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Thread: The Missing Grave of Margaret Corbin, Revolutionary War Veteran

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    Exclamation The Missing Grave of Margaret Corbin, Revolutionary War Veteran

    The Missing Grave of Margaret Corbin, Revolutionary War Veteran - She’s the only woman veteran honored with a monument at West Point. But where was she buried?

    DAR exhumation of Margaret Corbin grave 1926.jpg

    Margaret Cochran Corbin was a woman who fought in the American Revolutionary War. On November 16, 1776, her husband, John Corbin, was one of some 600 American soldiers defending Fort Washington in northern Manhattan from 4,000 attacking Hessian troops under British command. Margaret, too nervous to let her husband go into battle alone, decided she wanted to go with him. Since she was a nurse, she was allowed to accompany her husband as a nurse for injured soldiers. John Corbin was on the crew of one of two cannons the defenders deployed; when he fell in action, Margaret Corbin took his place and continued to work the cannon until she too was seriously wounded. It is said that Corbin was standing next to her husband when he fell during battle. Immediately, she took his post, and because she had
    watched her husband, a trained artilleryman, fire the cannon so much, she was able to fire, clean and aim the cannon with great ease and speed. This impressed the other soldiers and was the beginning of her military career. She later became the first woman in U.S. history to receive a pension from Congress for military service when she could no longer work due to injury, and was enlisted into the Corps of Invalids.

    In 2016, five days after Thanksgiving, Margaret Corbin’s grave was dug up for the second time since her death in 1800. It began by accident. Contractors were working on a retaining wall near the West Point Cemetery, at the U.S. Military Academy, when a hydraulic excavator got too close and chewed through the grave.
    As soon as they noticed bones spilling from the soil, they alerted the military police. The plot was quickly cordoned off, her monument was wrapped in tarp, and rumors started to spread about Corbin’s resting place—that is, if it even was her resting place. When forensic archaeologists arrived at the scene, they were perplexed: The bones seemed oddly large.

    The monument to Margaret Corbin is West Point’s only monument to a woman veteran, and it greets visitors near the main gate, just feet from a neoclassical chapel. It faces Washington Road, where the Academy’s top brass live, and depicts Corbin in a long dress, operating a cannon as her long hair and cape fly in the wind. She wears a powder horn and holds a rammer to load cannonballs; the rest of the rather cramped cemetery sprawls out behind her. The monument portrays the moments before Corbin became a prisoner of war.

    Where is Margaret Corbin?





    Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect. -- Woody Hayes​

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