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.