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IAVA | April 14, 2017

Read: Who is Deborah Sampson?

Deborah Sampson is a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Yep! You read that right, a woman veteran from the Revolutionary War! Sampson disguised herself as a man and joined the Patriot forces and was the only woman to earn a military pension for her participation in the fight for American independence.

In 1782, as the Revolutionary war raged on, the patriotic Sampson disguised herself as a man and joined the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment. At West Point, New York, she was assigned to Captain George Webb’s Company of Light Infantry. She was given the dangerous task of scouting neutral territory to assess British buildup of men and material in Manhattan, which General George Washington contemplated attacking. She led a raid on a Tory home that resulted in the capture of 15 men. At the siege of Yorktown, she dug trenches, helped storm a British redoubt, and endured canon fire.

For over two years, Sampson’s true gender escaped detection, despite close calls. However, after becoming ill during an epidemic, she was taken to a hospital and lost consciousness, and the fact that she was a woman was discovered.

Sampson returned to Massachusetts after receiving an honorable discharge from the Army and embarked on a speaking tour for a year sharing her experiences. Sampson was the first woman in America to do this –– sometimes dressing in full military regalia.

Deborah Sampson, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, is #SheWhoBorneTheBattle and the inspiration for the IAVA led Deborah Sampson Act.


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