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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Margaret Corbin, First Woman to Receive a Military Pension for Service

Margaret Corbin by Keshini

Margaret Corbin was a woman who risked her life for freedom in the Revolutionary

Quite a lot is known about Margaret Corbin, then known as Margaret Cochran's very hard childhood. Born close to Chambersberg, Pennsylvania on November 12,1751 to
Robert and Sarah Cochran, Cochran experienced sadness right from her first days. In an American Indian attack in 1756, her father died and her mother was captured never to be seen
again. Cochran and her brother John were not home during the time of the attack because they were visiting an uncle who later raised both children. In 1772, she married Virginia farmer John

Corbin had an important role for women in the American Revolution. Four
years after Corbin and her husband were married, John Corbin decided to go to war. Margaret
Corbin was a camp follower and helped him and the other soldiers by cooking and doing
laundry. John Corbin was loading cannons in the Battle of Fort Washington on November
16,1776 and Margaret Corbin went with him onto the battlefield. When John Corbin and his
partner were both killed, Margaret Corbin took over their cannon and fired away until she herself
was badly injured. Later, a doctor came onto the battlefield looking for people who were still
alive and found her in critical condition. She was ferried across the river to Fort Lee and then
taken in a jolting wagon to Philadelphia. She suffered life changing injuries in the jaw, left arm,
and chest. In 1779 Corbin was the first woman to receive a military pension from Continental
Congress for her service.

After the Revolution, Corbin lived a difficult life. Corbin had trouble with everyday
activities because of her injuries and needed special help. She was a social outcast and did not
get along with the other women in her village. She also did not have enough money, even with
her pension, which was half of a man's that she received in 1779. Corbin later remarried a
wounded soldier, but he passed away a year later. The Philadelphia Society for Women wanted to
make a monument for her honoring her as the first heroine of the Battle of Fort Washington, but
when they met her they found out she was a women who drank and smoked too much and
decided to cancel the monument. She died on January 16,1800 just before her fiftieth birthday
and is buried at West Point Military Academy. Near the place of where she fought, in Fort Tryon
Park in New York City a bronze plate celebrates her life."the first American woman to take a
soldiers part in the War for Liberty."

Through personal sacrifice, Margaret Corbin proved to be just as much of a hero as any
man. She didn't care about stereotypes and fought hard in the Battle of Fort Washington. She
should be recognized more for her devotion and acts of heroism in the American Revolution.

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