Re: American Revolution once again at the center of

Date: Thu Feb 10 2000 - 17:16:34 EST

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    This is for Lesemann who wanted some information about the woman
    who participated in the Am. Revolutionary War. One important
    role that women played, but is often left out is their role
    as "campfollower." In armies before 1800, women "camp followers"
    played a crucial role doing all the supply work for the army.

    In other words, the women "on ration" (they were paid by the
    army) had to find food, clothing, medicine, other supplies
    the soldiers needed from the towns where the army was staying.

    In the modern army, 90% of the men in the army are doing this
    kind of supply work. Generals like Washington knew that the
    army with the greatest number of women campfollowers would win
    the war. Washington was handicapped: the Congress did not
    give him enough money to hire women as campfollowers. General
    Burgoine on the British side had something like 7000 women in
    his army and Washington had only 2000 or 3000. Needless to say,
    Burgoine felt overwhelmingly self-confidant.

    The women campfollowers were not all tramps. Only a few were
    prostitutes or girlfriends of the soldiers. Most of the women
    were the wives of the soldiers and they came from the same
    social class as the male soldiers.

    In the American Revolution, the women starved and froze with
    the men. They were sent out on the battlefields at night to
    collect boots and clothing from the dead bodies. So they were
    given some dirty jobs. They were not regular army, so Washington
    could not impose military discipline. This was frustrating
    for the general.

    There are couple of books on this subject. Probably the school
    library would have this info. This is a hidden part of women's

    Allison Nies

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