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4 Women Who Fought in Wars While Impersonating Men

Author:

JC Scull taught an MBA program and often writes about business, history and culture. Especially, past cultures.

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Women in the Military

Prior to the 20th century, women’s acceptance into fighting forces had been patently restrictive on a global scale. The vast majority of countries considered women the ‘weaker sex’, consequently relegating them to the duties of childbearing, raising children, domestic work and minder roles.

In the 1800s, there were some exceptions to this rule. One notable example is an all-female rebel group during the Venezuelan War of Independence in the 1810s led by Juana Ramirez. This 100-strong artillery unit was instrumental in resisting Spanish soldiers in their attempt to reconquer Venezuela. Another example was Pelaghia Rosu, a Romanian revolutionary who participated in the Wallachian Revolution of 1848 and commanded an all-woman battalion in defense of her village.

The 20th Century

The 20th century, however, ushered in a new era in which women were allowed to join military fighting units. Some of the countries pioneering this concept have been those in Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Russia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Cuba and Israel.

In Latin America, insurgent guerrilla forces such as the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), Mexico's EZLN (Zapatista Movement) and the FMLN (Farabundo Marti Liberation Front) of El Salvador have allowed women to fight in jungle and urban settings for decades.

Nonetheless, prior to this time, women found it difficult to fight in wars. In fact, it seemed the only way a brave and enterprising woman was able to be part of a fighting force was to impersonate a man.

Reasons for Fighting and How Women Went Undetected

The women who pretended to be men and join fighting forces, had various reasons for attempting this deception. Some did it in order to accompany their husbands or lovers into battle; some for financial reasons, especially having access to reliable wages; others due to fervent patriotism; or merely in order to search for a loved one who went to war and had not written home.

Archaic social conditions greatly contributed in allowing women to go undiscovered not only as they volunteered into men-only armies but also in remaining undetected in their units. The single most important reason for this was that armies typically did not conduct physical examinations on new recruits. When they did perform medical appraisals, they were perfunctory tests at best; sometimes just making sure the new conscript had teeth.

Other important factors allowing women to remain undetected included:

  • Soldiers did not take group showers like they do today. Not to mention they hardly ever bathed. (It was said that armies could be smelled miles away.)
  • Soldiers would lose a lot of weight through long marches and poor nutrition, consequently, women’s menstrual periods would stop.
  • Dressing codes were inflexible and anyone wearing pants would instinctively be considered a man.
  • Women soldiers would tightly bind their breast with cloth and cut their hair short. Some went as far as padding their shoulders and arms with rags in order to look more muscular than they were in actuality.
  • Soldiers would often sleep in their uniforms even in their barracks.
  • Many soldiers refused to use unsanitary latrines in army camps and would go in the woods.

While this article only features four women who impersonated men in order to join fighting forces, it has been estimated that in the Civil War alone there could have been as many as 700 hundred women who surreptitiously became gender-bending soldiers.

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Katalina Erauso or Catalina de Erauso

Known as La monja alferez or the Lieutenant Nun

Born: San Sebastián, Spain - (c. 1585 to 1650)

It has been claimed that Katalina Erauso, the daughter of Miguel de Erauso, an ex-commander in the Spanish military, was trained by him from an early age in the art of sword fighting. More likely however, she was merely exposed to swords and fencing as a toddler as records show she was put in a convent, along with her other two sisters, at age four.

During her time in the convent, Katalina became a rebellious child at an early age. Well before her 15th birthday, she realized she was not suitable for a religious life, especially one of a monastic nature. After a fight with another novice, later beaten and detained in a cell for refusing to take her vows, she decided to escape. She accomplished this by grabbing the keys of the convent and during morning prayers on March 18th, 1600, executing her getaway.

Erauso Escapes the Convent

She had planned her bold act with caution, as the prior week she had fashioned boy's clothing and cut her hair shorter than required. Upon escaping, she headed for Vitoria some 60 miles away. As to not be seen, she stayed off the main roads and often cut through the woods. She later said to have eaten roots and wild fruits in order to sustain herself during her trip which took several days.

Upon arriving at her destination, her short hair and male attire, made it easy for her to pass as a boy and look for work.

From this moment forward, Erauso began the life of a fugitive. She adopted various male names and worked at various jobs as she traveled throughout Spain. Her irascible personality caused her to engage in fights with any of the local boys who dared make fun of her.

In Bilbao, where she was forced to sleep in the streets, she got into a fight with a group of boys who harassed her. She fought back by throwing rocks at them and injuring one of the loutish brats. She was arrested and sent to jail for a month. This was the first of many other times Erauso would end up in Spanish or South American jails for assault and even murder.

Amazingly, through luck or providence she was able to avoid long sentences, even the death penalty.

1987 Film The Lieutenant Nun

1987 Movie filmed in Spain

1987 Movie filmed in Spain

Erauso: Soldier of Fortune and Conquistador

Eventually, she found a job as a cabin boy on a ship. On Holy Monday in 1603, she sailed to America. With her short hair and men attire, she adopted various male names. Pedro de Orive, Francisco de Loyola, Alonso Díaz Ramirez de Guzmán, and Antonio de Erauso, were but a few of the aliases she gave herself.

The fact that her physique was not feminine helped her pass as a man. Even as a child, she displayed a certain robust and brawny demeanor. Her stride used the full length of her legs. Her carriage had a palpable ruggedness that exuded a self-assuredness only the men of the era could display.

Of course, she was happy with these outward appearances and she nurtured them. In fact, Erauso once said she "dried her breasts" with a secret ointment she had discovered in the jungles of Peru. This being proof of her constant attempt at successfully playing the part of a man.

Once she arrived in the part of the New World we now know as Venezuela, Erauso gravitated to the life of a soldier and fought in many battles throughout South America. Some of her more feral exploits was killing her uncle, to whom she reported as a soldier (he did not know her true identity) in order to steal 500 pesos.

She is reported to have massacred hundreds of indigenous people and of getting into various sword fights that landed her in jail. Even sentenced to death for murder but released through the help of a Catholic bishop. More than once, she pledged marriage to women in order to collect a dowry but quickly absconding with the money.

Erauso In Popular Culture

Her adventures and exploits were indeed many. During the time of her life, Spanish author Juan Pérez de Montalbán wrote a biographical stage comedy about her feats and travels. The stage production, which is still being performed in Spain and other countries, tells of Erauso’s escapades which took her throughout Spain, Europe and the new Spanish colonies in the Americas. All while impersonating a man.

In the 20th century, two full-length movies, one in Mexico and the other in Spain, were made about her swashbuckling adventures. More recently, various documentaries about her life have appeared in YouTube.

It is not known how she died. Some say she drowned while swimming to shore from a sinking ship in South America during her last trip to the Spanish colonies. Others say she took on a new identity and became a successful store owner in a small town. While other say she went into the South American jungle and disappeared.

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Christian Davies

Born Christian Cavanagh also known as Kit Cavanagh or Mother Ross

Born: Dublin, Ireland (1667 – 7 July 1739)

In his 1741 book The life and adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies, commonly call'd Mother Ross, Daniel Defoe, the English trader, writer, journalist and spy, said of Cavanagh: She possesses…

“examples of common intrepidity rarely found in the fair sex…she had lost that softness which brightens the Beauty of the Fair, and contracted a masculine Air and Behaviour, which however excusable in her, would hardly be so in any other of her Sex.”

She was the daughter of a local brewer who although Protestant, supported the last Catholic monarch, King James ll, during his campaign in Ireland. Her father served with Charles Edward Stuart’s Jacobite Army for which he lost his life in the Battle of Aughrim.

After her father’s death and still a teenager, she went to live with an aunt that owned a ‘public house’ (pub) in Dublin. Soon after, she met and married Richard Welsh, a servant who worked for her aunt. After her aunt’s death, she inherited the pub with Richard staying on as a waiter. They were raising two children, with one child on the way, when suddenly and mysteriously in 1691, Richard disappeared.

Cavanagh Goes in Search of Her Husband

Under unclear circumstances, her husband ended up in the British Army either through volunteering or coercion. While he attempted to write to her to explain the situation, only one letter managed to get through. His correspondence indicated he was in the British Army, serving in Holland. Unwilling to simply lose her husband, Cavanagh placed her children in the care of her mother and disguised herself as a man in order to join the British Army in the hopes of finding her husband.

She first adopted the name Christopher Welch and joined Captain Tichborne's company of foot infantrymen. She fought in the Battle of Landen where she was wounded and captured by the French. She was returned to the British Army in 1694 under a prisoner exchange agreement. Throughout this time the French and the British remained unaware of her true sex.

Kit Cabanaugh accomplished this by learning to walk and talk like the other soldiers. She would even urinate alongside her fellow combatants through a silver tube attached to a leather strap; a contraption she devised. To complete her disguise, she even began to court a wealthy man’s daughter. She later said, “all the ridiculous arts, which I have often laughed at when they were used as snares against myself.” This led to a squabble with a sergeant from Christian’s regiment who also had his eye on the young lady.

A Challenge to a Sword Fight

When wooing her failed, the sergeant attempted to rape her. Kit found out and challenged the malefactor to a dual and crossed swords with him. Some say Cavanaugh severely wounded the sergeant, others that she killed him. In any case, she was arrested and spent four days in prison, after which she was discharged from the regiment. She then joined another regiment and resumed the search for her husband.

The search for her husband ended during her second tour of duty with the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons, known as the Scots Greys. According to some accounts, she recognized her husband, Richard Welsh, a private in the 1st Regiment of Foot, while trying to pick up a Dutch woman.

Shortly after being wounded during the Battle of Schellenberg and 13 years after her search began, Kit Cavanagh had finally found her husband.

Scotland Forever! by Elizabeth Lady Butler. Lady Butler's depiction of the Scots Greys famous charge at the Battle of Waterloo.

Scotland Forever! by Elizabeth Lady Butler. Lady Butler's depiction of the Scots Greys famous charge at the Battle of Waterloo.

Life After Finding Her Husband

Initially, Cavanagh refused to go back with her husband after this incident, although she got back together with him sometime later. Throughout all of this, she decided to remain a dragoon in the Scots Greys. Consequently, her and her husband agreed to keep her identity a secret.

Eventually, Kit Cavanagh’s gender was discovered when during the Battle of Ramillies in 1706 she fractured her skull during a skirmish. The regimental surgeon treating her made the discovery.

Soon, the news of a woman impersonating a male soldier for more than a dozen years made its way throughout the British Army. Shortly after she was discharged from her duties as soldier but remained highly revered by the fighting men. As part of her discharge, the men with whom she served in the Scots Greys bought her a new wardrobe. By this time, she was back to being called Mrs. Welsh and remained close to the regimen as a wife and sutler (one who sells provisions to troops).

Richard Welsh Dies

Although back with her husband, Richard Welsh continued to see other women. When Cavanagh discovered one of his mistresses, she attacked the woman and cut off her nose with a sword. However, at the Battle of Malplaquet, her husband lost his life. Cavanagh searched for her husband body for an entire day, turning over more than a hundred dead soldiers before finding him. She buried her husband shortly after.

Following her husbands death, she became involved with Captain Ross of the Scots Greys, although she never married him. The troops at this point began to call her “Mother Ross” a name that stayed with her for as long as she was near the regiment. However, Cavanagh ended up marrying another dragoon of the Scots Greys, Hugh Jones, who also died three months after the Siege of Saint-Venant in 1710.

In 1712, Cavanagh returned home with the troops. Because of her extraordinary tale, she was invited to Queen Anne’s court and granted a bounty of £50 and a shilling a day as a pension for the rest of her life. In 1713, she married for the third and final time to another soldier also named Davies.

Life After the Army

She lived in Dublin for some years and opened a new pub. However, after all the years of fighting wars, her and her husband were not able to settle down and instead traveled all throughout Ireland and England doing odd jobs. She was eventually admitted to the Royal Hospital Chelsea as a pensioner where she died in 1739 and buried, at her request, with full military honors along side of other military pensioners.

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Deborah Sampson

Born: Plympton, Massachusetts (December 17, 1760 – April 29, 1827)

Born in Plympton, Massachusetts, into a family of modest means, Deborah Sampson was one of a small number of women who served in military combat during the American Revolution.

When Sampson was a child, her mother who had been estranged from her father for several years died. She was put under the care of Mary Prince Thatcher, the widow of Reverend Peter Thatcher. When she was 10, Mrs. Thatcher died and Sampson went to live with the Jeremiah Thomas family in Middleborough, where she worked as an indentured servant from 1770 to 1778.

Prior to her enlistment in the Continental Army, Sampson worked as a summer school teacher, tavern helper and domestic aid, typically boarding with the families that employed her. She was also reported to have woodworking skills and mechanical aptitude allowing her to do basket weaving and light carpentry producing milking stools and winter sleds. She also produced pie crimpers, which she sold door to door.

At approximately 5 feet 9 inches in stature, she was a couple of inches taller than the average man and 9 inches above the heads of most women of the mid-1700s. People who knew her personally, described her as “not thin”, with a “waist that might displease a coquette.” She had small breasts and often bounded them with a linen cloth to hide them during her years in uniform.

Her facial features, while regular were far from beautiful. Her tall, broad, strong, and not delicately feminine physical attributes obviously contributed to her success at pretending to be a man. Attributes she needed when in early 1782, while wearing men’s clothes and going by the name of Timothy Thayer she joined a Continental Army unit in Middleborough, Massachusetts; an action thwarted by the inquiries made by the company commander revealing that some town people knew her as a woman.

In spite of this contretemps, in May 1782 Sampson enlisted again. This time in Uxbridge, Massachusetts under the name “Robert Shirtliff.” She joined the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment under the command of Captain George Webb.

Sampson Becomes an Elite Troop

Upon becoming a Light Infantry soldier, she became one of the elite troops especially picked because they were taller and stronger than average. Her job was to provide rapid flank coverage for advancing regiments, as well as rearguard and forward reconnaissance. A job which kept her constantly on the move. Her job in an elite unit requiring above average size and physical ability, became an aptly disguise, since no one was likely to suspect a woman to be among these soldiers.

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Sampson Fights in the War

After fighting in several skirmishes, Sampson took two musket balls in her thigh and sustained a cut on her forehead. Fearing her sex would be discovered, she asked not to be taken to a doctor. In spite of this request, she was taken to a hospital where her head wound was treated. However, she left before the attending doctor could treat her leg.

She removed one of the balls herself with a knife and stitched the wound with needle and threat. The other ball was too deep and remained in place for the rest of her life, for which her leg never fully healed.

Her Secret is Revealed

While in Philadelphia, during the summer of 1783, Deborah Sampson became ill and was treated by Dr. Barnabas Binney. When he removed her clothes to care for her, he discovered the cloth she used to bind her breast. Without revealing her secret to army authorities, he took her to his house, where his wife, daughter and nurse cared for her.

Eventually, Dr. Binney changed his mind about keeping Sampson’s secret and had her deliver a letter to General Paterson, in which he revealed her sex. Typically, women who pretended to be men in order to serve in the army faced reprimands, however, Paterson gave Sampson a discharge, some words of advice and enough money to travel home.

She was honorably discharged at West Point, N.Y. on October 25, 1783, after a year and a half of service. Today, an official record of Deborah Sampson Gannett’s service as “Robert Shirtliff from May 20, 1782 to October 25, 1783 appears in the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War series.

On April 7, 1785, Deborah Sampson went on to marry Benjamin Gannett (1757–1827), a farmer from Sharon, Massachusetts. They had three children: Earl (b. 1786), Mary (b. 1788), and Patience (b. 1790). They also adopted Susanna Baker Shepard, an orphan.

Sampson Becomes a Celebrity

In 1802, Sampson began giving lectures and on-stage performances in which she detailed her wartime experiences. Throughout the performances she would appear in her army uniform and perform difficult military drills. She claimed to perform in order to earn money but also to justify her enlistment.

Sampson died of yellow fever at the age of 66 on April 29th, 1827.

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Memorials to Deborah Sampson

The following are memorials created in her honor:

  • The town of Sharon in Massachusetts memorializes Sampson with a statue in front of the public library, the Deborah Sampson Park and the Deborah Sampson Gannet House which privately owned and not open to the public.
  • In 1906, the town of Plympton, Massachusetts together with the Daughters of the Revolution placed a boulder and plaque in the town center commemorating the life of Sampson.
  • During World War ll the cargo ship of the ‘Liberty Ship’ class S.S. Debora Gannett was named in her honor. It was launched on April 10th, 1944 and scrapped in 1962.
  • As of the year 2000, the town flag of Plympton incorporates Sampson as the Official Heroine of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • A play by Charles Emery named: Portrait of Deborah: A Drama in Three Acts (1959) made its debut at the Camden Hills Theater, in Camden, Maine in the same year.
  • The book I’m Deborah Sampson: A Soldier of the Revolution by Patricia Clapp (1977) a fictional account of her life, went into print in the same year.
  • Sampson is depicted as Robert Shurtless in the comedy The American Revolution by Kirk Wood Bromley.
  • She is portrayed by Whoopy Goldberg in episode 34 of Liberty's Kids. The show is titled: "Deborah Sampson: Soldier of the Revolution."
  • Alex Myers, one of her descendants, published Revolutionary (2014).
  • On July 7th, 2016, historian Allison L. Cowan presented “Deborah Sampson: Continental Army Soldier,” in the form of a biographical talk.
  • In her speech at the Democratic National Convention on July 26th, 2016, Meryl Streep named Sampson as one of the women who made history.
  • A narration by Paget Brewster of Sampson story was re-enacted in Season 5 of Drunk History. Evan Rachel Wood portrayed Sampson.
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Hanna Snell

Born: Worcester, England (April 23rd, 1723 – February 8th, 1792)

People that knew her as a child said she always wanted to be a soldier and played one with other children. Her father, Samuel Snell, a hosier and dyer and her mother Mary Williams, the parents of nine children, both died when she was seventeen years of age in 1740. Little is known about Hannah Snell during this time, other than she moved to London immediately after their death to live in the house of one of her older sisters.

Three years after her arrival in London, she met Dutch seaman James Summes and married him a year later on January 18th, 1744. Unfortunately, Summes turned out to be a cad who mistreated her and abandoned her when he found out she was pregnant. She gave birth to her daughter, Susannah, who died at the age of one on November 23rd, 1745.

In spite of all she had gone through, Hannah still had deep feeling for Summes and decided to search for him in the hopes of bringing him back to London with her. She borrowed a man’s suit from her brother-in-law James Gray and assumed his name in order to begin her search.

Hannah Begins to Search for Her Husband

Eighteenth Century England was a time in which women had few rights and little to say in society. They did not have the right to vote or own property. When married they were not allowed to work and they could not leave the house alone without being considered a prostitute. Subsequently, impersonating and assuming the identity of a man, was the only way Snell could conduct a proper search for her husband.

As a way of obtaining gainful employment and the ability to travel, she journeyed to Coventry and joined Major-General John Guise’s 6th Regiment of Foot in the army of the Duke Cumberland; at the time fighting against Bonnie Prince Charlie in his attempt to regain the British Crown as “Charles lll.”

As the Scottish Rising in 1746 raged on, gender-bender Hannah marched with her regiment to Carlisle. However, she began to realize her chances of finding her husband in Scotland were small and possibly attempted to desert. Greatly incurring the anger of her sergeant, she was ordered to receive six hundred lashes, a harsh punishment for someone considered to be a young boy. She received five hundred and somehow managed to conceal her sex.

Sometime later, she successfully deserted and traveled south to Portsmouth, where she enlisted in Fraser’s Regiment of Marines, where she hoped to travel abroad and find her seafaring husband. Joining the sloop ‘Swallow’, which was under attachment to Admiral Boscawen’s fleet, she sailed to the East Indies as an assistant-steward and cook to the officers’ mess.

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Hannah Becomes a Fighting Sailor

Boys as young as 16 were allowed to serve in the British fleet, hence, Hannah’s feminine and youthful looks did not attract much attention in a crowded ship such as the Swallow.

During the battle to take Mauritius by surprise, Hannah found herself at the center of the fighting. She became part of a march on Pondicherry which took her and her fellow marines through a chest-high river while being fired upon by the French. Wounded in the groin during an attack, Hannah still managed to preserve her secret by seeking the help of a native woman who extracted the bullet. It is reported that during her time of service, she received a dozen wounds of varying degrees.

After making a full recovery, she was made an ordinary seaman, eventually serving on a total of two ships. She gained the nickname of ‘Molly’ due to the smoothness of her face but was able to surpass it for the more neutral sobriquet of ‘Hearty Jemmy.’

Her Husband Had Been Executed

While in Lisbon, Hannah finally heard news of her husband; Summes had been executed in Genoa for murder. Her efforts to find him had been in vain, so when her ship the ‘Etham’ paid the sailors off at Gravesend in 1750, she finished with her tour of duty and ended her disguise.

On June 2nd of that year, she revealed her sex to her shipmates. The news that a woman marine had served valiantly spread quickly. Shortly after, she petitioned the Duke of Cumberland, the head of the Army, to grant her pension. London publisher Robert Walker purchased her story and published The Female Soldier in two different editions. She also made appearances on stage in her uniform performing military drills and singing ballads.

Hannah Receives a Pension

The Duke of Cumberland placed her name on the military pension list and her battle-wounds allowed her to receive an annuity as a Chelsea cut-pensioner. With her newfound earnings she purchased a public-house (pub) in Wapping naming it ‘The Female Warrior.’ The pub sign depicted her in regimental dress on one side and marine uniform on the other. The inscription read ‘The Widow in Masquerade.’ During this time, her portrait was painted in her uniform by three different artists of the era.

On November 3rd, 1759, Hannah married journeyman carpenter Samuel Eyles. She gave birth to George Spence soon after. A second son, Thomas followed four years later. Upon Samuel’s death, she remarried to Richard Habgood in 1772 in a childless union. During the time of her marriage to Habgood, her son George became a London attorney.

Sometime after 1785, Hannah began to show sign of insanity (probably dementia) and placed in Bedlam Hospital, where she died in 1792 at the age of sixty-nine. She was buried alongside the old soldiers at Chelsea Hospital as she had always desired.

Resources

Comments

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on September 29, 2020:

Different motivations. Erauso as a way to escape. Cavanagh to find her husband. Sampson was looking for steady income. Snell was also looking for her husband.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 29, 2020:

Fascinating article but I wonder what was their motivation to join the army in disguise and fight?

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 29, 2020:

That it is, JC. We aim to change that!

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on September 29, 2020:

Thank you Shauna. I wonder why Maven doesn't want comments. It seems counterintuitive. Oh well.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 29, 2020:

JC, this is fascinating stuff. These woman really had cajones to even attempt to pull off impersonating a man for as long as they did. This was an enjoyable read.

I had to find an article of yours that hasn't been moved to a niche site, so I can comment. Ain't that a bitch?!

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on June 18, 2020:

Hello Anupam,

I don't think HubPages offers a way to save an article for later reading.You have to make them a "favorite" in your web browser.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on June 18, 2020:

Such an interesting article, but dear I need some time to go through this. Can you please help me in how to mark this article so that I will read it once I am free?

Actually I have to finish a few things, but it's very possible I might miss the name of this. Is there anyway here that I can save it for further reading?

Though I am manually saving the title to read it next.

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on June 14, 2020:

Thank you Mary!!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2020:

JCScull, this is a wonderful topic which I enjoyed very much reading. I have not known these women so you have expanded my knowledge. Thank you for introducing me to these great warriors.

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on June 13, 2020:

Thank you Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 13, 2020:

I was surprised to learn that centuries ago there were women that pretended to be men in order to fight in wars. This is such an interesting article as I never dreamed that women wanted to fight for different, but various reasons. This is such an interesting article and you sure did your research about these women,

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on June 13, 2020:

Yes indeed RoadMonkey. They did.

RoadMonkey on June 13, 2020:

Really interesting. They had to be very creative to get by as men!

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on June 12, 2020:

Thank you Gilbert!!

Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on June 12, 2020:

You wrote a fascinating story of women impersonating men during the early history of our world. I love the insight you revealed about the women during those rough times. All the female characters were very interesting. I like seeing comparisons from Spanish type women and

American women getting involved with British soldiers, and the American Revolution.

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on June 12, 2020:

Thank you MG.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on June 12, 2020:

This is a fascinating article. Women as soldiers are very few in world history. In India, we had the rani of Jhansi who led the Army against the British in 1857 mutiny. There are so many others but generally having spent quality time in the Air Force my personal opinion is that women are unsuited for combat. However, it does not mean that exceptions are not there. Your article added a wealth of information on this subject.

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on June 12, 2020:

Thank you Liz!!

Thank you Lorna!!

Lorna Lamon on June 12, 2020:

I had heard of Mother Ross, and admired her tenacity. The others were equally brave, and those disguises could have fooled anyone. Great article JC and a very enjoyable read.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 12, 2020:

You have researched and put together a fascinating article on a subject that until now I knew little about.