Revolutionary War Diary Reveals New Details about Deborah Sampson, Who Disguised Herself as a Man to Join the Continental Army

/ / History

The Museum of the American Revolution announced that a hand-written diary of Corporal Abner Weston (1760-1830) has been acquired by the museum and will be displayed when the museum opens in 2020. The diary reveals new details about the female Revolutionary War soldier Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man to join the Continental Army.

The diary relates the first enlistment attempt made by Deborah Sampson in early 1782. In his diary, Weston provides a “matter-of-fact account” of Sampson’s enlistment attempt and only refers to it as “uncommon”. Weston’s diary provides a contemporary counterpoint to the assumed gender attitudes of the mid 18th-century.

Women often played substantial roles during the period of the Revolutionary War. For more information see: