Memorial Day: Remembering Margaret Corbin, 1776

Here’s a female heroine to remember. I remember reading just a couple of sentences about her when I was in the third grade and wishing there was a book about her like the ones I checked out over and over again from the library about Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Jean Lafitte (the pirate), and even fiction books like Across Five Aprils.

Margaret (née Cochran) Corbin (November 12, 1751 – January 16, 1800) was a woman who fought in the American Revolutionary War. On November 16, 1776, she and her husband, John Corbin, both from Philadelphia, along with some 600 American soldiers, were defending Fort Washington in northern Manhattan from 4,000 attacking Hessian troops under British command. John and Margaret crewed one of two cannons the defenders possessed. When her husband fell, Margaret took his place at his cannon and continued firing until she, herself, was seriously wounded. She later became the first woman in U.S. history to receive a pension from Congress for military service.


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