other soldiers thought that Cashier was small and preferred to be alone, which was not uncommon. He was once captured in battle, but escaped back to Union lines after overpowering a prison guard. Cashier fought with the regiment through the war until August 17, 1865, when all the soldiers were mustered in and out.

A transcription from a letter written by Thomas Hannah, Jr., a private in Company G, 95th Illinois Regiment, on 17 November 1862, from near Jackson, Tennessee reads:

" ... we have just discovered one of our soulder belonging to this rigment is a woman and she is found out and sent home she is one of those loose caractors that used to run around camp in rockford she put on mens cloths and enlisted just before we started ..."

Thomas Hannah indicates that this woman was sent back to Belvidere.

Also, footnote 4, Blanton, references a "Deposition of J. H. Hines." In fact, it was Robert Dunn Hannah, brother of Thomas, who gave the deposition in 1915. Thomas Hannah died 21 October 1865 from wounds suffered at Spanish Fort, Alabama.

Postwar[edit]

After the war, Cashier returned to Belvidere, Illinois for a time where he lived as a man who worked for Samuel Pepper.[4] He settled in Saunemin, Illinois in 1869, where he worked as a farmhand. His employer there, Joshua Chesebro, built a one-room house for him. For over forty years, he lived in Saunemin and worked as a church janitor, cemetery worker and street lamplighter. Because he lived as a man, he was able to vote in elections and later claimed a veteran's pension under his name Albert Cashier. In later years, he ate with the neighboring Lannon family. A later tale tells that the Lannons discovered that he was female-bodied when they asked a nurse to look at him, but they didn't make their discovery public.

In November 1910, Cashier was hit by a car that broke his leg. A physician discovered his secret in the hospital, but did not disclose the information. On May 5, 1911, Cashier was moved to the Soldier and Sailors home in Quincy, Illinois. He lived there as a man until his mind deteriorated and was moved to the Watertown State Hospital for the Insane in March 1913. Attendants at the Watertown State Hospital discovered that he was female-bodied when giving him a bath, at which point he was forced to wear a dress.

Death and legacy[edit]

Albert Cashier died on October 11, 1915. He was buried in the uniform he had kept intact all those years and his tombstone was inscribed "Albert D. J. Cashier, Co. G, 95 Ill. Inf."[2] It took W.J. Singleton (executor of Cashier's estate) nine years to track Cashier's identity back to his birth name of Jennie Hodgers. None of the would-be heirs proved convincing, and the estate of $418.461[5] was deposited in the Adams County, Illinois, treasury. In the 1970s, a second tombstone, inscribed with both of his names, was placed beside the first.[2]

Also Known As Albert D. J. Cashier: The Jennie Hodgers Story is a biography written by veteran Lon P. Dawson, who lived at the Illinois Veterans Home where Cashier once lived. The novel My Last Skirt, by Lynda Durrant, is based on his life. Cashier's house has been restored in his home town of Saunemin.[6]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "What part am I to act in this great drama?". Salt. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  2. ^ a b c Hicks-Bartlett, Alani (February 1994). "When Jennie Comes Marchin' Home". Illinois History. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  3. ^ a b Blanton, DeAnne (Spring 1993). "Women Soldiers of the Civil War". Prologue (College Park, MD: National Archives) 25 (1). Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  4. ^ Blanton, op cit, Deposition of J. H. Himes (January 24, 1915)
  5. ^ Spalding, op cit. "$418.461" [sic] which could refer to denominations as small as the mill, but is likely a typo.
  6. ^ "For Love Of Freedom". Saunemin Historical Society. July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-14. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Durant, Lynda. (2006). My Last Skirt: the Story of Jennie Hodgers, Union Soldier. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN 0618574905 Historical fiction account of Jennie Hodgers' life.
  • Eggleston, Larry G. (2003). Women in the Civil War: Extraordinary Stories of Soldiers, Spies, Nurses, Doctors, Crusaders, and Others. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0786414936

External links[edit]