SURVEY SAYS

TRIVIAL PURSUITS: The first woman to receive a military pension

By PS | May 15, 2012

Who was the first woman in the U.S. to receive a military pension?

Margaret Corbin was the wife of John Corbin of Philadelphia, an artilleryman in the Continental army. On November 12, 1776, John Corbin was one of 2,800 American soldiers who defended Fort Washington in northern Manhattan from 9,000 attacking Hessian troops under British command.  

Margaret was a camp follower who delivered water to troops.  When John Corbin was killed, Margaret took his place at the cannon, and continued to fire it until she was seriously wounded in the arm.  

In 1779, Margaret Corbin was awarded an annual pension by the state of Pennsylvania for her heroism in battle. She was the first woman in the United States to receive a military pension.   

Her nickname was "Captain Molly."