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Other women warriors in drag:
Union Army spy
16th C. pirate
6th C. Chinese warrior.
Nadezhda Durova: 19th C. Russian soldier
Joan of Arc:
Leader of French army in 100 years war, 15th C.
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Born December 17, 1760 in Plympton Massachusetts, Deborah Sampson is the first American
woman known to join and fight in an American military unit. Sampson began life as an
indentured servant in Middleborough, Mass., where she received her education in heavy farm
labor as well as traditional schooling. At the age of 18, she became legally free of her obligation to
the Thomas family and was soon traveling from household to household, working. At 22,
Sampson made her first attept to join the army--foiled when officials learned her gender.
Sampson's mother, embarrassed, counseled her to marry; Sampson instead escaped to
Bellingham to sign up in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army as a
man named Robert Shirtliff.