Women and War
While one often thinks of the experience of men who fought in the war, the contribution of women is often overlooked. During the war, women followed the troops, and their participation was critical. Women nursed the men, made hospital supplies, cooked for them, spun and wove cloth, mended their clothes, made musket balls, brought troops supplies, and carried baskets of kettles, pots and utensils from one battleground to the next. They did these jobs while giving birth on the road and caring for children. It is clear that soldiers needed these women both to fight and survive.
Other women stayed home to care for farms, homes, and businesses. Many Loyalist women aided the British cause by providing information on rebel activity, feeding troops, and housing or supplying Loyalist and British soldiers. They were aware that should they be caught they would be imprisoned or worse. While men were at war families stayed on farms until their land was confiscated, and women and children were given twenty days to leave the area or be imprisoned. These women would have to make their way to British territory and find aid as refugees.
Little is written about how difficult life was for these women, or how many of their babies and children died from hunger or lack of warmth and protection. Little is known of the lives of widows left to bring up children alone after their husbands died at war. There are many stories of courageous women who struggled to overcome the hardships and were triumphant. Fewer are the stories of those who were less fortunate.
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