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Women's roles during the American Revolutionary War

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Nicole Tansey

on 24 August 2015

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Transcript of Women's roles during the American Revolutionary War

British Nurses
There was not any information found on British nurses. This leads us to assume that few British women came over to America in the years of the American Revolutionary War.
Wives of American Men







Female Spies
Women's roles during the American Revolutionary War
Most of the female nurses originally started out as camp followers in the beginning of the war and were more commonly used during the last four years of the war. The nurses were not responsible for surgical or doctoral work, but mostly cleaned, fed and bathed the patients, emptied chamber pots, and occasionally cooked. One of their main roles was to make new inventions, which were used from the materials they had, so that the patients could feel as comfortable as possible. The nurses were paid in food and a small amount of pay. Because the mortality rate of nurses was so high due to unsanitary conditions and diseases, many women did not want to accept the role.
American Nurse
Mary Waters was a nurse from Philadelphia who originally immigrated from Dublin, Ireland. She played the significant role of helping the Continental soldiers just as all American nurses had during this war. Mary was planning to give up on her profession in medicine, but she was convinced to remain a nurse by Father Ferdinand Farmer.
Mary Waters
Lucy Fluxer Knox (left) and Abigal Adams (right) supported their husbands as the war was in full action. Lucy, like most women, supported the men in any way she could. Lucy was “never hesitating to share her and Henry’s [Lucy’s husband] food with starving men and giving aid to the sick and injured.” She was willing to help the soldiers at Valley Forge in any way she could whether that be feeding them and/ or clothing them. Some women, like Abigal, would handle more of the political side of the war; this role would take a highly intelligent women.
Famous American Spy
Famous British Spy
Anne Bates
Hannah Blair
By: Nicole, Savannah, Maggie, and Addison
Bates was a British loyalist that lived in Pennsylvania. She spied for the British armies during the Rhode Island Campaign of July and August 1778. Bates provided the British with valuable intelligence, without ever entering Rhode Island. Bates discovered information such as the number of cannons, the estimated amount of soldiers, and the locations of units.
Hannah Blair was a Quaker from North Carolina. She hid, fed, provided medical attention, carried secret messages, and mended uniforms for patriots.
Having women as spies was very beneficial during the Revolutionary War. Because most men did not think that women could possibly understand what they were talking about, the men would talk openly about their military strategies. This allowed the undercover female spy to tell whatever military information she overheard to the army in which she was helping.
Traditional Roles
Most women took on the roles as cooks, maids, and seamstresses for the soldiers. Even though this may not seem as important as other roles mentioned, the soldiers depended on these women as much as other soldiers. Most of these women were not wealthy meaning they were accustomed to these duties.
Undercover Female Soldiers
Because females were not eligible to be soldiers in the Revolutionary War, they could only be soldiers if they covered their identity. In one particular incident, Ann Bailey of Boston was caught and was punished and thrown in prison. If a woman desired to be in the army, she had to be good at disguising herself to look like a man. She would also have to cut her hair and change her name to something more masculine.
Famous Female Soldier
Ann Bailey
Ann Bailey is known as “Mad Ann” for her courageous and heroic actions. After hearing of the death of her husband, Bailey transformed and she insisted to avenge her husband’s death. Some say this is the point when she became “Mad”. Bailey began wearing men’s clothing and even taught herself how to shoot a gun. She began to volunteer her services as a scout and messenger and was determined to do anything she could for America’s cause. Bailey felt a strong duty towards her country and believed that her contribution was important.
The Female Paul Revere
On April 26, 1777, Colonel Henry Ludington, who was the commander of the Duchess County, New York militia, received a message that the British were in Danbury, Connecticut. His sixteen year old daughter, Sybil Ludington, completed a forty mile horseback ride to warn people of the approaching British and to gather around 400 men to fight. She later received a personal thanks from both General George Washington and General Rochambeau.
The American central spy system was created when the American Revolutionary War was moved to New York. The Culper Spy Ring was made there and the code name "355" was used for the women/women spies in the Ring.
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