Anna Maria Lane, Revolutionary War Soldier
Anna Maria Lane. Virginia Historical Society
On 6 February 1808 the General Assembly approved a
pension for Anna Maria Lane, the state's only known female veteran of the American Revolution.
In a message to the General Assembly, Governor William H. Cabell recommended the pension
for Lane, who was then working as a nurse in Richmond. He stated that "Anna Maria Lane is very
infirm, having been disabled by a severe wound, which she received while fighting as a common
soldier in one of our Revolutionary battles."
The legislature responded and stated that "in the garb and with the courage of a soldier [she]
performed extraordinary military services and received a severe wound at the Battle of Germantown."
It is impossible to determine what circumstances led to Anna Maria Lane being wounded on a
Pennsylvania battlefield. She probably disguised herself as a man so she could join her husband,
John Lane, when he enlisted in the Connecticut Continental Line. After the war, the Lanes settled
in Richmond, and Anna worked as a nurse for the Public Guard until failing health forced her to stop.
Of course, most women did not support the American Revolution by disguising themselves as
soldiers and fighting in combat. But Lane's example is a reminder that women supported the
military effort in a range of private and sometimes public roles. Although we do not know many
details about Anna Maria Lane, her actions at the battle of Germantown must have been
extraordinary. The General Assembly awarded her an unusually large pension, which she
received until her death in 1810. In 1997 Lane was the subject of a historical marker
erected on Ninth Street, near Capitol Square's Bell Tower.
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