Some startling histories of these military women were current in the gossip of army life.(2) Livermore and the soldiers in the Union army were not the only ones who knew of soldier-women. Mary Owens, discovered to be a woman after she was wounded in the arm, returned to her Pennsylvania home to a warm reception and press coverage. Their motives were open to speculation, perhaps, but not their actions, as numerous newspaper stories and obituaries of women soldiers testified.
Women soldiers of the Civil War therefore assumed masculine names, disguised themselves as men, and hid the fact they were female.
Because they passed as men, it is impossible to know with any certainty how many women soldiers served in the Civil War.
The men, of course, marched off to war, lived in germ-ridden camps, engaged in heinous battle, languished in appalling prison camps, and died horribly, yet heroically. Like the men, there were women who lived in camp, suffered in prisons, and died for their respective causes.
This conventional picture of gender roles during the Civil War does not tell the entire story. Both the Union and Confederate armies forbade the enlistment of women.