Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Meeting Notes: March 20, 2019

"Sober and Industrious Women: Soldiers' Wives in the British Army,"
Jenna Schnitzer

Pre-Guest Speaker Notes:
Planning an October 12, 2019 field trip to the Norfolk/Great Bridge area.

May meeting is moved from the 15th to the 8th.

Guest Speaker:

Bio: Jenna Schnitzer is both an historical interpreter and an historical seamstress for individuals, historic sites, and private organizations. She also operates the “Followers of the British Army” Facebook page. Her husband, Eric Schnitzer, serves as a Park Ranger at Saratoga National Historical Park.

The emphasis of the speaker’s remarks provided an overview of the role of soldiers' wives during the Burgoyne Campaign and explored some of the myths and perceptions about the women.

Other names for the women and their children who traveled with the army where “camp followers”and “women on the ration”.

It’s estimated that 900 “followers”were with Burgoyne at Saratoga.

The four primary jobs of women during the campaign were nursing, sutler, baking, and laundress.

The vast majority of women traveling with Burgoyne’s Army were wives and their children.

On average during the campaign, the ratio one could expect was 10-13 women per 50 soldiers.

The British Army was only responsible for providing camp followers with food, transportation, and protection.

The Convention Army while billeted in Charlottesville included 200 British and 100 German women.

One of the explanations for the large number of women and children traveling with the army was the “mechanization”of industry back in Britain. This forced“tradesmen”into the army which meant families joining the army.

--Noah Rogers

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