For hundreds of years women have been discouraged, and even denied, from serving their country. Since the time of the Revolutionary War, almost two million women veterans have voluntarily served their country in the Armed Forces, from doing laundry to fighting in combat. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, women disguised themselves as men and fought side-by-side with male soldiers. During World War I, 33,000 women served and during World War II almost 500,000 served. During the time of the Korean War, 120,000 women were serving in the military and 7,000 women were deployed to Viet Nam. When Desert Storm hit over 40,000 women were deployed and even more have deployed and thousands have served since then.
As the Revolutionary War began, the call to arms was for men however several women put on the uniform of the Revolutionary soldier and chose to fight against the British. One such woman was Deborah Samson. In October of 1778, a young woman from Plympton, Massachusetts dressed herself as a young man and willingly volunteered for the American Army. She enlisted under the name Robert Shirtliffe for the term of the war. She served under Captain Nathan Thayer. Deborah served for three years during which she was wounded twice, once she was cut on the head by a sword and a few months later she was shot through the shoulder. Her identity was not discovered until later when she developed brain fever, a common ailment at that time among the soldiers.
There were more courageous women who played important roles in the Revolutionary War. Anna Warner Bailey aided wounded soldiers and went house to house to collect material for bandages during the massacre at Fort Griswald in Connecticut. Margaret Corbin took her husbands position and performed his duties after he had fallen at her side during the attack on Fort Washington. Then there is Angelica Vrooman, who calmly sat molding bullets for rangers, in a tent during the... [continues]
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