The presence of women on the battlefield caring for the wounded goes back centuries. Women today serve in front-line duties, but that wasn’t an accepted practice in the past. Many stories exist about women who donned uniforms and fought beside men on the battlefield. Countless other women provided nursing care and support services behind the lines. During the Civil War, hundreds of women were involved in active combat. These women, usually in some type of uniform, braved the battlefield and were sometimes armed.
American women on the battlefield trace their existence back to the Revolutionary War and Deborah Sampson of Massachusetts. In the U.S. Civil War, Rhode Island’s own Kady Brownell joined her husband on the front lines. Dressed in female attire, she served as a color bearer, one of the most dangerous roles in combat at the time. There’s a twist to her story, though. In 1864, General U.S. Grant banned women from military encampments, but that didn’t stop the practice. Women continued to go on the battlefield to care for the wounded. Some served as spies. They managed to enlist and conceal their identities until they were killed or wounded. Others made it through the war without their true identities revealed.
Author, lecturer, and Varnum Trustee Brian Wallin will tell Deborah Sampson’s and Kady Brownell’s stories along with those of other women who contributed to the war efforts over the centuries, providing the foundation that enables American women to participate in every area of military service today.
Reservations must be received by 5 pm Friday, December 9. Call Scott Seaback at 401-413-6277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIME: 5:30 p.m. (social hour); 6:30 p.m. (dinner followed by program)
MENU: Steamship round of beef, scalloped potatoes, roasted vegetables, and chocolate mousse.
LOCATION: Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, 6 Main St, East Greenwich, RI, 02818.