Women’s Contribution to the Revolutionary War Effort
Document 6.6 “Christian Barnes, Letter to Elizabeth Inman, April 29, 1775” (p. 186) exemplifies the voice of women during the revolutionary war. Women, like men, were forced to choose between siding with the British king or the colonist government. Mrs. Barnes chose to remain loyal to the crown. This document summarizes the misfortune that she faced at the hands of the colonist army who recognized her as the wife of a well-known loyalist who fled to Massachusetts in order to avoid capture. Although women were not serving at the front line of the revolutionary war, their presence and opinions helped shape the war. Mrs. Barnes was a true loyalist who would not provide information to the colonists and let them into her home in order to support her husband. These actions made life very difficult for her and her family living in the colonies, but Mrs. Barnes continued to stand up for what she believed in.
Document 6.7 “Deborah Champion, Letter to Patience” (p. 187) details the experiences of a daughter of a general in the continental army. This letter describes an active role that a woman took in order to further the influence of the continental army. Deborah’s father asked her to deliver secret messages to George Washington accompanied by one of her family’s slaves. Although she was stopped by British troops several times, she succeeded in her goal. By actively participating in the Revolutionary War, Deborah helped the outcome and demonstrated that even women in the colonies were actively involved in the war effort.
Document 6.8 “Abagail Adams, Letter to John Adams” (p. 188) is an example of women’s contribution to the war effort from the home. Since food shortages were common during war time, it was the wife’s responsibility to develop ways to ration food and manage the household budget so they would be able to eat. Although it was difficult to feed families due to rations and boycotts, the women ensured that their men and military were fed.
Document 6.9 “Esther De Berdt Reed, The Sentiments of an American Woman” (p. 189) demonstrates a different instance of a woman’s contribution to the war effort. Esther De Berdt Reed supported the colonies by raising money as a part of the Ladies Association of Philadelphia by going door to door. Reed intended this money to go directly to the soldier’s, but General George Washington instead redirected the money to produce their clothing. Although Reed and her companions didn’t achieve the initial goal they set forth to accomplish, their work still contributed to the success of the continental army during the Revolutionary War.
Document 6.10 “Mary Jemison, The War’s Impact on Native Americans” (p. 190) highlights the struggle that the Native Americans faced during the Revolutionary War; they like the colonists needed to choose between siding with either Great Britain or the colonies. Mary Jemison was a woman of Irish descent who was adopted by the Seneca tribe. Regardless of the side that her tribe chose, it seemed that they would end up with their land destroyed. Mary Jemison contributed to the Revolutionary War effort differently that most of the women described previously. Since she would benefit from neither side winning, she acted as a journalist who documented her struggles in ways that the Native Americans, colonists, and British would understand.