Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Nancy Harts - Georgia's Female Confederate Soldiers

When the city of LaGrange, Georgia, was left defenseless as regular Confederate troops were ordered from the area to the front lines, the Southern ladies of the town decided to do something about it. They formed the Nancy Harts.

Named for a Georgia heroine of the American Revolution, the all female militia company was formed in 1862 and included around 40 women. Nancy Morgan was elected as their captain and the company also included a slate of lieutenants and other officers.

Although the women of the Nancy Harts later laughed about their earliest drills, over time the company began to develop military precision. They marched and learned infantry tactics and also participating in target practice directed by a wounded Confederate soldier. After practicing twice each week for 3 years, the all female company was efficient and determined by the time LaGrange was threatened with attack in 1865.

Following the Battle of West Point in April of 1865, a Union column of thousands of men made its way up the road to LaGrange. The movement was part of General James H. Wilson's raid through Alabama and Georgia and was commanded by Colonel Oscar H. LaGrange, who oddly enough bore the same name as the city he was approaching.

As the Federals approached LaGrange, the women of the Nancy Harts mustered on the lawn of Lieutenant Mary Heard's home (seen above). Forming ranks, they marched out to meet LaGrange's oncoming Union soldiers under the command of their captain, Nancy Morgan.

When the two forces met, Morgan wheeled the Nancy Harts into a line of battle but quick intercession on the part of a captured Confederate officer prevented bloodshed.

To learn more of the fascinating story of the Nancy Harts, please visit

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