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Molly Pitcher

Not many women are mentioned during the Revolutionary war but Molly Pitcher broke this trend by becoming a war heroine, a loyal wife, and a hard worker.

Molly Pitcher was born in Trenton, New Jersey. She was born with the name Mary Ludwig. Mary helped a lot on her family’s dairy farm. In 1769 Mary became a servant to Dr. William Irvine. Later, Mary’s employer became a colonel and a brigadier general in the colonial army. Mary left her career as a maid and married a man by the name of John Casper Hays, a soldier that enlisted in the colonial army in December of 1775.

Mary Ludwig Hays was like a shadow out on the battlefield because she did not want her husband to be out of her sight for fear that he might be hurt and need her help. She often followed her husband around the battlefield. Molly did chores for the soldiers such as cooking their meals and washing their laundry. She also took care and helped the soldiers if they were hurt or injured.

There was a battle before the Battle of Monmouth in which Mary started to bring pitchers of water to soldiers because it was very hot out. At the Battle of Monmouth John fell to the ground and Mary quickly ran over to see what was wrong with her husband. After she realized that there were no blood or bullet holes she took over the cannon. Molly helped load and fire the cannon and had a very close encounter with death. While she was firing a cannonball a shot from the enemy passed between her legs, not touching or hurting her, but rather tearing off her skirt.

There were two nicknames that Molly earned out on the battlefield. The first one was Molly Pitcher; the soldiers called her this because she brought pitchers of water out to them. The second nickname they had for her was ’sergeant.’ They often called her this because she held her head high and fought for her country and freedom. Molly received compliments from President George Washington for her bravery, lack of fear, and effort.

In 1783 Molly’s husband, John, was discharged from the army and Mary went back to being a regular housewife. Molly’s husband died in 1789 and Molly remarried to a man named George McCauley. This marriage was very unhappy because he treated Molly as a servant rather than a wife.

In 1822 the legislator of Pennsylvania awarded Molly $40 every year for the rest of her life to repay her for the acts of kindness. Molly Pitcher passed away on January 22, 1832 but she will never be forgotten because of her brave acts.

To recognize Molly’s heroism and contributions to American independence they have placed statues and monuments near the battle site of Monmouth.


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