Joanna Żubr (ca. 1772-1852)
Art by Amanda Nordman (tumblr)
Joanna Żubr and her husband Michał joined the army of the Duchy of Warsaw in 1808.  At first, Joanna was among the camp followers, an informal, mostly female group who supported the troops.  Joanna soon realized she would be happier as a solider so she concealed her gender and enlisted as an infantryman.  Joanna distinguished herself at the Battle of Zamość, earning the Virtuti Militari, Poland’s highest military honor.  She was promoted to sergeant, making her the first Polish woman to achieve that rank.  On the Russian front, Joanna became separated from her regiment.  It took weeks of travelling through dangerous territory, but Joanna managed to rejoin her regiment and continued to fight for another year.  After the Napoleonic Wars ended, Joanna and Michał settled in Wieluń.  Joanna died in 1852 at the age of 80 from cholera.  

Joanna Żubr (ca. 1772-1852)

Art by Amanda Nordman (tumblr)

Joanna Żubr and her husband Michał joined the army of the Duchy of Warsaw in 1808.  At first, Joanna was among the camp followers, an informal, mostly female group who supported the troops.  Joanna soon realized she would be happier as a solider so she concealed her gender and enlisted as an infantryman.  Joanna distinguished herself at the Battle of Zamość, earning the Virtuti Militari, Poland’s highest military honor.  She was promoted to sergeant, making her the first Polish woman to achieve that rank.  On the Russian front, Joanna became separated from her regiment.  It took weeks of travelling through dangerous territory, but Joanna managed to rejoin her regiment and continued to fight for another year.  After the Napoleonic Wars ended, Joanna and Michał settled in Wieluń.  Joanna died in 1852 at the age of 80 from cholera.