Mary Burns (soldier)

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Mary Burns or John Burns was an American woman who disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the American Civil War.[1] She enlisted in the 7th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry Regiment in order not to be parted from her lover, who was in the same regiment.[2] Her sex was discovered ten days after being recognized by an aquaintence[3], before her company had left Detroit. [4] She was arrested in uniform, held in the city jail, charged with masquerading as a man, and sent home. The account of the incident in the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune (February 25, 1863) described the defendant as "a very pretty woman".[5]


  1. ^ Albert A. Nofi, A Civil War Treasury. Da Capo Press, 1995. ISBN 0-306-80622-3, p. 357.
  2. ^ DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook, They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War. LSU Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8071-2806-6, pp. 31 and 124.
  3. ^ Leonard, Elizabeth D. (1999). All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 208. ISBN 0393047121. 
  4. ^ Mary Elizabeth Massey, Women in the Civil War. University of Nebraska Press, 1994. ISBN 0-8032-8213-3. p. 80, citing the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune, February 25, 1863. Available on Google books. Accessed 8 January 2008.
  5. ^ Cited in Michigan Women in the Civil War. Michigan, 1963. p. 33.