because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Joanna Zubr

Joanna Zubr was thirty-eight-years-old when she left Austria with her husband to support Napoleon's war effort by joining the army of the Duchy of Warsaw in 1808. Initially just a camp follower (cooking and doing laundry and such), Zubr quickly bored of the role, put on a uniform and enlisted in the 2nd Infantry Regiment as a Private herself.

The following year, she took part in the Galician Campaign, so distinguishing herself at the Battle of Zamosc that she was awarded Poland's highest honor for bravery, the Virtuti Militari. Emboldened by this, Zubr joined the same company her husband was in, where she was promoted to Sergeant and took part in Napoleon's invasion of Russia.

Separated from her unit when they retreated, Zubr had to find her own way out of Russia, which took weeks, alone and in hostile territory. Nevertheless, she eventually located her division and fought for another year until Napoleon was defeated, leaving her and her husband unable to return to their original home. Being an in-your-face woman doesn't necessarily guarantee you'll choose the winning side in the battle. It just guarantees you'll get to fight on the side of your choice if you please.

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