Kady Brownell, Female Civil War Soldier

Kady Brownell

Kady Brownell (born 1842), nee Southwell, was born in an army camp on the coast of Africa, but when her mother died shortly after her birth, she moved to Providence, Rhode Island and was raised by family friends. In the early 1860s, Kady worked as a weaver in the mills, where she met and fell in love with Robert Brownell. In 1861, with the start of the Civil War, Robert joined the 1st Rhode Island Infantry, and Kady was determined to enlist with him. After some convincing, Kady went with Robert, and she became the unofficial color bearer for the 1st Rhode Island. She was an active participant in early battles.

After serving their three-month enlistment with the 1st RI, the Brownells enlisted in the 5th RI Battalion. Kady was appointed a nurse and Daughter of the Regiment, but also served as the unofficial color bearer. During the Battle of Newbern, in North Carolina, Kady displayed her bravery, determination, and ability to protect herself and her fellow soldiers. Following the Civil War, Kady was the only female to receive discharge papers from the Union Army.

Information courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.

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