Sarah Taylor

Men weren’t the only ones marching off to war in the summer and fall of 1861. There are numerous accounts of women following a husband, father, or brother to military encampments. Confederate and Federal regiments often selected the daughter of one of the men to be the “daughter of the regiment.” This was mostly a symbolic position, the woman serving as a sort of mascot for the organization; however, the “daughters” also were known to serve as field nurses and provided food and drink to soldiers while in the field. A teacher before the war, 20-year-old Sarah Taylor left her home in Anderson County, Tennessee, in the fall of 1861 and travelled alone, covering some distance on foot and some on horseback, to Camp Dick Robinson in Kentucky. Here her stepfather, Capt. James A. Doughty, had just taken command of Company K of the First Tennessee Regiment [Federal]. Taylor quickly became the pride of the regiment, and the men revered her as a second Joan of Arc. While encamped with the men, Taylor learned to wield a sword and fire a gun. She even adopted a uniform of sorts, and journalists described her appearance thusly: “She has…a neat blue chapeau [hat], beneath which her long hair is fantastically arranged; bearing at her side a highly finished regulation sword, and silver-mounted pistols in her belt….” Marching orders for Camp Wildcat came down on September 19, throwing the camp into great excitement, but Taylor’s reactions were most notable to the visiting journalist. Dressed in a blue blouse and armed with her sword and pistols, she quickly “mounted her horse, and, cap in hand, galloped along the line…, cheering on the men.” The men had regarded her as “a guardian angel, who is to lead them to victory,” and when the regiment began to move, she went with them. Taylor remained with the 1st Tennessee until approximately 1863 when she was taken prisoner.

  • "Daughter of the Regiment" for Company K, commanded by her stepfather