Deborah Samson had served her indenture only to find that she was still not allowed to live as she wished. Society insisted that she have a master. Earning her living as a weaver, sitting in a corner of the tavern, she envied the freedom of the men. So she cut her hair, borrowed men’s clothes and enlisted in the Revolutionary Army, only to have her deception revealed almost immediately. Faced with legal action and disgrace, her only option was to run away, but not as a woman. They would be searching for a woman. As she made her way along the road, she began to refine her disguise, lowering her voice, walking with a confident air, always watching and imitating the men. In 1782, as the war was dragging to a close, the army needed men badly and the bounty proved attractive to Deborah.
America’s first female soldier, Deborah Samson Gannett, ran away from her home, disguised herself as a man, and enlisted in the Revolutionary Army. In retelling her story, Alex Myers has provided a comprehensive picture of everyday life in the Revolutionary Army: the boring food, sleeping on the cold ground, long marches. Deborah’s careful life is also detailed. Rules were followed completely, for mistakes would mean a flogging, and a flogging would mean stripping to the waist. The latrine must be visited alone, even if it meant waiting till nearly bursting. She could never, never let her guard down for a moment. I thoroughly enjoyed this well written and well researched book. Highly recommend.
eGalley review Publication date 1.14.14