Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Women's History Month 2013: Women in the Military, Part 1

Resources for Researching Your Female Ancestor, Day # 6

 When we think of veterans we often think of men who have served our country selflessly.  It is a mistake to think that women rarely served in the military or that women’s military service is only a recent phenomenon.  Women have  always served during war time. Examples abound from earlier wars like the Revolutionary War and the American Civil War. Unlike modern times, these earlier women had to often disguise themselves as men in order to serve their country. 

Today we will look at a few resources that address the Revolutionary War and the American Civil War.

Early America

Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence by Carol Berkin provides a glimpse of women who affected the war through their boycotts of English goods, raised money for the war effort and served as spies and soldiers. Don’t forget to use the bibliography to search for other works on women in the revolutionary war.  Google Books can also be a great source for digitized books.  The 1856 work, The Women of the American Revolutionary War by Elizabeth F. Ellet can be found there, and provides even more stories of women’s heroism during the war.

For information about women who served in the Civil War, check out the book, They Fought Like Demons by DeAnne Blanton and Lauren Cook.  This work chronicles women who dressed as men during the Civil War so that they could fight for their country.  These early women, especially those whose secret was uncovered, were rarely given the respect and admiration they deserved. The website Women of the American Civil War includes a history of women Civil War soldiers and books available on the topic.

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