Character is Made, Not Born
It may not have been her father's bitterness and disappointment at her not being a son that put the steel in Sarah Emma Edmonds spine, but certainly growing up in pants must have helped prepare her for her masquerade as a male when she ran away from her home in Canada to Michigan. As Frank Thompson, she became a bible salesman and then joined the Union Army.
It took multiple tries, but she marched off to be come first a battlefield nurse, a postmaster, then an officer's aide. At length Frank Thompson convinced his/her command that she could become a spy, and spy she did as both a male and a female. She even colored her skin and spied as a negro worker.
While spying as a woman, she stole a horse and was chased and injured. Knowing that she could not get military medical treatment without revealing she was a woman, she went AWOL to see a civilian doctor. She tried to return to duty, but resumed her life as Sarah Edmonds when she saw posters calling for Frank Thompson to be shot for desertion. See her illustrated story Nurse, Soldier, Spy by Marissa Moss. Learn what became of this fearless woman.