Sunday, March 7, 2010

Molly Pitcher--Revolutionary Woman!

March marks the celebration of women's history month.Understanding our history is an important aspect of the 912 Project. Part of the mission of the Central Illinois 912 Project is as follows:

It is our belief that as Americans educate themselves by studying and learning the truth about this nation’s past, the Founding Fathers’ Principles and Values, and the Constitution – and then relate what they have learned to America’s current state of affairs – they will recognize and practice the duties and responsibilities of citizenship in a free nation.

One of the earliest prominent woman in American history is Molly Pitcher. Historians have debated whether or not such a woman ever existed or if she was merely a woman of myths--a persona attributed to all women who fought or assisted in the War of Independence in some way. Some historians, however, believe that Molly Pitcher is really Mary Ludwig Hays, wife of John Hays. She enlisted in the Pennsylvania artillery in 1778, 2 years after her husband enlisted . During the heat soaked Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1787, Mary tirelessly provided water to the fighting soldiers, earning her the nickname Molly Pitcher. When her husband could no longer fight due to heat stroke, Mary (Molly) took his place at the cannon. This battle proved to be a strategical victory for the Continental army as it showed that the informal trained Continental army could hold their ground against the British army and was the last major battle in the northern theater. Two places at this battle site have since been deemed "Molly Pitcher Spring". She would later receive recognition from General George Washington.

However, there are other women who may be considered to be Molly Pitcher, namely Margaret Corbin and Deborah Sampson. Corbin also fought for the Pennsylvania artillery, taking her husband's place after he was killed and was even captured by the British at one point. She is the only Revolutionary War soldier buried at the Military Academy at West Point. Sampson fought with the Fourth Massachusetts regiment, disguising herself as a man in order to enlist.Corbin and Sampson were the only women of the Revolutionary War who later would receive military pensions.

While we are forever indebted to our Founding Fathers for establishing our nation's founding documents and our revolutionary men for fighting against tyranny so that we may have liberty, honor is also due to women who fought to provide our freedoms and establish our nation.

For more information about Molly Pitcher, see here.

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