'Twas April 18, 1775. My husband, Samuel Whittemore, and I were having dinner by ourselves for once without the children. In the middle of our conversation, we had received a letter. ‘Twas for my husband. He had been called into war for the patriots. He had been asked to leave the next day. We soon finished our dinner and my husband rushed upstairs to our room to pack. He was so excited to leave. It made me wonder if he felt like this every time he left me. If he was happy to be out of my presence or to get away from us all.
The next morning the carriage for my husband had arrived at an early time, close to 6:00 a.m. He left without telling me and I had been heartbroken. I had to take care of our children, clean the house and clothes, and keep everything in good shape alone. Just the thought of being alone had made my stomach turn. I also knew I would become used to this, which I did.
About two or three weeks had passed before I got another letter. When I did get the letter I had been even more heartbroken than when he actually left. The letter had stated that my husband had been shot in the face during war and was now in a coma. They said that they did not know what was going to happen and that they might need to get a new soldier. The thought had not come to me right then but it would soon come. The thought had come to me a few hours later. This thought might have been the death of me but I am still here. I would do the unthinkable and the unexpected for a woman. I would go to war in place of my husband.
The next day I packed some of my husband’s clothing so that I could blend in with the other soldiers. I had thought about taking a wig with me but I realized I could just put my long, dark hair into my cap. I then took my children to my mother’s house and told them that I would be back soon, even though I hadn’t know at all if I was coming back. After our good-bye’s I took my horse by the reins and galloped to the war to enlist.
As soon as I got to the camp my husband had stayed, I jumped off of my horse and ran to the chief. I had to enlist soon to ensure that I would have a spot. The chief was General Washington. He and my husband had been friends before the incident. I greeted him as if I had never met him before but also with respect like anyone would do. I enlisted in a short amount of time, got settled, and started training. Little did we know that the British would attack that night.
That night would be the worst night of my life. The British attacked in the middle of the night and we lost many good people. We fought as much as we could, even though many of us only had few or no training at all. We were able to fight them off and they retreated. 'Twas a bad night for everyone.
The next morning General Washington called us to the middle of the camp for a meeting. He explained what had happened and how we would get them back. We started to put our plan into detail and sat there all day. We finally finished and decided on a day to strike back. We would strike back tomorrow.
Our whole day of planning was followed by a whole day of fighting. We attacked early in the morning and took them by their surprise. We had injured and killed many of their men to make up for our fallen ones. After many hours, or so it felt, the British had left their camp because of how many men they had lost. They knew the battle wouldn’t end well. After that we fought many more battles and lost many more men. It was a very devastating time.
By the time we got back to our own camp I saw my husband. He had a vast scar on his face and he was barely recognizable. I had been tempted to run over and hug him like I never had before but then I remembered who I was, or who I was pretending to be. It looked as if he had regained consciousness for quite a while. Maybe a few days or so. He was with a man I had not seen before. I guessed he was the doctor. Samuel was walking with assistance of the doctor but mostly on his own. I had been overwhelmed with joy and excitement because now I knew he had recovered. I asked the doctor if he would be okay to fight, in my manliest voice of course, and the doctor replied he would be cleared in about a week and again I was tempted to just hug him.
That one week had gone by so slowly because I couldn’t wait until my husband was fine and because we had not seen or heard from the British. This was surreal to us because they usually would strike back the day after we did. Now if they did come for us we had my husband to help. He was now walking on his own and was training for battle after he got cleared by the doctor. That night it was really quiet at the camp. All of the soldiers knew something wasn't right but we just didn't know what. We should've known that the British would attack. Their attack led to another battle. That battle today is known as the battle of Eutaw Springs. This was the first battle I fought with my husband, but we lost more men than we had in any other battles we had fought. Little did we know we had one more battle to go and that would be the worst.
It was about a month later when we had our last battle. The patriots spent that month training and working on our technique. We would split into groups and work at one station and we would switch after every half an hour. We did this everyday for that month until we knew we were ready. Even after we knew we were ready, we would train. We didn't stop training until the day the final battle commenced.
The final battle, or as we know it today The Battle of Yorktown, was the worst battle of all. General Washington led us to Yorktown, Virginia on October 9, 1778 to redeem ourselves. We started heading towards Yorktown early in the morning, about 4:30 a.m. and finally arrived at 8:00 a.m. considering the distance between the two towns. We marched like a proud army out of Williamsburg straight to Yorktown. During this battle we had lost only 72 men but the British had lost 309. We had done what we had desired. We had redeemed ourselves.
Once we killed those 309 men, we saw the British chief, General Lord Cornwallis, wave his white handkerchief in the air. The British had surrendered! We had beat the British. There was no way of telling my excitement and how happy I had been to be a part of this. The patriots had cheered and huzzahed. The men were throwing up their caps and hugging each other but in the heat of the moment I had decided to throw my cap up in the air, too. My long hair had fallen down and the people around me stopped cheering. They were all staring at me, their jaws hanging open in awe. A few more moments of silenced had passed by when my husband had seen me. He walked over to me slowly with an expression on his face telling me what he was thinking.
He had been confused and happy all in one emotion. He had broken the silence when he picked me up to hug me and started cheering again. Every man I had been fighting with followed him in his doings. The air was filled with loud chanting and happiness. We had ended the eight year long war. We had won.