Alice was the fourth of six children, and the only girl among five boys. She grew up in Massachusetts in the nineteenth century, surrounded by brothers who let her join in their games and outdoor adventures.
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When she started to grow tall, her mother tried to teach her ladylike behavior. When Mama wanted her to help in the kitchen, Alice would run and hide high up in the branches of the tallest elm tree till Mama got tired of looking for her.
When the Civil War started and her brothers enlisted in the army, it was only natural that Alice wanted to go, too.Alice felt her blood begin to boil. Her brothers sure knew what to do to make her mad.
Will, Thomas, and Samuel said their goodbyes and walked down the road to meet up with some other young men who had enlisted. Alice, her parents, and her two younger brothers waved until the young men were out of sight.
As the weeks turned into months, life fell into a new rhythm. Alice was suddenly the oldest sibling in the house, with more household responsibilities. She did her own chores and many that her brothers had done before they left to fight. But Alice did not want to stay home and rip sheets into bandages with other ladies. She wanted to be a soldier.
So one night, when her parents and younger brothers were asleep, Alice dressed herself in her brothers’ clothes, packed a haversack for herself, and crept quietly out of the house. She stopped next to a stream and cut her hair short so she looked more like a boy. Her brothers were always filthy, so she rubbed some dirt on her face and hands. Now no one would mistake her for being ladylike. She walked to another town where she didn’t know anyone and enlisted using the first name Daniel.