National Geographic : 1975 Oct
Highland Falls was indeed Margaret Corbin, the Daughters of the American Revolution ar ranged to re-inter her at West Point with full military honors. And what of the other Molly? Curiously, she too was married to a gunner in Proctor's artillery. Genealogists now doubt her long accepted identification as Mary Ludwig, daughter of a German immigrant. But recent ly unearthed evidence lends support to the cherished tradition of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, that Molly Pitcher was a local character, a buxom Irish lass whose given name was Mary. This Mary met and married William Hays, a young barber. Like Margaret Corbin, Mary followed her husband to war. Thus she was with him on that blistering-hot June 28, 1778, when the Continentals fought the British and Hessians in the New Jersey fields and marshes near what is now the town of Freehold. try road rimming the state-owned Mon mouth Battlefield. I was looking for the long-disputed place where legend says Molly Pitcher got her nickname by filling her pail with water to cool the parched throats of fighting and dying men. Turning at a railroad underpass to which I had been directed, I came to a battered marker labeled "Molly Pitcher's Spring." But I still had not found the old well now be lieved to be the one used by Molly. That site, turned up after much research by historian Samuel S. Smith, lies three-quarters of a mile away, at a point where the fight raged most fiercely that hot day. The hell of war seems remote in this quiet country setting of today. Yet it was here that Washington gained a stalemate after the eccentric Gen. Charles Lee had unaccount ably ordered advancing Americans to retreat. Her bayonet flashing, Deborah Sampson charges a Yorktown redoubt in a night action she recalled with pride. Disguised as a man, the sturdy farm girl enlisted in the Continental Army late in the war. In skir mishes along New York's Hudson River, she suffered a saber cut on the head and a musket wound in the thigh, both of which she cared for herself to avoid detection. The masquerade ended in honorable discharge when a doctor discovered her secret while treating her for a fever.