Although we know her as Molly Pitcher, her real name was Mary Ludwig. Born in October of 1754 in New Jersey, she rose to fame because of her bravery during the Revolutionary War. As American colonists were fighting against the British at the Battle of Monmouth, she brought pitchers of water to the soldiers so they could continue on with the fight. Here are some more interesting facts about this US folk hero.
1. She Took Her Husband’s Place
Molly Pitcher was at the Battle of Monmouth partially because her husband was fighting there. He operated one of the canons. When he was injured, he collapsed during the battle. No one else was available to take his place. She decided that was something she could do, so she took her husband’s place on the battlefield.
2. Something Between the Legs
As she was fighting against the British, bullets and cannonballs were flying everywhere. As she went into a fighting stance, a cannonball went right between her legs. It tore apart her skirt, but left her completely unharmed.
3. An Essential Service
Molly Pitcher did more than help to provide water. She was part of a group of women led by Martha Washington who helped to provide soldiers with essential services. They would wash blankets and clothes, make meals, and care for those who were injured.
4. Water Wasn’t Just For Drinking
One of the issues that soldiers faced in this time of warfare was a hot cannon. If the cannon barrel was too hot, it wouldn’t fire properly. The barrel could also crack or misfire. The water carriers would deliver the water to each cannon so they could be cooled and cleaned after every shot.
5. A Rare Honor
George Washington saw her service on the battlefield that day. After the war, he remembered her by officially issuing a warrant that allowed her to be a non-commissioned officer in the US military. Because of this, she often went by the nickname Sergeant Molly. She was also awarded a $40 annuity in 1822.
Molly Pitcher died in 1832 in Pennsylvania, where she had initially settled down with her first husband at the age of 78. Her courage serves as an example we can all follow.