Born on November 12, 1751, Margaret Cochran was orphaned at five when her father was killed in 1756 in an Indian raid and her mother taken captive never to return.

In 1772, Margaret married John Corbin, who later joined the Continental Army. Margaret followed her husband to war as a camp follower, tending to soldiers’ needs, doing laundry, cooking meals, and nursing the sick and wounded. When John was transferred to Fort Washington on Manhattan Island, she followed.

On November 16, 1776, John was tragically killed in battle while loading a cannon. Margaret courageously took her husband’s place, loading and firing the cannon at the advancing British forces. During the battle, she was struck by three musket balls and grape shot. These injuries left her without the use of her left arm for the rest of her life. Despite the British victory, Margaret’s bravery was undeniable.

Margaret Cochran Corbin Scene 4 Poster B

After the war, she joined the invalid unit at West Point until her discharge in 1783. Due to her injuries, Margaret had trouble caring for herself and often clashed with others, not getting along with many people. On July 6, 1779, Margaret was awarded a pension for her service,  receiving half of what men were granted. This marked the first time a woman was recognized for her military service in the United States. Margaret passed away in 1800 at the age of 49, leaving behind a legacy of courage and determination in the face of adversity.

Boomer, Lee. “Life Story: Margaret Corbin.” Women & the American Story,, 8 July 2022

Michals, Debra. “Biography: Margaret Cochran Corbin.” National Women’s History Museum