Deborah Sampson was the first woman to enlist in the army. She failed her first time trying to enlist dressed like a man under the name Timothy Thayer. She knew she wanted to fight in the Revolutionary War after hearing about the Boston Tea Party.
I am here to enlist!
Sampson was successful her second time trying to enlist! Since she traveled to another town no one recognized her true identity and she was ready to begin fighting as a patriot under the name Robert Shurtleff.
You look like a strong built young man, welcome to the army!
May 20, 1782
I will sir!
Deborah was sent to West Point, an army fort where she would train for the long road of the revolution ahead. She was always volunteering for things and she was doing a fantastic job of not being discovered!
Which one of you is checking the caves tonight?
Is the poor thing going to be alright? Does she need anything, what do we do!
Even though Deborah Sampson probably wanted to keep fighting in the Revolutionary War, she became very ill with malignant brain fever. Dr. Barnabus Binney discovered she was a woman and instructed his wife to care for her at their home.
She'll be fine, she just needs lots of rest!
Though Deborah Sampson survived the deadly disease, Barnabus Binney gave her a sealed envelope. She knew the envelope contained the truth she was a girl. The letter was to be delivered to General Patterson at the Company of Patterson.
Deliver this to the Company of Patterson
The general asked Sampson to tell the truth about her fighting in the war and she did. The letter did tell the truth but reminded the general that since she did fight in the war she was a hero! Deborah Sampson was honorably discharged from the army on October 25, 1783 and was given money to travel back to her family.