Alfred J. Luther enlisted on May 30, 1861 in Co. A of the 1st Kansas Infantry. Unbeknownst to those in the regiment, Alfred Luther was actually a woman whose real name is now lost to history. She rose to the rank of corporal before the Battle of Wilson's Creek where she was slightly wounded, then promoted to first sergeant in 1862.
Alfred J. Luther
Although the 1st Kansas was attached to the 1st Brigade, 6th Division, of Maj.Gen. James B. McPherson's XVII Army Corps, Sgt. Luther did not fight at Vicksburg, dying of small pox at Lake Providence, Louisiana, on March 22, 1863. Her original burial site was near the residence of a Dr. Blackman near Lake Providence.
Her remains were later removed and re-interred at Vicksburg National Cemetery. The headstone for Sgt. Alfred J. Luther is located in Section K, grave 5971.
The Nashville Dispatch on June 7, 1863 (here reprinted from the Poughkeepsie Telegraph), relates the discovery of Alfred J. Luther's 'secret' after her death. A letter written by Lt. Frederick Haywood (who may also have been the correspondent of the above-mentioned article) of the 1st MN Artillery to his sister on April 6, 1863, also referred to Alfred Luther's identity:
(Thank you to Shelby Harriel for providing the research and information for this page.)
Last updated: December 4, 2017