I just realized that I never updated here about what I discovered about that building I saw in a dream not too long ago. You can see a description of the dream here and a rendering of the building here. I believe I mentioned it on a private site I post on and never got around to sharing it on this blog.
I sent the rendering to my father (a former USAF NCO who knows much more about 19th Century military history than I do and has been very open-minded about my experience). He took one look at it and said it was very likely a military barracks from the first half of the 19th century, probably a converted stable shared with animals (they may have been on the far side of the dividing wall). The scant information I can glean seems to support this. I was completely wrong about the date because I can’t find any record of 17th or 18th century barracks that are even remotely similar.
One detail I forgot to mention was that I saw women there, which was why I was more likely to believe it was a jail. I discovered, however, that in the early to mid 19th centuries, soldiers and sailors in certain semi-skilled professions would sometimes bring their families with them on campaign.
Given the likely date, I don’t think it was related to my Revolutionary War life since these barracks didn’t become commonplace until the 1810s, in the Napoleonic wars, and continued through the first half of the century.
Considering I have no memory of serving in the War of 1812 in that life and I believe I may have been old enough to serve in the army by the 1830s in my subsequent life, I now believe that in my seafaring life I had a stint as a soldier, and it probably ended with me being drummed out by the way those men looked when they came to get me.
In other words, there’s a good chance I went to sea because I couldn’t make it as a common soldier. And there we have a common thread between my WWI life and the life immediately before: I tried to make it as a soldier and I did poorly in that profession, usually running afoul of the strict discipline expected of soldiers even when I tried to follow orders. WWI was a little different; I didn’t thrive under military discipline in a cushy sector before the war (my service records prove that) but because they were so desperate and I already had the training I was good enough to serve in the Regular Army on the Western Front after I reenlisted. Technically, if you count flunking mandatory ROTC classes in the 40s in my last life because I had a powerful aversion to taking orders, that’s three lives where I was pressured to become a soldier and couldn’t perform.
And it was only my relatively poor physical condition and use of psych meds in this life that kept me from joining the military in this life. I had USMC recruiters actually calling me in the evenings when I turned 18. I had bosses who fired me with advice to go into the military so they’d “make a man of me.” Right before the time I had my first recollection of past lives I was so fed up with dead-end jobs that I had seriously considered cleaning up, conditioning my body, putting my gender transition on indefinite hold, and joining the military, though it was one of several options I was toying with (luckily I went with my first choice of finishing my BA instead).
It’s also interesting to note that in this life, I get along relatively well with the soldiers I know. I have had many friends in the military, active, reserve, and retired (in this life as well as my last two lives, that’s documented). I’ve actually been mistaken for a veteran more than once even though I never present myself as such. I have alarmingly good aim with a rifle. I understand military strategy relatively well. But I also do very poorly in environments with many strict rules, and I do poorly over sustained periods of danger and uncertainty and for an ordinary soldier, those things are absolute certainties. You don’t want a neurotic person like me on the battlefield because there would come a point when I wouldn’t be able to cope with it.
How would I do if I could somehow be brought up in a warrior culture and groomed for life as an elite warrior with many soldiers under my command? Most likely, I’d be terribly inconsistent. At least, that was Count William’s track record.
Luckily, I’m too old now and they’re unlikely to allow transwomen in the US military any time soon let alone start drafting us when we’re already in our 30s. I managed to not have to experience the mortification and frustration of actually trying to be a soldier in this life and I’m better for that.