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Filing Cabinet - Civil War

Frances Clayton
a.k.a. Jack Williams

Mrs. Frances Clayton, disguised as a man, and possibly calling herself “Jack Williams,” enlisted with her husband in the fall of 1861.  There are no records of the regiment in which she served, but it is likely that she served in the cavalry and/or artillery units of Missouri.  Much of the information is gleaned from newspaper accounts of Mrs. Clayton.

She fought alongside her husband until he was killed in 1862 at the Battle of Stones River.  According to accounts, her husband was killed in the battle in front of her, and yet she stepped over his body, fixed her bayonet, and charged with the other soldiers at the call. 

Accounts noted she was “a capital swordsman.”  Another stated, “She stood guard, went on picket duty, in rain or storm, and fought on the field with the rest, and was considered a good fighting man.”

Frances Clayton told a reporter for Fincher’s Trades Review in November 1863 that she was wounded at Fort Donelson, and not Stones River, as had been previously reported.  The battle at Fort Donelson took place on February 13, 1863.

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