A Woman to Know: Deborah Sampson
|Julia Carpenter||Aug 1, 2016|
I swerved from the accustomed flowery path of female delicacy. — Deborah
(image via Library of Congress)
In 1782, at the height of America's Revolutionary War, 22-year-old Deborah Sampson ran away from home. She bound her breasts, cut her hair and disguised herself as Robert Shurtleff. As "Robert," she joined the Army's fight for American independence. After one skirmish, she even cut a musket ball from her own leg to avoid being discovered by the army doctors and removed from combat.
At the end of the war, however, Deborah came clean "Robert," confessing her ruse to Major General John Paterson. To her surprise, he lauded her achievements and named her a war hero.
For the rest of her life, Deborah toured the young United States, giving speeches on her military heroics and -- most importantly -- petitioning Congress to award her back pay for her time as a soldier.
By her estimates, the fledgling government owed her almost $1,000. And she got it, too.
Add to your reading list:
The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson (Ann McGovern)
Patriots in Petticoats (Shirley Raye Redmond)
Masquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson (Alfred F. Young)
Deborah Sampson (National Women's History Museum)
Women of the Revolution: Deborah Sampson (Christian Science Monitor)
Deborah Sampson (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Deborah Sampson, soldier in disguise (Massachusetts Historical Society)
Deborah Sampson: A Patriot of Any Other Name (Richmond)
Deborah Sampson Gannett (U.S. Army Women's Museum)
Deborah Sampson: Woman Warrior of the American Revolution (History of Massachusetts)
Women in the Revolutionary War (Susan Craft)
Freedom: Deborah Sampson (PBS)
** Thank you to Meryl Streep for recommending today's woman to know! You can learn more about Meryl's love of Deborah here. **
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