Panoramic View of West Point, New York showing American Encampments on the Hudson River (detail)

Pierre Charles L'Enfant, Artist

The women in this watercolor are rare to find in a period image of the Continental Army. But thousands of women and children shared life on campaign with their enlisted husbands and fathers. A census of the camp followers at West Point in January 1782 documents the presence of 150 women and 91 children alongside about 3,600 soldiers. The woman seen here is holding a tin kettle while two soldiers use their spoons to eat directly from the kettle. Women with the army supported the troops by sewing, doing laundry, and selling food to soldiers.

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC