Female Camp Followers in the American Revolution: A Reading List

John U. Rees

(Note: The listed works by John U. Rees have been revised and are available online at www.revwar75.com.)

This is not a comprehensive list, nor is it intended to be. The appended books and articles are considered to be authoritative, as well as useful to historians and reenactors alike. The list will be expanded as new works come to light.


Walter Hart Blumenthal, Women Camp Followers of the American Revolution (New York, 1974), "British Camp Women on the Ration": numbers of women with the army, 15-21, 24-26, 28-29, 33-34, 38-39; numbers of women with individual regiments, 16, 19, 32; “Irregular Women" and allotted women, 23, 37-38, 40-41, (French & Indian War) 46-47, 49-50; description of women with Burgoyne's army, 27-28; clothing allotment for women and children, 38; rations, 41, (French & Indian War) 51; duties, 40, 45-46. "American Camp Women Under Washington": duties, 41, (French & Indian War) 46-47, 49-50; description of women with Burgoyne's army, 27-28; clothing allotment for women and children, 38; rations, 41, (French & Indian War)51;duties,40,45-46. "American Camp Women Under Washington": duties, 61-62; description, 65-66; women with the Pennsylvania Line in the winter of 1781, 75-76.

Barton C. Hacker, “Women and Military Institutions in Early Modern Europe: A Reconnaissance,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 6, no. 4 (Summer 1981), 643-671.

Paul E. Kopperman, “Medical Services in the British Army, 1742-1783,” Journal of the History of Medicine (October 1979), 428-455.

Charlotte Brown, “The Journal of Charlotte Brown, Matron of the General Hospital, with the English Forces in America, 1754-1756,” in Isabel M. Calder, Colonial Captivities, Marches and Journeys (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, Inc., 1935; reprinted 1967), 169-198 (French and Indian War).

Mary M. Crawford, ed., “Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon’s Journal, 1811-1812,” Indiana Magazine of History, vol. 40 (Dec. 1944), 367-386; vol. 41 (March 1945), 59-79. Lydia Bacon, officer’s wife, 4th United States Regiment, War of 1812.

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1990)


Todd W. Braisted, "Refugees & Others: Loyalist Families in the American War for Independence," The Brigade Dispatch (Journal of the Brigade of the American Revolution), two parts: vol. XXVI, no. 4 (Winter 1996), 2-7; vol. XXVII, no. 2 (Summer 1997), 2-6.

German Troops

Bruce Burgoyne, "Women with the Hessian Auxiliaries during the American Revolutionary War," The Brigade Dispatch, three parts: vol. XXVI, no. 1 (Spring 1996), 2-8; vol. XXVI, no. 2 (Summer 1996), 6-16; vol. XXVI, no. 3 (Autumn 1996), 19-23.

Bruce Burgoyne, "Women with Hessian Military Units," The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXVI, no. 3 (Autumn 1996), pp. 2-10.

Don N. Hagist, “Notes on German Army Women,”The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXXII, no. 2 (Summer 2002), 20.

French Troops

Donald J. Brandt, “Rochambeau's Army, and Women in America,” The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXV, no. 3 (Summer 1995), 3 (insights on women with and around a French regiment).

René Chartrand, “Notes Concerning Women in the 18th Century French Army,” The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXV, no. 3 (Summer 1995), 2 (explanation of the relative paucity of women with French forces in America).

British Army

Don N. Hagist, "The Women of the British Army, A General Overview. Part 1 - Who & How Many," The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXIV, no. 3 (Summer 1993), 2-10; "Part 2 - Sober, Industrious Women," vol. XXIV, no. 4 (Autumn 1993), 9-17; "Part 3 - Living Conditions," vol. XXV, no. 1 (Spring 1995), 11-16; "Part 4 - Lives of Women and Children," vol. XXV, no. 2 (Summer 1995), 8-14.

Don N. Hagist, "Mary Driskell, 10th Regiment of Foot," The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXX, no. 2 (Summer 2000), 15.

Don N. Hagist, "Women on Burgoyne’s Campaign," The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXX, no. 4 (Winter 2000), 18-20.

Don N. Hagist, “Mrs. Middleton Takes Prisoners,” The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXIX, no. 3 (Autumn 1999), 17 (a British Army woman’s experiences, from a primary source).

Paul E. Kopperman, "The British High Command and Soldiers' Wives In America, 1755-1783," Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, no. 60 (1982), 14-34. Married women, 14; women's duties, 15-16, 21; number of women in the Continental Army, 16; the thoughts of the high command concerning women, 16; the number of women in the army and individual regiments, 19-20, 26-28; women's rations, 22-23; women as patients in hospital, 31, 33.

Continental Forces

(Anna Maria Lane), Sandra Gioia Treadway, “Anna Maria Lane: An Uncommon Soldier of the American Revolution,” Virginia Cavalcade, vol. 37, no. 3 (Winter 1988), 134-143.

(Sarah Osborn), Richard O. Eldred, “The Heroine of Yorktown,” Daughters of the American Revolution (November 1984), 634-636, 698.

(Sarah Osborn’s pension narrative), John C. Dann, The Revolution Remembered ‑ Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence (Chicago, Il., 1980), 243‑246.

Linda Grant De Pauw, "Women in Combat - The Revolutionary War Experience," Armed Forces and Society, vol. 7, no. 2. Winter 1981, 209-226. An interesting though flawed article that contends, without sufficient evidence, that "tens of thousands of women were involved in active combat." For a rebuttal see McKenney's "Comment" (below).

Don N. Hagist, “The Women of Fort Jefferson,” The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXX, no. 1 (Spring 2000), 21 (study of the clothing and possessions of women in a frontier garrison).

Don N. Hagist, “... she was very fond of soldiers,” The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXIX, no. 2 (Summer 1999), 15 (runaway ads describing women associated with the army).

Holly A. Mayer, Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and Community during the American Revolution (Columbia, S.C., 1996) Published version of H.A. Mayer, Belonging to the Army: Camp followers and the Military Community during the American Revolution, Ph.D. dissertation (College of William and Mary, 1990.) An excellent work which covers both male and female camp followers serving in many capacities: 39-40, female nurses, washerwomen and prices charged for laundering; 41-48, women on campaign and disregard of orders - on Quebec expedition 1775, at Ticonderoga 1776, during Philadelphia campaign, with Anthony Wayne's Pennsylvania troops 1781, with Washington's army on the march to Yorktown 1781; 52, horses belonging to women; 57-58, women passing through the lines of the army; 62, dispute between female follower and sergeant; 77, women as cooks; 80, smallpox inoculation for women and children; 82-83, huts for women in winter; 85, rations for women; 136-137, orders against soldier's wives selling alcohol and difficulty of enforcement; 137-139, lewd women and prostitutes; 161-162, camp women as housekeepers for officers; 169-208, soldier's families, officer's wives and class status, numbers of women in the Continental and British armies, the treatment of women and children in hospitals, women and military law, with the baggage on campaign, service as nurses and washerwomen, women in combat; 272-277, matrons and nurses in hospitals, women's rations; 294-301 and 314, women and the military legal system; 339-340, overview of females with the army during and after the war.

Janice E. McKenney, "'Women in Combat': Comment,” Armed Forces in Society, vol. 8, no. 4, Summer 1982, 686-692. A well reasoned rebuttal to De Pauw's article refuting most of the claims that author made concerning women in combat.

John U. Rees, "'The multitude of women': An Examination of the Numbers of Female Camp Followers with the Continental Army," The Brigade Dispatch, three parts: vol. XXIII, no. 4 (Autumn 1992), 5-17; vol. XXIV, no. 1 (Winter 1993), 6-16; vol. XXIV, no. 2 (Spring 1993), 2-6. (Reprinted in Minerva: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military, vol. XIV, no. 2 (Summer 1996)). Available online.

John U. Rees, "'The number of rations issued to the women in camp.': New Material Concerning Female Followers With Continental Regiments," The Brigade Dispatch, vol. XXVIII, no. 1 (Spring 1998), 2-10; vol. XXVIII, no. 2 (Summer 1998), 2-12, 13. Available online.

John U. Rees, "'The proportion of Women which ought to be allowed': Female Camp Followers With the Continental Army," The Continental Soldier (Journal of the Continental Line), vol. VIII, no. 3 (Spring 1995), 51-58.Available online.