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 Margaret <I>Cochran</I> Corbin

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Margaret Cochran Corbin

  • Birth 12 Nov 1751 Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Death 16 Jan 1800 Highland Falls, Orange County, New York, USA
  • Burial West Point, Orange County, New York, USA
  • Plot Section 11, Row A, Grave 01
  • Memorial ID 231

Revolutionary War Veteran. Born Margaret Cochran near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania little is known about her childhood. In 1756, five year old Margaret and her older brother were visiting their uncle when an Indian raiding party attacked her parent’s homestead killing Mr Cochran. Mrs Cochran was apparently taken captive. The children were then raised by their uncle. In 1772 Margaret married a Virginia farmer, John Corbin. When Corbin enlisted in the Continental Army three years later, Margaret joined the battalion of camp followers that accompanied their soldier husbands. Camp followers were granted a daily half ration if they made themselves useful to the army and many women cooked for the men, washed their laundry and nursed the wounded. Margaret’ forceful personality won her the nickname Captain Molly from the other wives in the camp. On November 16, 1776 the British and Hessians mounted an attack on Fort Washington in northern Manhattan. John Corbin was on a canon crew that was slowly being decimated by enemy fire. When at last John was killed, Margaret continued loading and firing the cannon until she was wounded by grapeshot which tore through her shoulder, chest, and jaw. When the fort was captured by the British, she was treated and paroled with the rest of the American wounded. She never fully recovered from her wounds and was left without use of her left arm for the rest of her life. On June 26, 1776 Pennsylvania granted her $30.00 in relief due to her condition. Margaret received a lifetime disability pension of half pay on July 6, 1779 from the Continental Congress making her the first woman to obtain such a commitment from the government. Between 1782 and 1790 records indicate that Margaret needed special care, and had been placed in the care of a Mrs. Randall who lived in Buttermilk Falls (present day Highland Falls). Margaret died in 1800 just prior to her birthday and was buried in the highlands above the Hudson River. In 1926 The New York State Chapter of the DAR verified Margaret's records and recognized her heroism and service to the United States through the papers of General Henry Knox. Margaret’s overgrown grave was found and her body was exhumed. A West Point surgeon confirmed the skeleton was that of Margaret Corbin by comparison with a post mortem which showed the left side of the face, chest and upper arm and left shoulder were badly damaged. On April 14, 1926 her remains were re-interred with full military honors at the cemetery of the United States Military Academy at West Point behind the Old Cadet Chapel.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 231
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Margaret Cochran Corbin (12 Nov 1751–16 Jan 1800), Find A Grave Memorial no. 231, citing United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .