The History of Women in
the Army

Since 1775 women have been actively involved in
many roles in every conflict the U.S. Army has been in.
Going from the Revolutionary War, to World War 1, and
2. Initially their roles were based mostly on nursing,
surgeons, telecommunications, supply, manufacturing,
etc.. Modern times has women’s roles being from
support to combat related. The Last 25 years the Army
has changed a lot with women within the ranks.

Revolutionary War
and Civil War

During the American Revolutionary War, women served the U.S. Army
in traditional roles as nurses, seamstresses and cooks for troops in
camp. In the 18th and 19th centuries, garrisons depended on women
to make Soldiers’ lives tolerable. Some found employment with
officers’ Families or as mess cooks. Women employed as laundresses,
cooks, or nurses were subject to the Army’s rules of conduct. Though
not in uniform, these women shared Soldiers’ hardships including
inadequate housing and little compensation


A few courageous women
served in combat either
alongside their husbands or
disguised as men. During the
attack on Fort Washington in
1776, standing alongside her
husband John, Margaret Corbin
handled ammunition for a
cannon. When he was fatally
wounded, she took his place
at the cannon until she also
was wounded. Congress
authorized a pension for her in

Clara Barton witnessed
immense suffering on the
battlefield as a nurse.
She took care of the
wounded, dead and
dying from Antietam to
Andersonville. After the
war, she lectured and
worked on humanitarian
causes and became the
first president of the
American Association of
the Red Cross.

Until she was captured by
Confederates in Chattanooga,
Tennessee, Dr. Mary E. Walker
served as assistant surgeon
with Gen. Burnside’s Union
forces in 1862, and with an Ohio
regiment in East Tennessee the
following year. Imprisoned in
Richmond, Virginia,...

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