There are a lot of women in American history who have courageously stepped up and done amazing things for our country, even when they were discouraged from doing so.
Margaret Cochran Corbin was one of those women, as she played an important role in the American Revolution and did what she had to do to get the job done.
Margaret was born in Pennsylvania in 1751. She had a rough childhood, as she became an orphan when she was only five years old after her father was killed and her mother abducted during a Native American raid.
Margaret was raised by her uncle and married Virginian farmer John Corbin when she was 21 years old in 1772. Three years after they got married, John joined the Pennsylvania military to fight in the Revolutionary War. As a woman, Margaret had the option of staying home and waiting for her husband to return or joining him. She decided on the latter.
Margaret joined John, and they headed off to war. She became a camp follower, a person attached to a military camp who helps by doing laundry, cooking, and caring for wounded soldiers.
Then, on November 16th, 1776, she became a soldier herself. Margaret decided to disguise herself as a man so she could join John to fight the Battle of Fort Washington. While helping John load his cannon, he was killed, so she bravely took over and used the cannon to fight against the British.
She didn’t make it out of the battle unscathed, as she was hit and was left with an extremely injured left arm and suffered other injuries to her chest and jaw. Although she’d never be able to use her left arm again, she made it out of the deadly battle and recovered in a hospital for soldiers.
In the years following the war, Margaret struggled to stay afloat, as she lost all of her support when she lost her husband. She eventually found herself at the Invalid Regiment at West Point, where she cared for wounded soldiers until 1783.
Margaret finally got some relief and made history on July 6th, 1779, when she was awarded a lifelong pension from the Continental Congress for her brave military service. This made her the first woman in American history to receive a military pension.