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Old January 7th, 2012, 12:49 PM   #1

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Women in American Military History, 1776-1865


A woman whose husband belonged to the artillery...atttended with her husband at the piece the whole time. While in the act of reaching a cartridge and having one of her feet as far before the other as she could step, a cannon shot from the enemy passed directly between her legswithout doing any more damage than carrying away all of the lower part of her petticoat. Looking at it with apparent unconcern, she...continued with her work.

The above account comes from the memoirs of Joseph Plumb Martin, a veteran of the Continental Army who witnessed this occurence at the Battle of Monmouth on June 28th of 1778. Though her real name was Mary Hays, the lady in question received the nickname of 'Molly Pitcher' as well as the respect of the entire Continental Army. When she died in 1832, a local militia marched to her burial place in her honor.

Mrs. Hays was one of three women who received a pension from the Government for service in the Revolution. Though I am not aware of it happening in any of America's earlier wars, the Civil War contains a number of accounts of women disguising themselves - often times as drummer boys - and fighting alongside their menfolk. Some probably went undiscovered, while others were forced to reveal their actual identity after being incoveniently wounded in their chests or abdomens.

Rarely mentioned are the ladies who were accepted into the ranks of Civil War regiments as they were - most of them joined 'Zouave' units as 'vivandieres', in imitation of contemporary French custom. Nominally their task was to take care of chores in the camp and bring relief to wounded soldiers, and to serve as a sort of mascot for the regiment, but some actually fought in the battleline.

A typical example was 'Fench Mary' Tepe of the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (Collis' Zouaves) who was wounded in the ankle at Fredericksburg. She continued to march with this regiment for the duration of the War, but in 1900 she committed suicide, apparently due to the agony of her ankle wound (which had never been properly treated).

Who are some other women who played an active role in the wars of early American history?
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Old January 7th, 2012, 02:29 PM   #2

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Margaret Corbin replaced her wounded husband at the Battle of Fort Washington and was sevely wounded, she was later granted a pension. Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man and fought for some time, but was eventually discovered to be a woman when she was in hospital with a fever in 1783. She also eventually got a military pension.

Lucy Brewer served aboard the U.S.S Constitution under the name of George Baker, in the War of 1812, Her skill with firearms earned her a battle station ninety feet above the deck in the main fighting top, where she was assigned to hit enemy officers and key personnel. She fought until the war's end, and along with the rest of the crew was awarded prize money for the taking of the Java.

In 1836 Sarah Borginis fought with the defenders of Fort Brown, Texas, and later served with General Zachary Taylor and his army of four thousand in his campaigns against the Mexian army of General Santa Anna. Sarah achieved the rank of brevet colonel and was given a full military burial at her death in 1866.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 02:56 PM   #3

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Kady Brownell: wife of a Fifth Rhode Island Infantry sergeant was adopted by the unit for her sharpshooter skills and became the company color bearer. She was the color bearer at First Bull Run.At New Bern, North Carolina she rescued her wounded husband and several other battle field casualties.

Sarah Edmonds served with the Third and Fifth Michigan Volunteers under the name of Private Franklin Thompson. She served with the regiment from First Bull Run to Fredericksburg.

Sarah Rosetta Wakeman served with the 153rd New York during the Red River Campaign under the name of Edwin or Lyons Wakeman.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 04:39 PM   #4

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There's Malinda Blalock, who, disguised as a man, served alongside her husband in the 26th NC during the Civil War. She took a bullet in the shoulder at New Bern. The story of Malinda and her husband (Keith) is one of the strangest stories of the war:

Malinda Blalock

Last edited by Rongo; January 7th, 2012 at 04:44 PM.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 05:15 PM   #5

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Harriet Tubman, the heroine of the underground railway, fought for the Union Army in several rids in Confederate Territory. On June 2, 1863, Harriet, in command of three union gunboats on a dangerous mission along the Tennessee River, destroyed a bridge and rescued over seven hundred slaves.

Losers Velazquez fought, disguised as a man, for the Confederate army, unde the name of H.T. Burford. After her sex was discovered when she was wounded, she continued to serve the Confederatr army as a spy.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 06:53 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louise C View Post
Harriet Tubman, the heroine of the underground railway, fought for the Union Army in several rids in Confederate Territory. On June 2, 1863, Harriet, in command of three union gunboats on a dangerous mission along the Tennessee River, destroyed a bridge and rescued over seven hundred slaves.
I think you might want to put that in proper perspective.
Ms. Tubman did not command Union gunboats, she went along with
Union troops in the raid on Combahee Ferry Raid, South Carolina
on 2 June 1863. The raid was under the command of Col. James
Montgomery, Ms. Tubman provided information about the local
terrain.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 11:33 PM   #7

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I just noticed Loretta seems to have come out as Loser for some reason.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 11:34 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
I think you might want to put that in proper perspective.
Ms. Tubman did not command Union gunboats, she went along with
Union troops in the raid on Combahee Ferry Raid, South Carolina
on 2 June 1863. The raid was under the command of Col. James
Montgomery, Ms. Tubman provided information about the local
terrain.
Oh, well that's what it says in Women Warriors, A History, by David E. jones. Evidently he got it wrong.
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Old January 8th, 2012, 03:23 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
I think you might want to put that in proper perspective.
Ms. Tubman did not command Union gunboats, she went along with
Union troops in the raid on Combahee Ferry Raid, South Carolina
on 2 June 1863. The raid was under the command of Col. James
Montgomery, Ms. Tubman provided information about the local
terrain.
Yes, let's place Ms. Tubman's role in it's proper perspective:

Quote:
In a written report to U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Union Brig. Gen. Rufus Saxton stated, "This is the only military command in American history wherein a woman, black or white, led the raid and under whose inspiration it was originated and conducted."[8]
Source is Wiki.

Ms. Tubman did more than just "provide information", TJ. She was in the gunboat John Adams that went inland, traded shots with rebels and later carried a number of contrabands to freedom.
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Old January 8th, 2012, 03:29 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rongo View Post
There's Malinda Blalock, who, disguised as a man, served alongside her husband in the 26th NC during the Civil War. She took a bullet in the shoulder at New Bern. The story of Malinda and her husband (Keith) is one of the strangest stories of the war:

Malinda Blalock
That is a good story.
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