Historic Happenings: A Woman’s Role in the Revolution

Women’s History Month is slowly coming to a close, and although this celebration may be ending, here in the Capital City, we are home to women who deserve celebrating all year round. Throughout the month, we’ve been highlighting the lives of remarkable women whose works during the Revolutionary War have won them a spot in our history books. But what about the lives of everyday women? While you might not find their accomplishments in the hallowed halls of a museum, the impact these remarkable ladies had on the course of our nation’s history was anything but average. Today, let’s take a look at the lives of women during the Revolutionary War and examine how their contributions helped to create the America we now enjoy today.

When we hear tales of the Revolutionary War, more often than not, it is from the perspective of the Colonial Army and the men who fought on the front lines of the war. Although women were seldom found fighting on the battlefield, by no means does this suggest that they were inactive in the fight against British tyranny. During the Revolutionary War, women, both free and enslaved, were forced to grapple with the reality that the men in their lives would likely be sent to war. In their absence, women had no choice but to step into many roles which were traditionally reserved for men, often taking on the title of a “Deputy Husband”. Duties in the men’s absence ranged anywhere from preparing supplies for the soldiers in battle to managing the family’s finances, businesses, and more. All the while, these valiant ladies also had to attend to the daily duties of motherhood and family life, narrowly striking a balance between the immense burdens they were now bearing.

While some women remained at the homestead, others, either willingly or by force of circumstance, had to relocate to where a male relative was stationed in the military. While on base, women were able to fulfill a number of roles to aid the troops in their fight to victory. From nursing wounded soldiers to hands-on tasks like laundry and mending uniforms, these ladies play an integral role in keeping army camps up and running, even during the toughest of times. In the heat of battle, many women were even forced to run into the direct line of fire in order to attend to an injured soldier or to provide water to thirsty fighters. As a thank you for their hard work and dedication, many of these women received compensation, as well as the ability to remain closer to their family or loved one.

Throughout the Revolutionary War, women occupied a vast array of roles and responsibilities. At a time when women’s rights were a fraction of the freedoms enjoyed today, these fearless women proved that ladies could serve in any number of capacities. In fact, records even suggest a handful of women who fought in the war itself, including Molly Pitcher, a native to our community. Whether through service in the home, at the camp, or advocating on behalf of this fledging nation, we cannot celebrate the victory of the Revolutionary War without also celebrating the countless women who served on behalf of this noble cause. Both in Women’s History Month and every day, may we always carry the memory of the heroes great and small who helped shape the rich tapestry of our nation’s history.

Women in the American Revolution: Putting the 'Her' in Heroics – Hartford Courant

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