The American Revolution and the Revolutionary War were two of the biggest and most defining events in early American history.
Many figures are now considered heroes for what they did during the revolution, and one of them was a brave woman who disguised herself as a male soldier to participate in battle.
It was Deborah Sampson, a Massachusetts woman who disguised herself as a male Patriot to fight with the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment in 1782.
Deborah was born in Plympton, Massachusetts, in 1760. She was one of seven children born to Jonathan Sampson Jr. and Deborah Bradford Sampson. Sadly, Deborah and her siblings were forced to live in different households growing up, as her family was quite impoverished.
She became an indentured servant to a farmer with a large family at only 10 years old. Unable to go to school, she was forced to give herself a proper education. When she turned 18, she left the farmer’s home and became a teacher. During the wintertime, she became a weaver.
When she turned 21, the Revolutionary War was in full swing, and she wanted to join the fight for America’s independence. So, in 1782, Deborah disguised herself as a male soldier named Robert Shurtleff and joined the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment.
Deborah marched to New York alongside other patriot soldiers and was assigned to Captain George Webb’s Company of Light Infantry at West Point, which was considered one of the most active troops in the Hudson Valley.
Deborah was in charge of scouting neutral territory to assess a buildup of British men and equipment in Manhattan. That June, she led around 30 infantrymen on an intense expedition and captured 15 Tories, also known as those who supported the British cause.
Whenever she wasn’t on missions with the Light Infantry Troops, Deborah served as a waiter to General John Paterson.