Re-enactment of the Battle of Saratoga
The Turning Point of the American Revolution
The British General's wife

The General's Wife was actually "on the rolls" of the army, meaning that she was a registered member of the army and got paid. In exchange, she had to do laundry, nurse invalids, and sew. She also occasionally cooked. Her children were with her, so she spent time watching them, as well.

If the General were to die, she would have to find another husband or face being forced to leave the army. Unattached women were considered to be possible temptations for the other soldiers. A women was a valuable asset to a soldier, since she would care for him.

Women decided to leave Britain or their native land and come to America, because there was a greater chance that they would get food and health care here, since they were with their husbands and were guaranteed a job. Many women saw this job as just a job, and were not all that loyal to the King. They were simply in it for the pay and to be with their husbands.

The commanding officers could cause problems. Many officers resented the fact that women were in the encampments and saw them as a burden and a hazard. Keeping the family together in the wilds of America was certainly a challenge. Also, women often received only a three-quarter ration and the children a half ration, so disease and death was common.

Mothers and wives also had to worry about their childrens' safety once they were old enough to be a part of the fighting. Some young boys started as drummers at the age of eleven, and at sixteen you could carry a musket and fight. At eight, nine, or ten both boys could bring water to the soldiers and run messages back and forth. Girls at this age could hire out as servants to cook and clean, which was the beginning of adulthood since they started to perform the same jobs as their mothers at this age.

Main Page
Major General Benjamin Lincoln
Helen Smith: Wife of a Soldier
Lieutenant in the Light Infantry
Lieutenant William Cumberland Wilkinson

Wife of a Soldier

Hired German Soldiers
The American Encampment

The British Encampment