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First African-American female U.S. Army soldier celebrated

Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 10:24 am

Throughout Westmoreland and Northumberland Counties during Black History Month, Sandy Point historian Daisy Howard-Douglas will present (dressed in full military uniform) the life, times and legend of “Cath[a]y Williams,” (1842-c. 1893).

Though over 400 women served in the Civil War posing as male soldiers, Williams – a Missouri-born slave, who adopted the pseudonym William Cathay (or Cathey) during her military service – was the first African-American woman to enlist in the U.S. Army.

She served first as a nurse and medical assistant with the 8th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment and then as a cook for General Sheridan, at the headquarters of the Army of the Shenandoah.  Later, she was the only documented woman to serve in the Army, while disguised as a man, during the Indian Wars.  She was also, according to a National Park Service bio and other sources, the only known female “Buffalo Soldier.”

Three other Buffalo Soldiers’ stories to be shared as well:

Ms. Daisy, as she is often called, will also share stories of the lives of three Buffalo Soldiers who left their homes in Westmoreland County to join Company M of the 10th Cavalry Regiment.  These are Zacata native Walter Tate, James Arthur Dean and Richard Johnson.

For the full article, pick up the latest Northern Neck News 2/6/19

Historian, Daisy Howard-Douglas will represent the first African-American woman to enlist in the U.S. Army.