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
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Apr 12 2002 - 15:15:29 EDT