Hannah Snell


Born in Worcester, England, Hannah Snell married James Summs in 1744. When she became pregnant, Summs left, and after the death of their daughter, Susannah, who lived only a year, she decided to find her husband. Chicks can be badass mo-fos, too.

Hannah Snell decided to track down her missing husband by traveling in male attire borrowed from her brother-in-law, James Gray, whose name she assumed. “He” quickly found herself pressed into General Guise’s Regiment. She fought with the Duke of Northumberland’s army against Bonnie Prince Charlie. She deserted after a sergeant sentenced her to 500 lashes. F@ck that. That $hit hurts.

Hannah Snell then enlisted in the Royal Marines at Portsmouth, still hoping to find her missing husband.  For over two years Hannah Snell had concealed her true sex while serving in a regiment. She shipped out to the East Indies on the Swallow through great storms. She fought in the siege of Araapong and in the campaign to capture Pondicherry, and later in the battle in Devicotta. She was whupping ass in mud-filled trenches.  By her own account, she was wounded a number of times, avoiding exposure by removing a bullet from her own groin with the help of an Indian nurse.


Battle of Pondicherry

When the ship returned to Lisbon, Hannah Snell had news of her missing husband: he’d been executed for murder in Genoa.

After her unit returned to England in 1750, Hannah Snell told her fellow soldiers about her disguise, and returned to wearing female attire.

After that revelation, Hannah followed her mates’ advice and approached the Duke of Cumberland on June 16, 1750 while he was reviewing troops in St. James’s Park. Surprised by the curious figure standing before him, the Duke accepted a petition from Hannah, which detailed her many adventures. Afterward, Hannah Snell published her life story, written by Robert Walker, in The Female Soldier, or the Surprising Adventures of Hannah Snell. She appeared on stage in London in military uniform and her story became known through the country.  She normally would do military drills and sing patriotic songs.  She received an honorable discharge, her service was recognized officially, and she was granted a lifetime military pension.

“Why gentlemen, James Gray will cast off his skin like a snake and become a new creature. In a word, gentlemen, I am as much a woman as my mother ever was, and my real name is Hannah Snell.” –The Female Soldier, 1750.


Hannah Snell briefly opened a pub, perhaps named The Female Warrior though sources differ. Pregnant, she married carpenter Samuel Eyles in 1759 and had two children, and after she was again widowed, she married Richard Habgood in 1772. In 1785 she was living with her son, an attorney in London. She passed in 1791.

Here are the source links about her here: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/militarygeneral/p/hannah_snell.htm and here: http://www.users.bigpond.com/ShipStreetPress/Snell/


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