Citizen-Soldiers in the Revolutionary Era and New Republic

Authored by: John Gilbert McCurdy

The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902985
eBook ISBN: 9781315697185
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315697185.ch2

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Abstract

In the summer of 1776 Private Joseph Plumb Martin contemplated how military service affected his gender. Having joined the Continental Army more for adventure than political grievances, Martin found himself exposed to the deeply gendered nature of warfare. When he remained silent despite a lack of rations, his masculine self-control was praised by an officer, prompting Martin to remember “I felt a little elevated to be stiled a man.” Martin also observed the performance of gender by those around him. He praised the “worthy young ladies” who covered the faces of fallen Americans, rebuked a Tory woman he suspected of poisoning soldiers, and dismissed an “old negro woman” who acted as a surgeon. 1

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