Here are two of the historic events that I am remembering today, July 4, 2022.
1. This image is a landmark to Margaret Corbin, actually there are several to her—plaques, paintings, a street sign, a road. My favorite is this magnificent memorial dedicated to her
in 1909. It marks the Battle of Fort Washington, the battle in which her husband John was killed and she took his place at the cannon. Note that the plaque reads that she "shared"in the defense by the Maryland and Virginia Regiment November 16, 1776. Margaret Corbin is credited as being "the first American woman to take a soldier's part in the war for liberty." (The Hessian troops were soldiers from Germany who were hired by the British.) The memorial is located in Fort Tryon Park, New York City, on the side of a cliff along Margaret Corbin Drive that goes to The Cloisters. Look up to the left. (Except in the winter, it is partly covered by foliage.)
Today Linda and I went to Fort Lee Historic Park atop the cliff at the New Jersey end of the George Washington Bridge. It was from there that General George Washington watched the Battle of Fort Washington from across the Hudson River. There, I was delighted to see a plaque that included Margaret Corbin that reads in part: "She suffered horrific, lifelong injuries to her left arm and torso, while the death of her husband left her in dire financial
straits, essentially homeless. Congress took up her cause, and she became the first woman in the United States to receive a military pension. She moved near West Point, where she was known to her neighbors as 'Captain Molly.' Upon her heath in 1800, Margaret Corbin was buried in a paupers' cemetery. She was honored with a memorial at the Cemetery at West Point in 1920."
The image shows part of the memorial at West Point. (The Americans lost the Battle of Fort Washington and retreated from Fort Lee.)
The second event dates to the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1876.. It was an oppressively hot day in Philadelphia, when Susan B. Anthony —with a furled document, the "Declaration of Rights for Women of the United States," concealed in her handbag—and four other women took their seats at the main event with tickets they had surreptitiously obtained. Immediately after the reading of the Declaration of Independence, Susan B. Anthony dramatically rose to her feet and audaciously interrupted the proceedings walking to the platform and solemnly presenting a speechless Vice president Thomas Ferry with a copy of the Declaration that ended with the words: "We ask for justice, we ask for equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever." Demands that still resonate today.