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where they lived and face the consequences whatever they might be. "If the two opposite Armys were to come here alternately ten times," a Pennsylvania woman was reported to declare, she "would stand by her Property until she should be kill’d. If she must be a Beggar, it should be where she is known."19Women who refused to flee their homes sometimes hid in cellars, listening to the sounds of troops moving through their towns. Others hid their valuables in the well and then huddled in a bedroom or parlor with their children, hoping that the soldiers would continue marching by. The risks were high and more was at stake than property and personal possessions. Poorly trained or callous soldiers sometimes entered homes firing their weapons randomly at residents. One of their victims was Hannah Ogden Caldwell, the wife of a patriot clergyman, who was killed by a soldier entering the bedroom where she and her nine children had gathered. His shot tore open her chest and punctured her lung. Not all fatalities were the result of recklessness, however. Both patriot and British forces committed conscious acts of fierce brutality. Patriot troops slaughtered the wife and children of a leading Mingo Indian; British troops cut a woman to pieces in her bed, her infant child by her side. Pregnant settlers on the borderlands were mutilated, their wombs ripped out of their dying bodies.20For some women, the decision to remain in or leave their homes was not theirs to make. The ouster of women and children was frequently preparation for, or aftermath to, a widespread looting spree. After seizing New York City, for example, the British began to remove residents of adjoining Long Island and loot their empty homes. In New Jersey, British troops found Captain Thomas Brown’s home unprotected and immediately "robbed it of everything of value,"
55 drove his wife and youngest children out, and burnt his house, barn, and shop to the ground. Like Captain Brown, militiaman William Gipson of South Carolina returned home in 1777 to find that "his mother, a widow woman, was tied up and whipped by the Tories, her house burned, and property all destroyed."21Sometimes the destruction of property and the removal of women from their homes were tactics to force information out of the victims or to intimidate absent male members of the family. Suspicion that a man or his wife might be spying for the enemy also inspired raids on homes. This was the case when an armed band of patriots attacked the home of Vermont landowner Justus Sherwood, looking for evidence that he was gathering intelligence for the Canadian governor. Sherwood was, in fact, working for the enemy, but the raiding party found no proof of his spy activities. Frustrated perhaps, the Americans proceeded to smash the Sherwoods’ furniture and steal their clothing. A belief that women were hiding fugitives in their homes could also prompt a raid. Dangerous as it was, some women hid both soldiers fleeing from the enemy and military deserters in secret rooms and in cellars. In one instance, a