Synopses & Reviews
This picture-book biography tells the story of Cathy Williams, who in 1866 disguised herself as a man in order to join the U.S. Army as a Buffalo soldier and earn good pay. No one found out, until she grew tired of army life and revealed her identity. Young readers will be fascinated by the story of this daring and courageous woman.
It has been estimated that approximately four hundred women disguised themselves as men to join the Buffalo soldiers; however, only one case has been documented. Cathy Williams enlisted as William Cathay and served for two years before anyone discovered she was a woman. To this day, the former slave is the first documented woman to serve in the United States Military.Cathy spent seventeen years as a slave and then became a contraband cook for the Union army. Upon release, she was determined to find a new kind of life for herself. She was unskilled and uneducated, with few opportunities to earn a decent wage. So she tried something else. Her goals were not lofty, and the only recognition she ever sought was government pension for her service (which she was denied). Her story is one of achieving the American dream: earning a way in the world. Because of her resolve, she will forever be an example to women, young and old alike, who are determined to better their lives.