Saturday, March 26, 2022

West Texas Wildfire Relief Fund Needs Our Help

Story by Julie Tomascik
Editor/ Texas Farm Bureau

Wildfires have swept across Central and West Texas this month, burning over 86,000 acres. Some of those fires are still not fully contained. The damage from the burning fires sparked Gov. Greg Abbott to issue a disaster declaration for 15 counties. Those counties include Brooks, Brown, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Grayson, Mason, Potter, Randall, Williamson, Blanco, Erath, Hood, Runnels and Starr.

In an effort to help farmers and ranchers impacted, Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) established the West Texas Wildfire Relief Fund.

“Although we don’t know the full extent of the damage caused by the fires, we do know the losses will be staggering,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “Farm Bureau members have always stepped up to help their neighbors in need, and this wildfire relief fund will collect tax-deductible donations to meet the needs in affected areas.”

The program will collect and distribute monetary contributions only. TFB will match 50% of any donation to the West Texas Wildfire Relief Fund made by a county Farm Bureau up to $2,000. Other efforts are ongoing by various organizations to collect donations of hay, feed, and fencing supplies for those impacted by the fires.

Burning Situation

Fueled by dry, windy conditions, the fires swept across Texas in March. The Eastland Complex wildfires consisted of seven fires and spanned more than 54,000 acres. It was considered a Southern Plains Wildfire Outbreak (SPWO) and began on March 17. This event supported the rapid growth and extreme fire behavior in Eastland County.

SPWO events, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, have caused some of the most destructive wildfires in Texas history. While SPWO fires account for 3% of reported wildfires, Texas A&M Forest Service officials noted they account for 49% of the acres burned.

SPWO events are extremely dangerous fire weather phenomenon characterized by an environment of dry vegetation, dry west-southwest winds across an area with low relative humidity, above-average surface temperatures, an unstable atmosphere, and clear, sunny skies. 

Another SPWO fire was the Perryton fire located in the Texas Panhandle in 2017 that burned 318,156 acres. Fires also burned in West Texas, devouring acres of pastureland and farmland, as well as livestock, homes, barns, and equipment.

Farmers and ranchers sprang into action — moving cattle, packing up families, and building fire breaks. They worked alongside state agencies to try to contain the fires.

“During this tragedy, we saw neighbors helping neighbors, lending trailers to haul livestock and housing livestock, horses and pets,” Boening said. “Texas is doing what Texas does best—helping one another, and Farm Bureau is doing its part, too.”

Some rain has since fallen, helping the charred countryside begin to heal. But it will take time, rain, and more help from Mother Nature, but Texas farmers and ranchers will rise from the ashes.

How To Donate

Credit card donations may be made via PayPal on the TFB website at

Checks may be made out to: 
Texas Farm Bureau Agriculture Research and Education Foundation 

and mailed to: 
West Texas Wildfire Relief Fund, 
P.O. Box 2689, 
Waco, Texas 76702-2689. 
Attention: Chris Daughtery 

Please include this information on donation envelopes.
The charitable donations are tax-deductible.

How To Apply

Farmers and ranchers with unreimbursed agricultural losses are encouraged to apply. The application form is available on the West Texas Wildfire Relief Fund webpage.

Applications are due May 31.

Wildfire Updates

For more information on the relief fund and the latest update on supplies needed, visit the West Texas Wildfire Relief Fund webpage.

To view the Texas A&M Forest Service statewide active fire response map, navigate to

Note From The American Cowboy Chronicles

To my dear readers, my friends, 

It is not every day that I ask for your help in an emergency. So please understand that the wildfires which swept across Central and West Texas in March have burned over 86,000 acres and are still not out. This has hurt all Americans. No, no just the good folks in Texas. 

I remember being evacuated and not knowing if my home was still there during the 2015 Butte Fire. I remember thinking about what would happen, where would I start to pick up the pieces. I thank God every day that my home, my property, my family were spared. We did not have to go through the horrible task of rebuilding. That's not the case in Texas right now. Sadly, many have lost everything and now need our help.

So yes, this is your chance to do so. If you are looking for ways to help farmers and ranchers devastated by the wildfires, the Texas Farm Bureau Agriculture Research and Education Foundation established the West Texas Wildfire Relief Fund to facilitate getting financial assistance to those in need.

And remember, help is there for farmers and ranchers who have been hit hard by this. If you are a farmer or rancher affected by the wildfires and need help covering unreimbursed agricultural-related losses, please contact the Texas Farm Bureau’s West Texas Wildfire Relief Fund for help.

Download the application to help cover unreimbursed agricultural losses. Return completed applications to your county office or the address below by May 31.

Texas Farm Bureau Agriculture Research and Education Foundation
West Texas Wildfire Relief Committee
P.O. Box 2689
Waco, TX 76702-2689
Attn: Chris Daughtery

Get the application here!

The link above should take you to a PDF Application that looks like below:

I hope the above example helps. Of course, you can make a tax-deductible donation today. 

Texas Farm Bureau’s Agriculture Research and Education Foundation is accepting tax-deductible donations to aid in the relief effort following the devastation from the wildfires in Central and West Texas. This fund will collect and distribute monetary contributions only.

Do not hesitate to contact Chris Daughtery at with monetary donation questions.

Allow me to go over this information again. If you prefer to pay by check, it should be made out and sent to:

Texas Farm Bureau Agriculture Research and Education Foundation
West Texas Wildfire Relief Fund
P.O. Box 2689
Waco, TX 76702-2689
Attn: Chris Daughtery

If you live in the area and want to help with hay, feed, and fencing supplies. Those are needed and are appreciated. Hay, feed, and fencing supplies can be dropped off at the address below from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

Gorman Milling Co., Inc.
Fiber Plant 1200 E Townsend
Gorman, TX 76454
Contact: Luke Fritts,
Phone 254-485-9193

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Contact: 979-314-8200

The relief fund is accepting monetary donations only. So please, make your tax-deductible donation at

I'm donating what I can along with sending my prayers to our fellow Americans who are in trouble. And yes, I know full well that these are tough times. And frankly, we all understand that we can only do what we can to help others. But really, big or small, any help that those folks can get is useful and grateful.

God bless you and yours for helping.

Thank you,
Tom Correa

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Hung By Vigilantes In Los Angeles 1870

The Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 40, Number 7055, 23 December 1870, reported the following:


The Los Angeles Star, of December 18th, famishes the annexed particulars of the execution of Lachenais in that city: For some time past, the escape of criminals by legal process has become too common, and the perpetration of murder on our streets so frequent, that tho people were driven to the conclusion that the great criminals could not be punished by law — were, in fact, above law. 

This growing feeling culminated on the murder of Jacob Bell, a highly esteemed citizen of Los Angeles, by an individual named Lachenais, and preparatory arrangements must have been maturing since the night of the murder; for yesterday forenoon, about 11 o'clock, an armed and organized body of men marched through the streets and to the jail. 

This Lachenais was a notoriously bad character, who had killed three men, and was supposed to have compassed the death of others, his own wife among the number.

Early yesterday morning, notice was given to the authorities that, if Lachenais were brought out of jail for his examination on the charge of murdering Bell, a Vigilance Committee, which rumor stated had been organized with special reference to his punishment, would take him from the hands of the officers and hang him. 

It was thought best to defer his examination and take measures for his protection. A posse was summoned for this purpose by the Sheriff, only two of whom obeyed the summons and appeared at the jail— they were H. M. Smith of the Los Angeles Bar and General J. M. Baldwin of the National Guard.

By half-past 10 o'clock in the morning, an immense crowd assembled on Spring street, in the neighborhood of the jail in which the prisoner was confined. At the same hour, the Vigilance Committee, numbering about 200 armed men, assembled at Teutonia Hall, on Lot Angeles Street, formed in procession four abreast, marched silently and in good order down Los Angeles Street, and up Market to Spring, and down Spring to tho jail, in front of which they formed, facing the building, at the front entrance to which stood Under Sheriff Wiley and the jailer, Frank Carpenter; a few deputies and the little posse wore stationed at the inner door of the entrance to the jailyard, which on this side is fenced in with adobe buildings, used as a dwelling for the jailer, council-room, etc. 

An armed committee then approached Wiley and demanded the keys of the jail and the prisoner Lachcnais. Wiley refused tho demand and endeavored to prevent the entrance of the committee, who pushed by him and commenced battering on the outer door which opens upon the jail-yard, in the center of which is the jail proper, a strong brick building provided with the usual iron doors, bolts, bars, etc. 

In the meantime another party proceeded to the side of the yard fronting on Jail street, which is protected by a high plunk fence, in which is a gate; this was soon broken open, and the crowd generally entered the yard, the committee entering at the main entrance and again forming in the yard. 

The jail doors were found locked and bared, and an attempt was made to force the keys from the jailer, who refused to give them up. and declared that he "would die " before yielding up his trust to a mob. Foiled in the attempt to obtain possession of the keys, sledgehammers were sent for, and in strong hands wrung the death knell of the murderer upon the iron door on the north side of the jail. 

After half an hour's work upon the door, during which another unsuccessful attempt was made to get the keys from the jailer and the fastenings gave way. The prisoner was found in one of the upper cells, a rope was placed about his neck, and surrounded by a detachment of the committee, he walked out of the building and faced the crowd, without a tremor of the muscles of his face, or the slightest exhibition of fear. 

He was led out of the yard closely guarded, and followed by the crowd to an old corral on Temple Street, over the gate of which are cross-pieces, at the height of ten or twelve feet from the ground. A dry goods box was placed under the transverse beam of the western gate. Here Father Birmingham, of the Catholic Church administered the last consolation of religion and gave absolution to Michel Lachenais, who, at fifteen minutes to 12 o'clock, was launched into eternity. 

After taking leave of the Reverend Father, Lachenais mounted the box, and the rope was fastened to the beam overhead. He spoke in Spanish to those nearest him, protesting against the crime they were committing. His last words were: "I am guiltless of murder; if I had not killed Mr, Bell, whom I liked and esteemed, he would have killed me. It was done in the excitement." 

The box was removed from under him, and he fell from vigorous life and health into the arms of death. At a quarter to 1 o'clock, after hanging exactly one hour, the body was cut down, and, after an inquest had been held upon it, was delivered to his friends for interment.

-- end of the article in The Sacramento Daily Union on December 23, 1870. 

Such was Vigilante Justice in Los Angeles, California, in 1870. With a population of only 5,728 at the time, it was not one of the larger towns in California. But it was a violent place, and the hanging of Michel Lachenais was merely one such incident in a town that was among the most violent in all of America during the mid-1800s. 

Tom Correa 

Monday, March 7, 2022

American Cattle Inventory Down & Fuel Prices Up in 2022

Dear Friends,

No one needs to tell us just how tough times are getting under Joe Biden. And no, no one needs to tell us that a little over a year ago when President Trump was in office about how we had a booming economy. No one really needs to remind us of how China and North Korea were in check, or of how there was peace in Ukraine. Most of us know that our Southern border with Mexico was secure, how we were close to finishing a wall to keep out drugs, or how we were keeping child sex traffickers, MS-13, Mexican drug cartels, and Middle-Easterners on the terrorist watch list out of our country. 

It wasn't that long ago when we Americans, for the first time since the 1950s, had become energy independent again. Of course, most of us know that gas prices today, the price per gallon, have more than doubled since Joe Biden entered office. 

Years ago, I wrote about how oil is more than just fuel for our electricity and transportation needs. I spoke about, as often as I could, how more than 45% of every barrel of oil that we use does not go to our energy needs. It's true. Almost half of every barrel of oil that we manufacture or import into our nation goes to our manufacturing needs. 

The computer that you are reading this blog on is made of oil. So are your cellphones, smartphones, much of our cars, radios, televisions, the plastic shields that were everywhere during COVID-19, our clothing, and over 6,000 other products that we take for granted on a daily basis are all made from oil. 

What that means is simple. If we produce our own oil then our manufacturing flourishes because it can make products cheaper than our having to import oil into our country. It means we are not dependent on other oil-producing countries to build computers and other petroleum-based products here at home. This influences the growth of our economy and whether or not jobs are being created.  

Of course, besides manufacturing, besides our ability as Americans to build things for ourselves and not have to be dependent on foreign companies to make and ship up what we need, we have transportation and energy needs to be concerned about. And really, while heating oil and propane are going up, a lot having to do with the cost of transporting them, gasoline and diesel fuel are at an all-time high. If we have American oil production, then we should be paying less than half of what we are paying right now. With American oil production, we will be paying less to heat our homes. American oil production also means cheaper electricity for those electric cars that some people want. You know, the electric cars that will be powered by electric power plants which Environmentalist are stopping us from building. 

Supporting American oil production means that while we have cheaper fuel at the gas pump, be able to heat our homes, be able to charge electric cars, and also supply our American manufacturers with cheaper oil to make American products. All can be done even when there is an oil crisis in the world. Of course, one has to want to do it to make it happen. Sadly, the Biden administration is against all of the above. 

Yesterday, I spent $100 to buy 19 gallons of gas for my car. Two days before that, I bought hay for my horses at an incredible price of $19 per bale of alfalfa. I have rescue horses. If the cost keeps going up, I may not be able to afford to keep them. Frankly, for the first time since the Obama days, I'm worried about how to keep them fed.

I feed my horses alfalfa because of its high nutritional quality. While some people feed oat hay, I don't because of its high protein content and high digestibility. Because of that, it takes less hay to keep their weight on them. I would have to use a lot more oat hay to do what I do with smaller amounts of alfalfa. That makes alfalfa more economical to feed -- even though alfalfa is more expensive per bale.

Alfalfa hay is widely used as a protein and fiber source by people like me who feed horses. Just as a side note, while I've heard of cattlemen finishing beef cattle on alfalfa, I've also heard that they are very cautious when doing so because alfalfa can cause boat in cattle. Most cattlemen that I've known will use grain to finish their cattle before market. 

The rule of thumb that I was taught is that a good finishing daily ration is 10-15 lbs. per day of corn, oats, or barley fed for grazing cattle. If fed to a 900-pound steer for anywhere from 3 to 4 months should give a cattle producer a nicely finished animal. Of course, this depends on availability to pasture and whether or not you are finishing your cattle during the winter months. If that's the case, then you might want to increase the amount of grain by a few pounds per day.

What does that have to do with fuel? Because of rising fuel prices brought on by Joe Biden's desire to cater to the Climate Change crazies, his actions of shutting down American oil producers, the cost of raising beef is going through the roof. And no, I'm not talking about the horrible impact higher fuel and fertilizer prices have had on farmers. I'm just talking about the terrible effects that attacking America's oil industry has had on cattle producers -- and subsequently the higher prices that we Americans pay for our food. 

Friends, an annual report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) comes out every January. On January 31, 2022, the latest report told us that America's cattle inventory is down 2% from 2021. That's not good news.

Other key findings in the NASS report states:
  • There is 91.9 million head of cattle and calves on U.S. farms as of January 1st, 2022.
  • Of the 91.9 million head inventory, all cows and heifers that have calved totaled 39.5 million.
  • There are 30.1 million beef cows in the United States as of January 1st, 2022, down 2% from last year.
  • The number of milk cows in the United States decreased to 9.38 million.
  • U.S. calf crop was estimated at 35.1 million head, down 1% from 2020.
  • All cattle on feed were at 14.7 million head, which is up slightly from 2021.
So folks can understand where this information comes from, to get an "accurate measurement of the current state of the U.S. cattle industry, the NASS surveys approximately 34,800 operators across the nation during the first half of January. Surveyed producers were asked to report their cattle inventories as of January 1, 2022, and their calf crop for the entire year of 2021."

According to the Livestock Marketing Information Center, they reported that the NASS report detailed beef cow herd size and changes at the state level. While there is some good news about how Idaho increased its production by 34,000 head, Washington is up by 13,000 head, and California increased its overall cattle production by 20,000 head, the bad news is that the U.S. beef cow herd has declined 719,000 head from a year ago. Among the largest declines in beef cow herds were South Dakota which is down 189,000 head, Texas which is down 160,000 head, Missouri which is down 94,000 head, and Montana which is showing a decline of 90,000 head of cattle. 

Some cattlemen who I know say there is a worse indicator of how bad things are getting. That would be the calf crop report because they say it's an indicator of what the future holds for the cattle industry. Friends, the calf crop for 2021 was reported at 35 million head. That's down 1.2%. And also, inventories of calves under 500 pounds were down significantly --  decreasing by 2.6%. 

Other highlights from the cattle inventory report include supplies of cattle outside of feedlots shrank by more than 600,000 head. The cattle inventory was slightly lower on the breeding herd and indicates tighter cattle supplies through smaller numbers of under 500 pounds and those outside of feedlots. 

This all leads to higher prices for cattle producers. How much are the higher prices? Per the NASS report: "This will be supportive of feeder cattle prices in 2022. LMIC revised its cattle price forecasts to reflect tighter feeder cattle supplies in 2022 and smaller production in 2023. LMIC has 2022 annual fed cattle prices $135-137 in the five-state area, 700-800 pound feeders in the Southern Plains $164-166, and 500-600 pound calves $189-193 per cwt." Yes, higher prices to buy and raise them means higher prices for consumers. 

And by the way, if you are thinking that sheep and goats might be the way to go, the NASS also reported that "sheep and lamb inventory continued its downward trend falling 2%, the lowest on record." That means their prices are also going up. 

One livestock market analyst put it this way, "While markets are one component of the cattle cycle, the critical factor driving the cattle cycle and the cow-calf sector of the cattle industry is forage and fuel prices." 

What does this all mean? All of the information that I'm giving you proves that feed and fuel affect the ag industry. It affects the amount of money that ranchers need to stay in business. And really, that translates to how many cattle they can afford to buy, feed, and transport. All of that and more consequently affects what American consumers are paying for food. If our cattle producers and farmers are having a hard time affording to grow crops and produce cattle, we will have an equal or worst time affording food. 

So, if you have to make the choice of buying gas versus buying food under Joe Biden, don't let political analysts fool you into thinking that this is not a result of lousy economic and political policies coming from the Biden admin. Friends, if you have to make the choice of buying gas versus buying needed medications under Joe Biden's pathetic economic policies, don't let political analysts fool you into thinking that this is not a result of Biden being completely out of touch with the American people. The wealthy are doing fine under Biden, we who are not wealthy are not.

This is all a direct result of taking economic and energy policies that exceeded expectations and worked in a positive way for years under President Trump -- and deliberately changing those policies for no other reason than Democrats' hatred for Trump. Yes, it's all about Democrats hating Trump. And no matter if their hatred for him negatively affects us, that's why we are in the pickle that we are in today. 

Friends, frustration is defined as "the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of one's inability to change or achieve something." I hate being frustrated over things that I know damn well could be better -- especially since things don't need to be the way they are if people would simply go back to doing things the right way. And by the way, the "right way" should be defined as "the way that benefits Americans." 

And frankly, knowing that Biden refuses to do things that have been proven to benefit Americans is the biggest frustration of all. Of course, while I, like many Americans, am fairly powerless to do anything right now about the ineptness and incompetence of Biden and the Democrats in charge of Washington, I can assure everyone that my frustration and powerlessness will be alleviated during this November's election when I try to vote the anti-American bastards out of office.  

Tom Correa

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Pauline Cushman -- Union Spy

She was born Harriet Wood in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 10th, 1833. By the late 1830s, her family left Louisiana for Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was there that they established a Native American Trading Post. And it was there, where young Harriet and her seven brothers grew up learning the skills needed to survive in the Northern frontier.

While it's said she was a "tomboy," it's also said that she dreamed of a glamorous life as an actress. By the time she was 18 years old, she left her family for a career on the stages of New York City. It was there that she learned how New York City can be an unkind place for anyone on their own. And yes, it was there while trying to make it in show business, as with many others throughout the ages in that line of work, that she found that her real name didn't have enough appeal. That's when Harriet Wood changed her name to Pauline Cushman.

Though she learned that she couldn’t find work in New York, she was hired by a theater manager who was based in New Orleans. As you'll recall, it was the city of her birth. New Orleans is said to have been a much kinder place than New York City, but then again just about anywhere has always been nicer than New York City. It was in New Orleans that she became well-known for her "full-figure and seductive charms" on and off the stage. It was also in New Orleans where she met and married Charles Dickinson who was a music teacher and theater musician.

As for their marriage, all in all, it was short-lived. Soon after getting married, the couple moved to Cleveland, Ohio, to be closer to his family. There they had two children. Sadly, both died in infancy. Then, when the Civil War started, her husband Charles enlisted in the Union Army. Some say he was in the infantry while other sources say he was a unit musician. Either way, he didn't make it home.

While folks might think it was gunshots and cannons that killed the most soldiers in the Civil War, it's a fact that dysentery was the single greatest killer of Civil War soldiers on both sides. And no, it wasn't simply a case of diarrhea. Dysentery differed from common diarrhea because dysentery was caused by a bacterial infection that gave soldiers loose and bloody bowels. Her husband Charles died of dysentery in 1862.

On her own again, she returned to the stage. By 1863, Pauline Cushman Dickinson dropped her widowed name of Dickinson and simply went by her stage name Pauline Cushman. In April of that year, she was performing on stage in Louisville, Kentucky. She had a leading part in the play The Seven Sisters at a theater that was frequented by all -- including Confederate sympathizers. 

Louisville, Kentucky, in 1863 was like a pressure cooker. While Union troops were in control of the city, the place was filled with paroled Confederate prisoners of war. There is a legend about how two paroled Confederate officers approached Pauline one day and asked her to make a toast to the Confederacy during the performance. They knew that she gave a dinner toast during one scene of the play. They wanted her to change the script and dedicate the toast to the Confederacy. They even offered her $300 to do it.

Pauline Cushman was not a dumb actress by any means and knew she needed to let someone know about what she was being asked to do. She knew full well that something like that could ignite things in the already tense city. Knowing this, she went directly to Colonel Orlando Hurley Moore for his advice. Col. Moore was the U.S. Provost Marshal in Louisville. 

After explaining what was asked of her, the amount of money that she was offered to do it, and her fears of what would happen if she did it, Moore told her to accept the proposition and report back to his office the next day. His response surprised her. In fact, she was extremely surprised that Col. Moore wanted her to go along with the plan and she had no idea why the Colonel told her to do it. 

During that night's performance, when the toast scene came, Pauline stood up from the table, raised her glass, and proclaimed, "Here's to Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy; may the South always maintain her honor and her rights."

The San Francisco Call remembered the incident three decades later when it wrote, "The sentiment fell upon the audience like a bombshell. All the Union persons present were mortified and indignant, while Southern sympathizers were delighted."

Years later, the San Francisco Examiner will write, "Romances of the lovely young actress who was persecuted and driven out of the two cities by the Union soldiers filled the South, and she was the Confederate heroine of the hour." 

Among those angry at her toast was her boss, who promptly fired her after the performance. When she returned the next day to see Col. Moore, he offered her a job as a Union spy. Because of what she did on stage, she became an immediate Star for the Southern cause. Subsequently, Pauline Cushman became the perfect person to be a Union spy. This was all part of Col. Moore's plan.

As a Union Spy, Pauline Cushman used her sudden celebrity status as well as her acting skills to pose as a Confederate sympathizer in order to gain information. She once posed as a Southern woman in a boarding house where she was able to stop the poisoning of Union Army officers. The boardinghouse's mistress revealed to Pauline that she bought powdered poison to sprinkle on the Union officers' food and drink. It was because of Pauline Cushman that those Union officers' lives were saved. The officers were assigned to a different boardinghouse. As for the boardinghouse mistress who wanted to poison them, she was arrested.

There is a story about how Pauline Cushman dressed as a man was able to infiltrate a Confederate ring of smugglers. In fact, it's said that she actually convinced a Southern sympathizer that she was an undercover Confederate official en route from Canada to Richmond with important, time-sensitive information. The Southern sympathizer was a woman who was supposed to smuggle supplies and important documents to the Southern underground working in that area. Cushman was able to notify Col. Moore and Union forces had the woman and her associates arrested. The documents and supplies that the woman was smuggling were confiscated.

As for her biggest mission, by the summer of 1863, Pauline Cushman was sent to Nashville, Tennessee. She was placed under the command of Union Army Gen. William Rosecrans. She was assigned to gather intelligence in the way of Confederate troop movements, the size of the Confederate forces, how well were they supplied, and if they were building any fortifications. To do that, she was ordered to gain access to Confederate camps in Tennessee to get that information. Gen. Rosecrans needed that information before launching his Tullahoma Campaign, also known as the Middle Tennessee Campaign, which took place in June and July of 1863. 

She devised a plan to infiltrate the Southern lines. She figured that Confederates would allow her free passage if they believed she was simply a sister looking for her lost brother. So under the guise of a Southern woman "searching for a lost brother," she entered the Confederate camps. For the next few months, she was one of the Union’s most productive spies. Using the ruse was pretending to be the sister of a missing Confederate soldier, she used her sob story to sneak into Confederate camps to assess their strength, supplies, and obtain their plans. It is said that she drew maps from memory and coaxed Confederate soldiers into giving her intel.

At one point during her mission, it's said she was faced with a dilemma that almost got her hanged as a spy. While in a camp, she came upon a Confederate officer drawing up fortification plans. She immediately knew that those plans needed to get back to Gen. Rosecrans. So now, she was faced with the dilemma of following through with her mission to get as much intelligence as possible from other camps -- or to try to steal those plans and get them back to the Union lines. 

She chooses to steal the plans. And while in the process of doing so, she is captured by Confederate soldiers and arrested for being a Union spy. She escaped from where she was being held but was recaptured and tried for espionage. She was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. During this time, believe it or not, she was diagnosed with contracting typhoid fever. Or at least that's what the Confederate doctors believed.

Years later, Pauline Cushman would tell the story of how she knew that she needed to buy some time knowing that Gen. Rosecrans Army was on the way. To do so, she said she mustered all her acting skills to fake an illness so severe that her captors would delay her execution. And believe it or not, the ruse worked and the Confederates made the decision not to hang her until after she gets well enough to hang. 

About that time, Union Gen. Rosecrans launched his Tullahoma Campaign. As for Pauline Cushman, she is left behind in Shelbyville, Tennessee, as the Confederates retreat from that city. The Union Army enters the city and finds that the Confederates left Pauline Cushman behind because she was "too ill to be moved" -- even though they were going to hang her when she got well. 

Union spy Pauline Cushman made a surprisingly sudden recovery. And while in Nashville, the Union Army received a telegram from President Lincoln bestowing on her an honorary commission of Major for her work and risking her life for the Union. It was said her exploits made it all the way to Abraham Lincoln himself, who allegedly remarked, "She has done more to earn her title than many a male who wore the shoulder straps of Major during the war." After that, she became known as Miss "Major" Cushman. 

During that same time, the Union Ladies of Nashville presented her with a Union Major's Army uniform and a sword. It is said that she wore her uniform complete with a sword as she traveled throughout the Union. She left the Army soon after being outed as a spy and later performed a one-woman show for P.T. Barnum about her espionage exploits. It was billed as The Spy of the Cumberland and The Greatest Heroine of the Age.

Writer Ferdinand Sarmiento, who later became a friend of hers, interviewed her at length to write her biography titled Life of Pauline Cushman: The Celebrated Union Spy and Scout. 

The biography of Pauline Cushman was written in 1865 by Ferdinand Sarmiento using her notes and recollections. While many consider the book exaggerated, it's not much different than books written about others at the time or later. Like books written about Wild Bill, John Wesly Hardin, and Wyatt Earp, the book about Pauline Cushman has all sorts of exploits that are unprovable. 

But, unlike the exaggerated exploits of Wild Bill, John Wesly Hardin, and Wyatt Earp, the book about Pauline Cushman's exploits, and the nature of the secret work she was doing on behalf of the Union, can't help but make someone wonder if they were exaggerated. After all, it's one thing to make false claims that can be proven false, like Wild Bill's false claim about taking on a non-existent gang of outlaws, and Hardin's lie about how he out-drew a famous marshal, or like Wyatt Earp's many false claims, versus the tales of a Union Army spy who lacks corroboration simply as a matter of the nature of that profession. 

In the early 1870s, Pauline Cushman moved to San Francisco. In 1872, she married again. And again, her husband whose name is lost to history died. Then a few years later in 1877, she met and married Jere Fryer in Casa Grande, Arizona Territory. The marriage lasted almost 13 years before they separated in 1890. After that, she returned to San Francisco. As Pauline Cushman Fryer, she moved into a small, third-floor room in a boarding house at 1118 Market Street.

She made a little cash by selling poetry and giving interviews to whoever wanted to listen. Her arthritis was so bad that most of that money that she made went toward buying painkillers. It was later reported that she didn't have enough money for food. In April 1893, after 30 years of petitioning the U.S. government, the government awarded Pauline Cashman with her first husband's small Army pension. 

It's said that long-term pain and poverty beat her down. Then on the morning of December 2nd, 1893, her landlady went into Pauline's room to wake her and found Pauline unconscious in bed. Because she was still breathing, two doctors were brought in -- but nothing could be done for her. 

Major Pauline Cushman, a Civil War hero, died at 2 p.m. It's said that she died of a morphine overdose after three years of living from hand to mouth, three years of battling chronic rheumatism and arthritis pain. The painkillers that she took to alleviate her pain, killed her. An inquest ruled the death an accidental overdose. 

On December 3rd, 1893, The San Francisco Call newspaper wrote the following, "A childless, gray-haired, penniless broken woman, almost without friends, died a lonely death in a Market Street lodging house yesterday."

The San Francisco Call newspaper reported that because she died destitute that she was going to be buried in one of San Francisco's potter's fields. The newspaper went on to say that she would probably be interned in an unmarked grave. 

It is said that the reports in the newspaper "horrified veterans groups" to the point where they took action and pulled together the funds to give her a proper funeral. On the day of her funeral, crowds gathered at the funeral home. Flowers were being wired in came in from across the country. There were so many flowers that it's said her flag-covered casket was almost buried under them. A long procession of mourners accompanied her to her gravesite in the Veterans Cemetery at the U.S. Army Fort in San Francisco. Yes, the Presidio. 

The San Francisco Call reported, "A salute was fired across the grave and taps were sounded by Bugler Mitchell from the Presidio, and the drama of the federal spy's life was ended."

Buried in San Francisco's Presidio is a woman who gave so much to America. Her deeds saved lives and sadly are now only forgotten tales of adventure, intrigue, and tragedy. It should be noted that in 1864, the story of Pauline Cashman made headlines across the nation. She was in reality a household name. While she was cursed by the Confederacy, she was venerated by the Union. 

Pauline Cushman Fryer died on December 2nd, 1893. The picture below is of her gravestone located in the San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio. Carved in its marble are simply the words:

May God bless her, and our country not forget her.

Tom Correa