Stoking the Cannon

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Stoking the Cannon


American Revolution Women


The story of Molly Pitcher has been oft told. Molly was the wife of a Continental soldier whose task during battle was the provide the men with water. Her husband was manning a gun when he was injured. Molly stepped in for her husband and continued stoking the artillery. The true identity of Molly Pitcher, though, is disputed. She is likely a composite of women who followed the army, including an unnamed woman who is mentioned in Joseph Plumb Martin's memoirs of his life as a Continental soldier: "A woman whose husband belonged to the artillery and who was then attached to a piece in the engagement, attended with her husband at the piece the whole time. While in the act of reaching a cartridge and having one of her feet as far before the other as she could stemp, a cannon shot from the enemey passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat. Looking at it with apparent unconcern, she observed that it was lucky it did not pass a little higher, for in that case it might have carried away something else, and continued her occupation."


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“Stoking the Cannon,” Women of the Army: Camp Followers in the American Revolution, accessed January 20, 2020,

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