Sample History Essays on The Biography of Sampson Deborah

Deborah Sampson was an American heroin who served in the Continental Army during the Revolution as a soldier. She fought in the Army disguised as a man for two years before her true identity was discovered. Deborah was not only the first woman in the American history to receive a pension for her revolutionary service in the military, but equally the first to attend a United States national lecture tour. Her bravery, loyalty, and courage are remembered in the American history to-date.

Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association records that Deborah Sampson was born in Plimpton, Massachusetts near Plymouth on 17th December of 1760, descending from a financially-disadvantaged family. Deborah and her six siblings spent their early years in different homes where their mother had placed them, after their father’s failure to return from the sea Voyage (Michals). During her teenage years, Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association argues that Deborah worked as an indentured laborer in Middleborough at the Thomas’ family, where she was to work without wages in exchange for food, clothing, and shelter until the age of eighteen years. Before joining the Army, she earned a living through weaving and teaching; skills she gained at a personal level while at the Thomas’ family.

Having an urge to serve in the military, Deborah disguised herself as a man. At the age of twenty-one years, she joined the Continental Army in 1782 under the 4th Massachusetts Battalion as Robert Shurtliff, the name of her late brother, as recorded by the American Battlefield Trust. She was stationed in the Westchester County, New York’s Hudson Valley where she was selected to serve under the Light Infantry Troops, which was the most active troop in the region between 1782 and 1783 (Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association). The members of the Light Infantry Troops had the ability to march faster at a steady pace, travelled with fewer supplies, and engaged in dangerous missions and battles. During her service in the Neutral Ground of New York, Deborah and other two sergeants led fellow infantrymen on a voyage that led to a battle with the tory raiders. During the war, she sustained a forehead injury from a sword attack and a thigh wound from a gunshot. These wounds posed a threat to her identity since she was to seek medical attention, which could have led to the exposure of her identity. However, the American Battlefield Trust states that she managed to conceal her true identity by extracting the bullet from her thigh by herself using a penknife and a sewing needle, while the forehead wound was treated by a physician. She resumed her military duties once she was pronounced fit.

Deborah’s true identity was finally revealed after she fell sick on a mission. Working as a waiter to General Paterson in 1783, her troops were sent to Philadelphia to control a protest. She became a victim of an epidemic and was taken to hospital where she became unconscious. Dr. Barnabas Binney discovered her identity and revealed it to the General through a letter (Michals). In October 23rd, 1783, Michals records that Deborah was discharged honorably from the Army and later got married to Benjamin Gannet with whom she had three children. She became the first woman to go on a lecture tour in 1802, and petitioned for her pension, which she was granted. She died on April 29, 1827. Her statue is erected outside the public library in Sharon in her honor.

Deborah Sampson served in the military in disguise of a man and is remembered in American history for her heroism and courage. She was the first female in the American history to receive a pension for serving in the military, as well as first in attending the lecture tour.



Works Cited

American Battlefield Trust. “Deborah Sampson aka ‘Robert Shurtliff’.” American Battlefield Trust. 2020. Accessed June 30, 2020.

Daily Mail. “Grace and Grit: Newly unearthed diary from 1781 sheds light on the life of Deborah Sampson – a woman who fought in the Revolutionary War while disguised as a man.” Daily Mail. 2020. Accessed June 30, 2020.

Michals, Debra. “Deborah Sampson (1760-1827): A continental soldier.” Social Welfare History Project. June 17, 2020. Accessed June 30, 2020.

Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. “Deborah Sampson.” Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. 2020. Accessed June 30, 2020