Deborah Sampson

Continental Army soldier

Deborah Sampson was a woman who dressed as a man, so that she could join the American soldiers in the Revolutionary War.[1][2] The Revolutionary War was a war between Great Britain and the thirteen original colonies. Deborah Sampson came from a poor family. She worked as an indentured servant from the age of eight to the age of eighteen. She worked for no pay for a family, but that family let her study with and spend time with their sons.

Deborah Sampson
Frontispiece of The Female Review: Life of Deborah Sampson, the Female Soldier in the War of Revolution.
Born(1760-12-17)December 17, 1760
Plympton, Massachusetts
DiedApril 29, 1827(1827-04-29) (aged 66)
Sharon, Massachusetts
Buried atRock Ridge Cemetery, Sharon, Massachusetts
Allegiance United States
Service/branch Continental Army
Years of service1782–1783
UnitLight Infantry Company, 4th Massachusetts Regiment
Battles/warsAmerican Revolutionary War
Relations3 children (Earl, Mary, Patience)
Other workTeacher

Sampson wanted to serve in the war against the British, but the American Army would only take men. She dressed as a man, and she got into the Continental Army. She went by the name of Robert Shurtleff. She later got married. She worked as a teacher. She also spoke in public about her experiences in the war.

During her time in war she went to extremes to keep her identity a secret. She once got slashed in the head by an enemy, yet bandaged it up herself. She also got shot in the leg twice. But, in order to not let people find out who she was, she pulled the bullets out of her own leg. In war, she collapsed from fever. She went to the hospital because of it and this is where her peers and boss found out about her being a woman.

Even if she lied to get into the army, her bravery was recognized and she was honored by her General and Congress as well.

In booksEdit

  • Alma Bond and Lucy Freeman, America's First Woman Warrior: The Courage of Deborah Sampson
  • Susan Casey, “Women Heroes of the Revolution"
  • Samuel Willard Crompton, “Deborah Sampson"
  • Ann McGovern and Katherine Thompson, The Secret Soldier: The Story Of Deborah Sampson


  1. Howat, Kenna (2017-07-14). "Mythbusting the Founding Mothers". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  2. Weatherford, Doris (1994). American Women's History. Prentice Hall.