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Women in the 1812 Army

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  • Larry Lozon
    Having just received a notice from the Brigade of the American Revolution, one of those dreaded Umbrella Groups, it raised a thot or two. The BAR is conducting
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 3, 2002
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      Having just received a notice from the Brigade of the American Revolution,
      one of those dreaded Umbrella Groups, it raised a thot or two.

      The BAR is conducting a pre Campaign Season Conference. Some of the
      topics interested me, so I throw them out for conversation ......

      ~ Practical Ways to Interpret the Women of the Army

      ~ Refugees, the Forgotten Folks

      ~ Women's Clothing

      They will be offering "How to Handle Troops in Wooded Areas" and
      "Formation and Evolutions of Infantry Divisions", but I was impressed
      they wanted to help the Ladies of the Hobby in their impressions.

      We have some very dedicated women in 1812 who work hard to assist
      the Woman of 1812. I wondered how many units actually research
      women thingies for their ladies?!?

      For example ~

      "The Practical Ways to Interpret the Women of the Army"

      How many women were allowed in your Regiment?
      What area were they recruited from, which would define the style of
      clothes?
      How many women attend events with your unit?
      ______________

      They are also planning gatherings at events for the women to talk about
      clothing,
      utensils, dishes, etc. Plans are on going to continue and expand their
      "Children
      Clothing Exchange".

      Just thinking out loud .....................
    • Scott Jeznach
      We have some very dedicated women in 1812 who work hard to assist the Woman of 1812. I wondered how many units actually research women thingies for their
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 3, 2002
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        We have some very dedicated women in 1812 who work hard to assist
        the Woman of 1812. I wondered how many units actually research
        women thingies for their ladies?!?

        >Since most of us in the Royal Marines are vets of RevWar reenacting, we have some experience with the distaff side of the impression. One thing we try to avoid is the throngs of distaff common with RevWar groups. This leads to the huge kitchens, flies, and supply tents we don't think are appropriate. We're a small group,so we can work off the "mess" system and a small amount of fire/cooking gear. Please don't take this as a slight against the distaff reenactors.

        For example ~

        "The Practical Ways to Interpret the Women of the Army"

        How many women were allowed in your Regiment?
        What area were they recruited from, which would define the style of
        clothes?
        How many women attend events with your unit?

        >The "hit and run" raid warfare conducted by the Royal Marines/Royal Navy in the Chesapeake precludes us having distaff in the camp. We do have one or two significant others (female) who like to come out with us occasionally. The rule is they wear common work clothes or day-dresses and portray day visitors, curiosity seekers, rather than camp followers.
        ______________



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • fortdearborn1812
        First, let me apologize if this posts twice -- I can figure out how to stop it. Prior to joining my husband s 1812 unit I had already been doing my own
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 4, 2002
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          First, let me apologize if this posts twice -- I can figure out how to stop it.


          Prior to joining my husband's 1812 unit I had already been doing my own research on the roles women had in the 1812 conlfict. Previously, I had been in an AWI unit so I was familiar with what they do -- but 1812 I found was different. I didn't find droves of camp followers. In fact, there were extremely very few women following the American armies in battle situations. II make this distinction because they did go along with the army to some extent ut not necessarily into battle situation a you find in REV War where they are out on the field assisting the wounded or pillaging the dead.

          According to my husband David's research, in the 1st US Infantry, the regulation called for only 4 washer women to be attached to the company and of these, they had to be married to one of the soldiers. That is not to say there were not more women tagging along. Since the 1st US was part of the Peace Establishment which had been garrisoned on the frontier _ Fort Madison, Fort Osage, etc. - when they were sent east to the Canada LINE, these women would have most likely gone too. It appears they rendered service at places like Black Rock and Williamsville (?) as hospital matrons as well as washer women.

          Our unit often brigades with the 7th US, 25th, 6th Infantry, and Rifle Regiments, and to allow the units to form up and run more smoothly, the delightful Mrs. Abolt and I often do the kitchen mess to free up the soldiers to work on drill. But we all know in reality, if this were an actual army on the march, we would not be there.

          I would like to give big KUDOS to the Fort Atkinson group and park site (NEBRASKA) for recognizing the importance of women's contributions to military life by inviting me to give presentations this coming weekend on women's roles and clothing. Men are also being asked to sit in on some of the talks to become better informed as well. I think it was a great idea, and I am glad I can help contribute to fostering a broader view of military life.

          It is very hard to document the presence of women attached to the military unless they got into some kind of trouble or they were an officer's wife who left a written account like Lydia Bacon, wife of Captain Josiah Bacon of the 4th US INF. Since the US Army did not directly pay them, they do appear from time to time in ration records. Fort Wayne order books and Fort Osage material have been helpful as are all the accounts of the Fort Dearborn massacre I have hunted down over the past 20 years for my Master's thesis.

          I have been amassing what I can on women for a small book on military women during the War of 1812-- so if anyone can offer additional sources for me to look at, I would appreciate it if you could email me of list.

          Thanks!
          Sally Bennett
          1st US INF/Boone's CO of Missouri Rangers
        • fortdearborn1812
          First, let me apologize if this posts twice -- I can figure out how to stop it. Prior to joining my husband s 1812 unit I had already been doing my own
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 4, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            First, let me apologize if this posts twice -- I can figure out how to stop it.


            Prior to joining my husband's 1812 unit I had already been doing my own research on the roles women had in the 1812 conlfict. Previously, I had been in an AWI unit so I was familiar with what they do -- but 1812 I found was different. I didn't find droves of camp followers. In fact, there were extremely very few women following the American armies in battle situations. II make this distinction because they did go along with the army to some extent ut not necessarily into battle situation a you find in REV War where they are out on the field assisting the wounded or pillaging the dead.

            According to my husband David's research, in the 1st US Infantry, the regulation called for only 4 washer women to be attached to the company and of these, they had to be married to one of the soldiers. That is not to say there were not more women tagging along. Since the 1st US was part of the Peace Establishment which had been garrisoned on the frontier _ Fort Madison, Fort Osage, etc. - when they were sent east to the Canada LINE, these women would have most likely gone too. It appears they rendered service at places like Black Rock and Williamsville (?) as hospital matrons as well as washer women.

            Our unit often brigades with the 7th US, 25th, 6th Infantry, and Rifle Regiments, and to allow the units to form up and run more smoothly, the delightful Mrs. Abolt and I often do the kitchen mess to free up the soldiers to work on drill. But we all know in reality, if this were an actual army on the march, we would not be there.

            I would like to give big KUDOS to the Fort Atkinson group and park site (NEBRASKA) for recognizing the importance of women's contributions to military life by inviting me to give presentations this coming weekend on women's roles and clothing. Men are also being asked to sit in on some of the talks to become better informed as well. I think it was a great idea, and I am glad I can help contribute to fostering a broader view of military life.

            It is very hard to document the presence of women attached to the military unless they got into some kind of trouble or they were an officer's wife who left a written account like Lydia Bacon, wife of Captain Josiah Bacon of the 4th US INF. Since the US Army did not directly pay them, they do appear from time to time in ration records. Fort Wayne order books and Fort Osage material have been helpful as are all the accounts of the Fort Dearborn massacre I have hunted down over the past 20 years for my Master's thesis.

            I have been amassing what I can on women for a small book on military women during the War of 1812-- so if anyone can offer additional sources for me to look at, I would appreciate it if you could email me of list.

            Thanks!
            Sally Bennett
            1st US INF/Boone's CO of Missouri Rangers
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