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Deborah Sampson

Robert Shirtliffe enlisted in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment in 1778. Except, his name wasn't Robert and he wasn't a man.

Deborah Sampson cut her hair and wrapped a cloth firmly around her chest. Thus, disguised as a man, she enlisted in the Revolutionary Army using her brother's name. Deborah fought for her country for years. She was wounded in battle, although sources differ as to where. Some say her shoulder; others her thigh. Coming down with a fever did her in - not in the mortal sense, but in her disguise. A kindly doctor treating her discovered her secret. He helped her keep her secret until the war ended, taking her to his house to recover in private. At the end of the war, Deborah was given an honorable discharge.

As sources differ about Deborah's wound, they also differ on her name. Some render her last name Samson.

Trivia note: Deborah's husband was the only man to receive a widower's pension from the Revolutionary War.


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