Albert Cashier

Did you know a transgender soldier served in the Civil War?

The history of transgender people serving in the military is long and complicated

Albert Cashier

The history of transgender people serving in the military is a complicated one that stretches back further than you might imagine.

During the American Civil War (1861-65) Albert Cashier lived and served in the US Army as a man, despite having been born in Ireland as Jennie Hodgers.

In August 1862, Cashier joined the 95th Illinois Infantry, passing a medical examination in which the recruit was required only to show their hands and feet.

Though far smaller than her comrades, Cashier never shied away from danger. At the battle of Vicksburg she was captured, and only escaped by attacking a guard, stealing his gun and running back to her troop.

Even after her service, Cashier continued to live as a man, working as a farmhand and handyman and living in solitude in her home state of Illinois.

Albert Cashier

She lived as a man for more than forty years, able to vote in elections and claim a veteran’s pension due to her male status.

Her true identity was only discovered when, in 1911, she was hit by a car and admitted to hospital.

Luckily for Cashier, however, the physician who discovered her secret did not disclose the information.

Eventually, Cashier was moved to the Soldiers and Sailor’s home in Illinois, during which time she was visited by many of her fellow soldiers from her Civil War years.

She was later admitted to the Watertown State Hospital for the Insane due to her fragile mental state.

It was there while being given a bath, that the staff discovered her to be a woman, and forced her to wear women’s clothing for the first time in 50 years.

Despite the discovery towards the end of her life, Cashier was buried in 1915 with full military honours, in the uniform that she had carefully preserved from her time in service.