Masquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier

TitleMasquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsYoung, Alfred F.
Number of Pages417
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
CityNew York

This volume tells the remarkable story of the woman who fought in the American Revolution as Robert Shurtliff--and got away with it. Serving for seventeen months during the period between the British surrender at Yorktown and the signing of the final treaty, a time when peace was far from secure, Deborah Sampson (1760-1827) accomplished her deception by becoming an outstanding soldier. The author narrates why she did it and exactly how she carried it off by meticulously reconstructing her early life as an indentured servant; her young adulthood as a weaver, teacher, and religious rebel; and her military career in the light infantry--consisting of dangerous patrols and small-party encounters, duty that demanded constant vigilance--followed by service as an orderly to a general at West Point. The author also examines her postwar life as a wife and mother on a hardscrabble farm in southeastern Massachusetts. He looks, too, at how Americans have dealt with Sampson in public memory and have appropriated her for a number of causes over the past two hundred years.

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