Early American History
04 April 2012
Women of the Revolutionary War
The Revolutionary War, which lasted approximately seven years, took the lives of thousands of Colonial Americans. Many men who fought were renowned as heroes for their contributions towards the war and for their ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives, fighting for our countries independence. While I was completing my military training I learned about these great men, who made such an impact on our military, country, and history. However, as a female Army Veteran, I want to recognize some of the great women of the Revolutionary War and their contributions to our country.
Throughout our history, women have been restricted to certain activities and viewed differently from men. During the Revolutionary War era women were not encouraged to attend school, they had no say in political matters, nor were they allowed to serve in the military. The brave women, who dared to break the rules, and ruffle feathers, influenced so many and set in motion the changes, which would allow women the rights and freedoms being fought for during this War.
There were few “Ladies of Leisure” in the American colonies. Most of the women worked very hard, growing vegetable and preserving them, raising livestock, cooking meals, tending the fires and children, doctoring the sick, and keeping life moving along at an even pace. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, women were asked to work even harder for the cause. But how could women, who had been excluded from all aspects of the political strife, be persuaded to join such a crusade? The answer came with patriotism as many women were inspired by heroic acts as the Boston Tea Party (Raphael 109).
As in all wars, men needed and expected women to continue with production on the home front, performing the tasks which they were unable to see to. Ordinary farm wives, while continuing to fulfill their standard chores, would have to plant and harvest the fields, cut wood, fix fences, mend their homes against rain and snow, hunt and maintain tools. Women were also expected to feed and bed traveling armies as well as nurse wounded or ill soldiers back to health (Raphael 110).
While the upper-class women learned to make do with less; farm and working women stayed at home. This left thousands of poor wives, widows, or runaway servants who had nowhere else to go adapt to the lifestyle of the professional army. “Camp followers,” as they were called. They served the army as cooks, washerwomen, and nurses; during battles they carried messages and supplies and assisted with the artillery. The most notable of these artillery-women was Margaret Corbin (Raphael 120).
Margaret Cochran was born on the 12th day of November 1751 in Pennsylvania. In her early twenties Margaret married John Corbin, who was an artillery-man for the Continental Army. Like many patriotic women who were able, she accompanied her husband. On November 16, 1776, while her husband’s outfit was stationed at Fort Washington, New York it came under attack. John Corbin was killed and Margaret took up his post with the rest of the artillery-men. Margaret was also wounded during the battle by gunfire, which left her without the use of an arm for the rest of her life. After the battle, she became a member of the “Invalid Regiment” at West Point. Then on July 6, 1779, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania awarded Margaret with a lifetime pension, of one-half of the monthly pay drawn by a soldier, and she
Disney 4 became the first woman civilian to receive disability compensation from injuries sustained during a battle (Raphael 33). Women were officially allowed to join and serve in the reserve and regular armed forces in 1948. However, in the history of our country only one woman, disguised as a man, officially served as a soldier in the Continental Army. She was acknowledged as a warrior by the…