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American History Stories, Volume II by  Mara L. Pratt

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NANCY HART

NANCY HART was known throughout the South in Revolutionary times as "the giantess" and "the heroine of Georgia."

She lived in the wild woods, and supported herself and her children by hunting, fishing, and trapping.

Nancy was not handsome, as she stood over six feet in height, her mop of red hair bundled into a big coil, and her crooked eyes staring and winking as was their custom.

But for all her uncouth appearance, one who knew her said, "Her voice was quiet and soft, and if she had the bravery and courage of a man, she had beneath it all the warm, tender heart of a woman."

She was a fierce supporter of the Whig party from the very outset.

One day six British soldiers, pursuing deserters, came to her cabin for food.

While they were eating, she hid their guns, drove away [147] their horses, locked her doors, and found a way to send word to her neighbors, "I have trapped six Tories. Come and help me."

During one winter, dressed as a man, she used often to go to the British camp; and, with her sharp, clear perception, she would learn what was going on within, and carry the news to the Whigs.

One day she met a little pale-faced British soldier. Taking his gun from him, she marched him on before her into the Georgian camp.

The Georgian colonel had great confidence in her power and wisdom. So much so, that he once put her in charge of a fort filled with women and children.

Nancy proved, before the colonel's return, that she was equal to the occasion. A company of skirmishers attacked it.

Nancy, in uniform, forced the frightened women to put on their husband's clothes and present themselves upon the walls. She, herself, kept up meanwhile a steady firing from the old cannon.

"I understood the soldiers had gone with Colonel Clarke; but the fort seems only too well manned. We may as well march," said their leader.

When the war was over, a few "squatters," as they were called, came into the country, not far from Nancy's cabin. Nancy fled into the wildernesses of Kentucky. "So many neighbors," said she, "leave me no air to breathe."

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