Margaret Corbin – November 16, 1776

Experience the American dream with today’s Patriots of the Past interview. I’m your host, John Gillespie.

It’s November 16, 1776. I’m with Margaret Corbin and her husband, John, at the Battle of Fort Washington. Margaret is helping her husband load his cannon.

JG: “Margaret, look out!”

MC: “John, my husband is dead! Help me load this cannon.”

JG: “Margaret, are you okay?”

MC: “John, I’m hit.”

Margaret Corbin lost her husband that day and was badly wounded as we lost the Battle of Fort Washington. In July, 1777, Congress recognized her bravery and she became known as Captain Molly.

The Margaret Corbin historical marker near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, reads, “Margaret Corbin was born on November 12, 1751, near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. She was orphaned at age five during an Indian raid and raised by an uncle. In 1772, Margaret Cochran married John Corbin, a Virginia farmer. When the Revolutionary War began, John joined the Continental Army and Margaret went with him.

“John’s company was ordered to New York. On November 16, 1776, while they were stationed at Fort Washington in upper Manhattan, 4,000 British soldiers and Hessian mercenaries attacked the outnumbered Maryland and Virginia riflemen who were defending the position. Corbin’s artillery was ordered to hold off the attackers with what few cannons they had. Every hand was needed to man the cannon and muskets.

“John was assisting a gunner until the gunner was killed. John took charge of the cannon and Margaret assisted him. Soon afterward, John was killed. With no time to grieve, Margaret continued loading and firing the cannon by herself. Her aim and accuracy drew the attention of the ten field cannons of the Hessians and they soon trained their guns on her. She continued to fire until she was wounded by grapeshot, which almost severed her left arm, mangled her chest, and lacerated her jaw. She never recovered fully from her wounds and was unable to use her left arm for the rest of her life.

“Revolutionary War hero Margaret Corbin was the first woman to receive a U.S. military pension.”

John and Jan Gillespie are the founders of the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch; they have fostered 351 teenagers and wrote the book Our 351 Sons; they have also assisted numerous churches in developing youth programs and expanding their total church ministries. After running for U.S. Senate, John founded 1776 American Dream, which exists to demonstrate the vision of our founding fathers and help our generation of youth passionately embrace those values.

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