No job in the military, especially back then, was easy. To stay in the service as long as she did was amazing! From Listverse, here is her story.
Photo credit: Chr. Barthelmess
Cathay Williams got a taste of the military life early when she joined Major General Phillip H. Sheridan during the Shenandoah Valley raids. Cathay, a recently freed slave, was the cook and laundress for General Sheridan, but she had her mind set on the front lines of the battlefield.
After the Civil War ended, Cathay was dismissed from her position and had to find another way to make ends meet. When Congress officially established the first African-American regiments in 1866, Cathay decided to enlist as a “buffalo solider.” The only problem was that women weren’t allowed in the military. At 175 centimeters (5’9″), Cathay disguised herself as a man and called herself William Cathay. After a quick and clearly hasty physical, an army surgeon deemed her fit for duty. Cathay became the first African-American woman to be enlisted in the army. Even though Cathay was hospitalized five times during her two years of service fighting in the 38th Infantry, her secret was never discovered. She was eventually given a disability discharge.
Just imagine...when many men in the military were trying to figure a way out, this woman was struggling to stay in undetected. Pretty strong gal, I'd say!
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Cold front came through, so it's in the high 60's...OK?