Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16: Molly Pitcher

On this date in history .... 1776:

Margaret “Molly” Corbin joins in the fighting against the British when her husband is shot and killed.  She became the first woman to receive a pension from Congress for military service. She was reburied in West Point Cemetery, 1 of only 2 Revolutionary soldiers to be buried there.

It was common for wives to follow their husbands into battle, doing the washing, cooking and becoming a “Molly Pitcher” – a woman who takes pitchers of water to the soldiers. “Molly” was a common nickname for women named Mary and Margaret. Folklore has it that soldiers would yell, “Molly! Pitcher!” when they wanted water, and thus the nickname was born for the women who helped provide water to soldiers on the battlefield. 
When Molly’s husband was killed, Molly immediately begins manning the cannon herself, and continued firing until she herself was seriously wounded. She was captured as an enemy soldier and because of her wounds, she was released by the British. She was granted $30 a month, half the monthly pay of a Continental soldier, and a new set of clothes.  

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