Not All Soldiers Are Men


The war was fought with men. Only men. Or so the rules said. But some women didn't pay any attention to that rule. They difeid common belief that women could not fight by dressing up as men and using a male alias (fake name.) The common reason for women to go to war was because they were very often left to tend to the house and the children with very little money.

Ranked High

Another female soldier was Elizabeth Gilmore of Pennsylvania, who was a private in the continental army and one of the rangers on the frontier. She later married a fellow soldier and continued to fight with him until the war ended. Ann Bailey (Samuel Gay) was enlisted on Feburary 14th, 1777. She quickly rose to corporal, the only known woman in that period to reach such a high rank. But in less than three weeks she deserted for unknown reasons. Her Captain swore a warrant for her arrest. He found that she was a women on March 3rd, 1777. She was fined £61 and served two years in prison. Her sentence: dressing in men's cloths.

Well Known, and For Good Reasons

The most well known of these brave women is Deborah Samson. "Robert Shurtlifft" was enlisted by Captain Ephalet Thorp on May 20th, 1782. Deborah was injured twice during her service, yet managed to keep up her charade through a saber wound to the head and two bullets in her leg. One of which she pulled out herself. But this could not last. Dr.Barnabas Binney discovered Deborah when he was treating her for brain fever. He kept her at his own house so she could heal better, but then quietly reported her to General Patterson, who then told General Washington. She was honorably discharged in October 1783, dying at the age of 66 in 1827.
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Margaret Corbin served in the artillery with her husband, using her own name. She was apparently accepted. At the Battle of Fort Washington, she lost part of her arm, was captured and then treated as a prisoner of war. After her release, she was assigned to garrison duty in the Invalid Corps in West Point. She died around 1800 near Highalnd Falls.

What Would Have Happened If...Literacy Rates Had Been Higher?

If literacy rates and been higher, then women would probably have written in diaries. Then we would be able to know more about how life was for an undercover women. We would also have been able to find more accounts of women soldiers.

How Would You Apply What You Have Learned To...Write a Historical Fiction Novel of a Young Women Soldier?

You could look at the different scenarios, from women like Ann Bailey to Deborah Samson. Then you could create an original character and motivation. You could sort of use the existing accounts as models for your character, and go off of that.