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Women In The American Revolution Essay

1857 words - 8 pages

The American Revolution was a massive change for the new colonies and many countries around the world. Yet, it did not just affect the countries and governments; it mainly affected the everyday people because their whole worlds were thrown upside down. With around 25,000 soldiers dead or a ratio of 1 out of every 20 who served died; many wives went on without their husbands, children without fathers, and mothers without sons. Men were not the only ones giving their lives or time to fight for the new country’s freedom. Women had in some cases take the place of their husbands in running family owned businesses or farms on top of caring for the children, cooking, and cleaning of the homes. ...view middle of the document...

It is because of these reasons why the women would become nurses, camp followers, secret soldiers, or even spies. They were able to do work they already knew how to do and would be given either a small wage or ratio of food which helped them survive when they had nothing else.
Nurses of some type have been around for as long as history though their use during wars and major sicknesses during early times was not much because they did not understand things as well as what people do now days. Nurses did not come into much play during the revolution until about 1777 when there was becoming an over abundance of camp followers, mainly women looking for some type of work to do for money for their families. These women were ones who could no longer protect themselves due to living alone, living near a battle area, or had for the most part run out of money or food. Women nurses received different types of payment. The article “The Roles of Women in the Revolutionary War” states that, “Nurses were to receive .24 cents a day plus one full food ration. The matrons, being in a more supervisory position, got more than twice that rate at .50 cents a day plus the full ration.” Another article “Women’s Service with the Revolutionary Army” stated that the congress in 1775 allowed two dollars per month to nurses and four dollars to matrons. Then in 1776, they raised they pay to four dollars for nurses and in 1777 to eight dollars. They did this because the conditions that the ladies had to work in were deplorable. Sickness spread like wildfire between the wounded and the sick and the healthy nurses that actually worked there because they could not keep things clean enough during these trying times. They used vinegar as a cleaning agent three to four times a day but this truly did nothing to help the sickness because it is said that about 10000 of the 25000 who died during the war actually died from sickness not wounds. Other duties besides keeping the wards clean was to keep the patients clean by washing them and brushing their hair, clean their chamber pots after use, and change the linens on the beds. Still with the high wages, it was hard to keep nurses because of sickness and being dissatisfied with the exertion it took on the mind and body. There were still many other jobs that women who wanted to be close to their husbands could do for the armies.
Camp followers, as they are referred to today as, were women who were possibly lonely looking to be closer to their husbands, in need of protection by being close to the army, or even looking for a way to make money to support the family they had left would follow the American armies around wherever they would go during the revolutionary war. Officers believed the women being so close to army camps were a major distraction to the soldier but General Washington understood that having the women was both a blessing and a curse. He knew many of the men would leave the army because they were needed at home. At...

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