Frances Clayton adopted the name Jack Williams and posed as a man so that she could join her husband, Elmer Clayton, when he enlisted in the Union army. They fought together in several Missouri regiments, both cavalry and artillery. Elmer Clayton was killed in action, in front of Frances, at the battle of Mufreesboro on December 31, 1862, but she kept on fighting. She was wounded multiple times herself, but managed to keep her identity hidden even after the death of her husband. She fought at many engagements, including the decisive battle of Fort Donelson on February 12, 1862.