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Lauren Cook Burgess

Lauren Cook Burgess is an independent scholar whose research has been featured in _Smithsonian_ Magazine, _Civil War,_ the Magazine of the Civil War Society, and many major newspapers across the country. For the past seven years, Burgess has focused on documenting the experiences of the estimated 400 or more women who disguised themselves as men and enlisted in the infantry, cavalry, and artillery arms of Civil War armies. She has written several articles on the subject, and her first book, An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1862- 1864, was published by The MINERVA Center in 1994. Sarah Rosetta Wakeman's letters are the only such collection by a Civil War woman soldier known to exist.

Burgess frequently gives lectures and talks on Civil War women warriors and other topics related to Civil War history. She is currently working on a second book, a history of the other 140 female Civil War soldiers for which she has found documentation and information. DeAnne Blanton, an archivist and historian in the 19th Century Military Reference Branch of the National Archives in Washington, DC, is co-author of this effort.

In addition to research and writing, Burgess is active in Civil War battlefield preservation efforts. She is Member and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Bentonville (NC) Battleground Historical Association and Chair of its Public Relations and Fundraising Committee. The last major battle of the Civil War, Bentonville has been ranked by the U.S. Civil War Sites Advisory Commission as number six on its list of 384 Civil War sites nationwide worthy of increased preservation efforts. Burgess also serves on the Advisory Board of the North Carolina Civil War Tourism Council, whose purpose is to promote scholarship and interest in North Carolina's significant Civil War history, and as a Contributing Editor of The MINERVA Center, a nonprofit educational organization that examines issues involving women and the military.

Burgess is a fifteen-year development and public relations professional who has served as Executive Vice President of a nonprofit think tank focused on U.S. tax policy in Washington, D.C. (1981-1988), and as Director of Public Affairs and Development at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, VA (1988-1991). She is currently Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations at Fayetteville State University, a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina (1991 to present). She holds a B.A. degree in International Relations from the American University in Washington, D.C.

A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, she is married to Frederick B. Burgess, who is Site Assistant at Bentonville Battleground State Historic Site in Four Oaks, NC. The Burgesses reside in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Publications and Presentations


An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosette Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1862-1864 The MINERVA Center, June 1994; September 1994; and November 1994. Oxford University Press (paperback edition), 1995. Selected Reviews: Library Journal, June 15, 1994; Booklist, May 15, 1994; Blue & Gray Magazine, February, 1995; forthcoming in Journal of Southern History.

A History of American Civil War Women Soldiers (working title) Research in progress. Co-author: DeAnne Blanton, Historian and Archivist, 19th Century Military Reference Branch, National Archives.

Articles and Reviews

"Typical Soldier may have been Red-Blooded American Woman," The Washington Times, October 5, 1991, p. B3 (Civil War history page)

"Women in Combat: A New Front to an Old War," MINERVA's Bulletin Board, Spring 1992.

"Three Myths about Women Soldiers of the Civil War," The Camp Chase Gazette, June 1993.

Book Reviews, Patriots in Disguise: Women Warriors of the Civil War, Richard Hall, Paragon House, 1993. MINERVA: Quarterly Journal on Women and the Military (Summer 1993). The Civil War News (October 1993) Blue & Gray Magazine (February 1994)

"Understanding the American Civil War's Women Combatants," journal article with annotated bibliography, forthcoming.


"American Civil War Women Soldiers," presentation made to numerous groups and organizations, including guest lectures to classes at George Washington University in April 1995 and Fayetteville State University in February 1995; National Archives luncheon seminar, December 1994; Women's History Month program speaker, 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, Ft. Bragg, NC, March 1994; Keynote speaker for the Zebulon Vance Society Annual Dinner, Raleigh, NC, May 1993; Goldsboro (NC) Civil War Round Table, February 1993.

"History of Pre-Suffrage American Women and the Military," Equality Day presentation for the Ft. Bragg (NC) Equal Opportunity Office, August 1993.

"Preservation Issues for Bentonville Battleground," presentation made to numerous groups and organizations, including NC legislator's luncheon held during Bentonville's 130th Anniversary, March 1995; Cape Fear (Wilmington, NC) Civil War Round Table, Bentonville tour, April 1995; Board meeting of the North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust, Raleigh, NC, April 1995.


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