Harriet Tubman

History of War - Spies




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Harriet Tubman is a very special person, a person that overcame everything thrown at her in life to become pivotal in the history of the American Civil War and the abolition movement. In her life Harriet Tubman was a spy, someone who saved many from the clutches of slavery and also a very active member in trying to gain women the right to vote.

Some stories are interesting, but the story of Harriet Tubman is one that will keep you enthralled and make you think it was a story straight out of a Hollywood film.

Many in America know of Harriet Tubman, but hardly anyone outside the United States has heard of her so today you will find out the story of the amazing Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman Early Years

The name Harriet Tubman is not the name this great lady was born with. Harriet was actually born Araminta "Minty" Ross in Madison, Maryland. The year of birth is debated but the belief is that it was 1822.

Araminta "Minty" Ross was born to slave parents owned by Mary Pattison Brodess and Anthony Thompson on a large plantation. As a daughter of slaves the early years for Tubman were not enjoyable and she was regularly hired out for different jobs, even if she was very poorly.

Once into her early teenage years things turned worse for Tubman as she went to the store for supplies one day when a fellow slave who had escaped from the field happened to be there. The owner of the slave caught up with him and asked Tubman to help him restrain the slave which she declined. The owner then threw a two pound weight at the slave he was trying to detain but missed and hit Tubman on the head.

The wound resulting from being hit was terrible and the owner took Tubman back where she was left with the awful wound for two days before anyone took notice, the reason for this is because the owner thought her worthless.

In the end Tubman recovered from her wounds but would bear the scars for the rest of her life as she suffered from severe headaches and seizures.

At the age of 18 Tubman’s father was freed from slavery due to the last will of a previous owner saying he should be freed once he was 45 years of age. Tubman’s father was freed in the end and he continued to work for the people who were his owners as a slave. Unfortunately while it was found the same freedom was supposed to be bestowed upon Tubman’s mother this never happened.

In 1844 when Tubman was 22 she married a free man called John Tubman, this is when Tubman not only changed her first name but her surname too.

By 1849 Tubman was taken ill and her owner tried to sell her unsuccessfully. Initially Tubman tried to pray to God her owner would change but in the end she prayed he would be killed instead and a week later her wish was granted. Although her owner died Tubman felt regret for praying for such a deed.

Tubman decided after her owner died that she did not want to wait to find out her fate and escaped with her two brothers, the issue was that the brothers decided to return and Tubman felt compelled to return with them. It was not for long however as Tubman was on the run again before long, this time alone.

Tubman managed to get all the way to Philadelphia before finding out other family members were being sold as slaves so she made her way back and aided their escape. Tubman continued moving to and fro aiding the escape of slaves for some 11 years up until the Civil War. During this same time she bought a small plot of land where she kept all the slaves she freed.

Tubman and the Civil War

In 1861 as the Civil War started to rage Tubman joined the side of the United States, here she started out as a nurse helping soldiers suffering with awful disease such as smallpox and dysentery. Many started to think Tubman was blessed by God as she never contracted any disease from the soldiers she helped.

By 1863 Tubman became a leader of people as she led a band of scouts through unchartered land and mapped the land as she went. Tubman made history later in 1863 as she became the first woman in the war to lead armed soldiers into battle; this was a battle that would see some 700 slaves freed from the clutches of Confederate slave owners.

The work of freeing these men also helped reinforce the Union Army numbers as Tubman tended to the freed slaves and many of them entered service with the forces.

For the rest of the war Tubman carried on her scouting raids into Confederate lands, mapping the land and gaining information from people there. Effectively this work was espionage and gave Tubman the tag of a spy.

After the War

After the Civil War Tubman carried on tending to people and helping where she could, this continued as she then became heavily involved in the women’s suffrage movement.

As Tubman got older and more frail she became more involved in the church, this was until her death on March 13th 1913 aged 93 years of age.





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