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Surge Summary: The exploits of three, generally unknown women, who courageously helped in the battle for American independence.
by Andrew Linn
Since March is Women’s History Month, I will discuss several women of the American Revolution.
There are several notable women during America’s War for Independence, including Martha Washington, Betsy Ross, and Deborah Sampson — the latter known for disguising herself as a man and fighting alongside the continentals. But there are many other women whose heroics in the patriot cause are worthy of recognition.
The first of such women is Sybil Ludington, a sixteen-year-old living in Fredericksburg, New York in 1777, during which the British had burned nearby Danbury, Connecticut to the ground. A patriot messenger arrived at the Ludington home and informed her father (who was a colonel serving with the local militia) about the burning of Danbury. The messenger was too exhausted to continue riding in order to warn and rally the countryside, while her father had to stay in Fredericksburg and organize the militia. So Sybil volunteered to do so, and her father relented. So off she went, covering 40 miles in inclement weather to rally the patriots in nearby towns. She covered twice as much territory as Paul Revere and company. And unlike Paul Revere, she was not captured by the British.
The second of such women is Elizabeth Burgin, a resident of New York City. During the American Revolution, she was allowed to bring food to American prisoners of war on British ships in the New York harbor. She took notice of the appalling conditions aboard the prison ships and decided to help the prisoners escape. It is believed that when she brought food to the prisoners she also brought a Bible, which contained a sedative within a small glass bottle, as well as a message telling the prisoners to put the sedative in the guards’ beer at midnight. The prisoners did so, and after the guards fell asleep, the prisoners made their way above deck. Meanwhile, Burgin and several other patriots brought their rowboats to the prison ships, picked up the prisoners, and took them across the harbor (and thus freedom). In all, she is said to have rescued over 200 prisoners of war.
The third of such women is Betty Zane, whose family had settled in present-day Wheeling, West Virginia, which was adjacent to Fort Henry. In 1782, in what would actually be the final battle of the American Revolution, Fort Henry was under siege by British forces and their Indian allies. The Zane family had sought refuge within the fort, and soon the Americans were running low on gunpowder for their muskets. The only available gunpowder was located in a nearby store that the Zane family owned, so Betty volunteered to get it. Soon she found herself sprinting towards her family store. The British and their Indian allies, thinking she was only trying to escape, left her alone. Once inside the store, Betty realized the barrel of gunpowder was too heavy for her to carry, so she put as much gunpowder in her apron as she could, and dashed back to the fort. By now, the British and their Indian allies realized what she was doing, and began shooting at her. Fortunately, they all missed, and Betty made it back to the fort. The Americans had enough gunpowder to hold off their attackers, who eventually withdrew. Thus Betty’s heroics resulted in an American victory.
Thus, the heroics of Sybil Ludington, Elizabeth Bergin, and Betty Zane are particularly noteworthy.
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Originally posted @ Clash Daily.
Image: Adapted from: Anthony22 – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is (was) herefirst upload in en wikipedia on 20:08, 23 April 2006 by Anthony22 (I took this photograph of the statue of Sybil Ludington on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel, New York. GFDL-self — GNU Free Documentation License), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3139772
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