Women’s History Month Spotlight

Harriet Tubman

Beyond being the legendary “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, shepherding enslaved persons to freedom, Harriet Tubman also aided the Union’s military effort in the Civil War. Early in the war, Tubman served as a nurse for Union regiments before moving on to a larger role as spymaster and military scout.

Under the direction of War Secretary Edwin Stanton, Tubman recruited locals throughout conquered areas in the South to pass information along to Union commanders and assist in assault preparations. Her group’s work led to a successful assault on Jacksonville, Florida, and the Combahee River Raid in June 1863.

Decades later, Tubman finally received recognition — to a degree — for her military service during the Civil War, as she had been kept out of official military documents. In 1899, Tubman was granted a pension, officially validating her widely known contributions to the Union cause.