Saturday, September 8, 2012
When she couldn't find her husband (because he had been executed for committing murder), she went to a shipyard and joined the Royal Marines. It may not seem like a logical progression of events, but it appears from the way the story unfolds that Snell was an in-your-face woman.
In any case, she sailed with her unit to Lisbon and on to India, where she fought -- and was wounded -- in the battle of Devicotta. After two years in the service of the King, when Snell finally revealed her gender to her shipmates, they were so impressed with what a fine job she had done fooling them in very close quarters that they encouraged her to approach the Duke of Cumberland and request the pension she had earned as a sailor. So she did. And she got it.
Her story, entitled The Female Soldier, was published in two different editions and she made money for a while appearing on stage in her uniform demonstrating drills and singing sailor's ditties. But in the end she wound up marrying a couple more times and having a couple of sons, a pretty ordinary life for a woman who had already been to war. But in-your-face women make their own choices -- and few apologies.