Women’s roles in war


The Role of Women in War

Some people think that war is for men. But in reality it’s for men and women. In 1812

women were very important in the war; they helped carry water to the soldiers, cooked, tended to
the wounded, washed and fixed soldiers uniforms. When it was necessary, they would go out and fight.

Women played a very important role in the War of 1812. This war is often called the “ The second war of independence” or “The forgotten war.” There were different commanders/leaders in this war. Some of the most notable were James Madison, Henry Dearborn, Jacob Brown, Winfield Scott, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and William Hull. The war was between June 1812 and March 23, 1815.

Some of the women kept journals as the war went on. For instance, Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon wrote journal entries. Mrs. Bacon was in the war of 1812 between Great Britain and and the United States. The following is an excerpt from her diary. “Although I wish much to see you yet is my husband obliged to come, I never have for a moment regretted accompanying him, it is a great source of happiness that we can be together and I have satisfaction of knowing I am preforming my duty.” She believes it’s her duty to be at war with her husband. She also wrote of all the great fears most whites had of the Indian massacres, just like today, people fear random acts of street violence. Women in war of 1812 to 1815, such as Mary Marshall and Mary Allen, worked as nurses aboard the American commodore which was Stephan Decatur’s ship of the United States. In the war dated 1814 when the British army was coming for the White House, first lady Dolly Madison stood firmly on, staying in the White house until the Gilbert Stuart paining of George Washington was rescued and personally took to the Declaration Of Independence with her before departing from the house.With help of many volunteers and a wagon for transportation she also took President Madison’s working papers from his desk, all of his books, a few paintings and the china and silver.Also not only American women got involved but also British women did similar things for their soldiers. While in garisson, married women where housed with their husbands in the barracks. A couple would be provided a few extra wool blankets and a lower bunk in which they would hang them around such like a kid would do. That was their privacy.

While attached to the army, the wives made a little money by working as seamstresses, laundresses, cooks, and US Army hospital attendants. They also where employed to haul food and water to soldiers. The women attached to the armies during war of 1812 showed themselves to be tough and very silent; their presence certainly made a positive contribution to the morale of the men.

    In the war there were not just white women but also African American women. The assistance that females could provide was limited. They were there to make bandages, tend to the sick and wounded, and sometimes African American women would have to go and work a farm while the white men had to go to war. That way the white man knew everything would go well.  

The war of 1812 was hard on most women. Some of the women fought with uncertainty. War was difficult for women because some women lost their husbands during the war as casualties of battle or sickness. Sometimes women were stationed in different places, away from their husbands. Others left their only friends not knowing if they would ever see them again, because their loved ones had already died.  

Women outside of the war stayed hidden in their homes away from the fighting. Most of the white women were educated with the basic reading and writing skills that they needed. Most women would did not go any further in their education because they would get discouraged. Women were trained to be mothers and house wives. During this time women did not have a say in government, politics, or even legal issues.

I am thankful for these women of war in 1812. They are a very important piece of our history. They paved the way for the modern role of women. These women showed courage, strength, and helped make America what it is today.


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