Women and Children

The army did provide supplies to the wives and children of soldiers but only under the following strict regulations.

  • The rations shall not be issued to women and children of regiments in the field in a greater proportion than six women and their children per troop or company. (6 women to 60-100 men).

  • Widows and orphans of Officers or soldiers, are to be victualed (given supplies) till they can obtain a passage home. (After which they will no longer be supplied).

  • No women or children except the wives and children of non-commissioned officers or privates shall be entitled to rations except aforesaid. (No single women will be supplied; girlfriends and mistresses don’t count)

  • The ration for each woman, shall be only one half, of each child, one third, of that allowed to a man

  • The women and children to be victualed in pursuance of these regulations to be nominated by the commanding officer of the corps and their names to be specially returned to the Commissary. (Wives accompanying soldiers were chosen by lottery and then the names were passed up the chain of command to the Commanding officer)

Wives of soldiers were largely viewed as dependents, though they did their share of domestic work. As for civilians, they were often swept along by the tide of war. As one historic commentary indicates,

It was really painful to see and hear the distress of the women. I was stopped very few moments to satisfy their inquiries as [to] the safety of some husband, father, brother or son; the women had collected in groups, in every public place through the country.

The burning of communities on both sides of the Niagara River as well as the communities between Burlington Heights and Detroit caused a great deal of hardship. Many people became refugees and straggled into Burlington Heights in search of safety, shelter and food.