March 19, 2014

Betsey from Kentucky

Nursing duties was one of the primary roles of women attached to the army during the War of 1812 and in this regard, Betsey from Kentucky was no different. However, during the Battle of Chippawa on July 5, 1814, Betsey broke from her nursing duties to fight in the line of infantry.

In January 1813, Betsey was witness to the deaths of her father and brother at the River Raisin. Betsey was filled with feelings of revenge and at the beginning of the Niagara 1814 Campaign, she dressed as a soldier and entered the ranks. Dr. Horner of the American Army wrote about Betsey and described her as “remarkable for her height, muscular figure, for the loss of one eye, and for her volubility in oaths and queer modes of execrable when jeered at or incensed.” Basically, she was a tough woman that you would not want to offend.
American line, Battle of Chippawa

At the Battle of Chippawa she performed her duty well and “executed her firing with the precision of one of the line.” Her company was exposed to enemy fire and many of her immediate comrades were shot down. Betsey continued in the line until her captain ordered her to leave as the wounded required attention. She complied with the order and proceeded with the wounded to the military hospital at Buffalo where Dr. Horner states that she “was one of the most faithful and kind of nurses, notwithstanding her recklessness of conduct in other respects.”  

Join us on Saturday, March 22, for Trivia Night. One of the categories is ‘Friends Across the Border,’ questions relating to the Americans. Click here for more information and to sign up. In addition, if you would like to find out more about the Battle of Chippawa, and see women dressed as soldiers, than mark July 5 and 6 on your calendars for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Chippawa re-enactment. Click here to find out more.

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