Monday, December 07, 2009

These are a few of my favorite graves. . .

(an occasional installment)

Most students of the American Civil War have read at least cursory accounts of the celebrated exploits of the Union spy, Pauline Cushman-Fryer, who got into good graces with Confederate authorities by proposing a toast to Jefferson Davis from the stage of a Louisville theater.
After some success on behalf of the Union war effort, her cover was eventually compromised. Braxton Bragg ordered her tried as a spy, for which she was convicted and sentenced to death.

Fortuitously for her, the advance of Union forces
under William Starke Rosecrans in June of 1863 compelled Confederates to fall back from Shelbyville, Tennessee, leaving their prisoner behind—fully three days shy of her execution date.

She enjoyed much acclaim in the North boasting the brevet rank of major and later maintained a post-war career as a entertainer throughout the West. She died in San Francisco in 1893 at the age of 60, and lies in the Officers' Section of the San Francisco National Cemetery, a short distance from the resting place of Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell, and Medal of Honor recipient (and Little Big Horn survivor) Charles Varnum. See a more provocative photo of her here.

(cemetery photo by Will Elder)

1 comment:

gwjchris said...

For more information, you might want to read my book, _Pauline Cushman: Spy of the Cumberland_ (Roseville, MN: Edinborough Press, 2006) or go to