Albert D.J. Cashier, Transgender Civil War Soldier
Albert D.J. Cashier was assigned female at birth and named Jennie Irene Hodgers in Ireland. At some point in childhood, Hodgers changed to traditionally male clothing and smuggled on a boat to America. Once in America, Jennie Hodgers was no more and went by Albert D.J. Cashier going forward. While the language was not yet developed at that time, scholars believe Albert might have felt comfortable adopting the term “transgender.” As Cashier chose to present themselves to the world as a man, this essay will continue using “he/him/his” pronouns out of respect.
When the Civil War happened, Cashier enlisted in the United States Army and served in the 95th Illinois Infantry. After the war, Albert continued to live life as a man and worked quiet jobs. As he grew old and developed dementia, he moved into the Watertown State Hospital for the Insane. When the hospital staff recognized Cashier was assigned female at birth, they forced him to wear women’s clothing, including dresses. While trying to adjust to wearing a dress, he fell and broke a hip.
Once the military found out that Cashier was assigned female at birth, they tried to stop his pension, claiming “fraud.” His military friends defended him and in the end, got to keep his pension. In the end, Cashier died following complications from the broken hip. Thanks to his friends, he was buried wearing his military uniform with military honors.
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