Women, children, sutlers, and other non-military personnel commonly accompanied 18th-century armies on campaign.. Without the efforts of these trades people and campfollowers,the war machines of both sides would have quickly ground to a halt. In addition,our civilian camp presents aspects of 18th century life away from the military camps, representing people of the towns and farms of the colonies.
During the American Revolution, it was common for women and children from both sides to follow their husbands into war. This was done by all classes of women from the very wealthy – who just visited their husbands in the field from time to time – to the common, everyday women who had no other means of support and no place else to go.
The British army officially allowed one woman for every six men, or one per tent. The Continental army had similar ratios, but in both armies this quota was often exceeded. They were known as “women on the ration” and received one-half of what ever the army gave a soldier. Useful children received a one-quarter ration. They had jobs in the army, such as mending clothes, taking care of the sick men, doing laundry, and cooking. A few even followed the army out on the battle field to bring water and ammunition to the men.
Thirty-six prominent Patriot women organized a major fundraising campaign for the relief of impoverished patriot troops, urging women to forgo luxuries and frivolities and donate to the cause. Over $300,000 continental dollars were raised and at General Washington’s insistence linen was purchased and 2200 shirts were made to supply the desperate need of the soldiers.
Although Albany was still predominantly Dutch, by the late 18th century it had become a center of international trade attracting immigrants from the British Isles, France, Poland, Germany and Denmark.
The residents of Albany Almshouse demonstrate a variety of skills influenced by the Old-World traditions.
Set aside from the military camp you will meet various people depicting the daily life of the town’s folk and farmers during the conflict. What was it like living in an area controlled by the British if you supported the Congressional forces or the other way around? Members research and demonstrate skills and trades you would find in the towns or on the farm such as weaver, lace maker, blacksmith, gunsmith, brewer or fisherman. You may see processing of fibers for cloth, foods available as well as cooking and preserving food. You will also hear music of the era.