Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan

Margaret Cochran Corbin (1751-1800) was the first American woman to receive a military pension for her service during the Revolutionary War. When her husband, John Corbin, enlisted in the army to fight for the colonists, Margaret decided to go with him as a “camp follower” to cook, do laundry and nurse the wounded. On November 16, 1776, Corbin assisted her husband in operating a cannon during a Hessian attack on Fort Washington (today’s Fort Tryon). When John was fatally wounded, Margaret heroically took over his post and continued to fire at the enemy. Before the four-hour battle was through, she was severely wounded and nearly lost her left arm. In 1779, the Continental Congress awarded her a lifelong pension equivalent to half that of a male veteran. She died at age 49 and was buried in Highland Falls, NY, but in 1926, the Daughters of the American Revolution had her remains moved to the post cemetery at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, where she is the only Revolutionary War soldier buried on the academy grounds. Today, a plaque in Fort Tryon Park honors her bravery and both the park drive and circle are named for her.

Photo courtesy of The New York Public Library.