Frances Clayton. Little is known about this particular woman, however, it's clear to say that her courage was clearly recognized when she had cross-dressed as a man under the alias "Jack Williams" and entered the Union military as a soldier.
Clayton's Military Life
Fire at the Rebs!
The life before the soldier we know today takes place on a farm in Minnesota, where Clayton lived with her husband and three children. The identities of Clayton's family was unknown but it's estimated that her husband's name was originally John or Elmer Clayton. No major events had happened at this time of her life, that was until she had enrolled in the army.
After the Civil War...
Stop! Let go of it!!!
Give us your money!
Clayton's husband had joined the Union military alongside his wife. Although her reason of doing so is unknown, whether it was to be with her loved one or risk her life for the sake of her country, Clayton fearlessly took the pseudonym "Jack Williams" and disguised herself as a man. The pair were put in artillery and cavalry units.
Importance in History
Though war life was difficult, I continued on to fight!
Clayton had been in several battles including the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Fort Donelson, and the Battle at Stones' River. At Fort Donelson, she was severely wounded and had to be taken into medical care. There, Frances Clayton was discovered. Her efforts to act as a male soldier, smoking, swearing, gambling, drinking...gone.
Clayton didn't live long enough to witness the end of the Civil War but she had been discharged after being discovered. She rode a train back home, taking her deceased husband's belongings and bounty owed. That very same train was attacked by Confederate bushwackers who stole her papers and money. She continued on the same train from Missouri to Illinois.
Clayton was one of the many women who risked their lives just to fight in the war. Her actions contributed to the victories of the Union and the courage to disguise herself as a man. She was respected and honored for her actions by many who looked up to her. When everyone else had fallen, she continued to fight. Clayton was truly brave.
I succeeded in the many victories of the Union military!