Civilians

Civilians often followed the army as a means to make a living.  Orderly book entries in 1775 and 1778 refer to “sutlers” who were civilians who followed an army and sold provisions to the soldiers, and we know the names of at least two female camp followers who were with the 2d Virginia Regiment.  

 

These women were expected to work, as indicated by Colonel Christian Febiger after taking charge of the Cumberland Courthouse recruiting depot in 1780:  “On examining the hospital here I found one senior and one junior surgeon, two nurses each, a child four women and six or seven children all drawing Continental rations and behold the sick, lame wounded, halt and blind consist of one drummer and two soldiers…From the motley crew I sent you, judge what must be left, one sergeant, one drum and fife, and five recruits composed the garrison – except half a dozen nurses [and] (?) Female pensioners who were here drawing rations also.  I am determined to starve them out also…”

As such, civilian members are welcome, but are subject to the same standards as the soldiers in that they must develop an appropriate persona and their clothing must be be hand finished, made of proper materials, and using appropriate patterns.  Men wishing to join as something other than a soldier can portray staff (chaplains, surgeons, surgeons mates) or civilians (sutlers, wagoners, etc.); women can portray nurses, laundresses, petty sutlers, etc.