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Septima M. Collis (Septima Maria), 1842-1917
A Woman's War Record, 1861-1865
New York; London: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Knickerbocker Press, 1889.

Summary

Septima Maria Levy Collis was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1842. Shortly before the Civil War began, she married Charles H. T. Collis, and despite her southern sympathies, she supported her husband, who was a Union army officer. She accompanied him throughout the war and served him and the Union army in several capacities. She published two works: a memoir, A Woman's War Record (1889), and a travel narrative, A Woman's Trip to Alaska (1890).

A Woman's War Record (1889) recounts Collis's experiences in Union army camps at the battlefront throughout the war. Her husband was the captain of the "Zouaves d'Afrique," an independent company named and modeled after a French infantry unit that originally recruited members of the Algerian Zouave tribe. Septima Collis lived with this company several times during the war. Collis describes the balls and parties given, before the heavy fighting began; the quality of life in camp; and her husband's successes as a military officer. Collis spent a lot of time in Washington and was introduced to President Lincoln. Collis and her husband met Lincoln again toward the end of the war, and both were impressed by the President's character, as evinced by Charles H. T. Collis's closing essay, "Lincoln's Magnanimity."

Harris Henderson

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