Chapter 7: Abstract

History and Memory of Army Women and Female Soldiers, 1770s–1870s

(Thomas Cardoza, Truckee Meadows Community College, Department of Humanities and Karen
Hagemann, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History)

In Oxford Handbook of Gender, War, and the Western World since 1600, ed. by Karen Hagemann et al. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 176-200.


The chapter addresses the ways women were involved in warfare on both sides of the Atlantic between the American Revolutionary Wars, the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars and the US Civil Wars as cross-dressed female soldiers and camp followers, and how their active war support was perceived and remembered during the nineteenth century. Collective memory of these women, especially the small number of cross-dresses female soldiers, represents a complex picture. First, many of these women fell into obscurity, especially if they survived the wars, yet by the latter half of the nineteenth century, researchers rediscovered these women, and their public image became more positive. Yet their public portrayal was essentially one-dimensional: they were girls who rose above the limitations of their sex to defend a “nation in danger.” They now became examples of extraordinary female patriotism.


American Revolutionary War; French Revolutionary Wars; Napoleonic Wars; Crimean War; US Civil War; Wars of Unification; army women; nurses; female soldiers; gendered war memories.

In Part I “From the Thirty Years War and Colonial Conquest to the Wars of Revolution and Independence” of the Oxford Handbook of Gender, War  and the Western World since 1600.

To buy an electronic version of this Oxford Handbook chapter click here.

Bibliographic lists: Select Bibliography | Full List

Abstracts: Previous Abstract | Table of Contents | Next Abstract