Molly Pitcher Monument


Revolutionary War Image
Mary Ludwig Hayes McCauley is buried at Old Cemetery, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She was the most famous “Molly Pitcher” of the American Revolution, a nickname for women who carried water to the troops during the war.

Mary was with her husband, a soldier in the American army, and gained her fame as “the” Molly Pitcher at the Battle of Monmouth in June of 1778. A contemporary witness described the scene of husband-wife team, William and Mary:

“A woman whose husband belonged to the artillery and who was then attached to a piece in the engagement, attended with her husband at the piece the whole time. While in the act of reaching a cartridge and having one of her feet as far before the other as she could stemp, a cannon shot from the enemey passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat. Looking at it with apparent unconcern, she observed that it was lucky it did not pass a little higher, for in that case it might have carried away something else, and continued her occupation.”

Mary died about 1832, and one hundred years later a marker memorializing her Revolutionary War service was placed on her presumed grave. More information on this famous Molly Pitcher may be found at http://www.usfaa.com/awards/mollypitcher/ .

The image, Molly Pitcher Monument, was originally uploaded at Flickr by oppositeofsuper. It is posted here by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

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13 Responses to Molly Pitcher Monument

  1. natalie payne says:

    i looked up pictures of “molly pitcher” they didnt give me that.I HAVE A REPORT DUE! maybe they should give me usefull information…this is not a very good web site

  2. And you, Natalie Payne, are not a very courteous nor grateful person, however you are quite a self-absorbed one.

  3. Charles Denmon says:

    Thanks for all the very nice pictures. Morrow, Georgia.

  4. if i told you i'd have to kill you says:

    this site sucks
    there are only pictures of graves and signs………
    I need GOOD pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    not headstones…. PICTURES OF MOLLY PITCHER!!!!!!!
    i’m outa here. laterz

  5. Why don’t you go looking for pictures of Molly Pitchers from the French and Indian War? Perhaps you will learn something about the role of women in America’s wars, including all the Mollies, and you won’t have to hang about our Revolutionary War site and be ‘offended’ by the gravestones and markers of dead patriots.

  6. sheila gonzalez says:

    hey this page helps me alot

  7. mickeymouse says:

    I was hoping to find some pictures of Mary Ludwig, but this sight had a lot of useful information. Besides, I’ve looked all over the internet, and have yet to find a picture of her (drawings don’t count).

  8. mickeymouse –
    Perhaps you need to learn something of the Invention of Photography to understand why you have not found a photograph of Mary Ludwig Hayes McCauley, a woman who died in 1832, and became known in history as “one” of the Molly Pitchers of the American Revolution.

  9. Katie says:

    Why doesn’t any website have the complete Molly Pitcher Poem?

  10. Ellie says:

    Nice to see there is still interest in Molly. I am a descendant of Molly Pitcher (Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley – verified by and new member of the American Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution). I am planning on doing my own mini-site on my great x5 grandmother in the near future but was wondering if there was still any interest and I can see there is.

  11. Cathleen Corbett says:

    Dear Ellie, (and other researchers,) I urge you to read thoroughly the following website of the United States Field Artillery Association: http://www.usfaa.com/awards/mollypitcher/

    After much reading, I find it the most credible and careful on-line research to be found about Mary Hays. (Only its recounting of certain of Molly Pitcher’s heroics on the battlefield cause concern, due to a failure to cite credible sources.) If it’s accurate, and you are a descendant of Mary (a.k.a. Molly Pitcher) then you need to know her name was NOT Mary LUDWIG before she became Mary Hays McCauley, wife of first husband, William Hays, and wife of second husband John, (or George?) McCauley, also reported to be a veteran. Two hundred years after the Battle of Monmouth, an historian, Samuel Steele Smith, attempting to research Wesley Miles’ account of Mary Hays McCauley, (or Molly McCauley, as she commonly was known in Carlisle before her death,) uncovered several terrible errors which continue to corrupt nearly all accounts of Molly Pitcher to this day. A contemporary of Wesley Miles, a questionable historian named William Stryker searched local marriage records looking for Miles’ Mary Hays. He found a Mary Ludwig who had married a Casper Hays. Searching the regimental records, the only Hays Stryker could find was a John Hays, an infantryman not an artilleryman as was reported in an eyewitness account of Molly’s deeds on the battlefield. Stryker decided that Casper and John must be one and the same. Samuel S. Smith dug deeper and found the service records for William Hays, an artilleryman. Later probate records listed Mary as his wife and beneficiary. Smith tried to correct public record. By then, however, the damage was done. The town of Carlisle had put up an expensive monument to Mary Ludwig Hays about sixty years earlier, and countless “historical” accounts of your great x5 grandmother start with totally erroneous and romantic stories of her beginnings as a German dairymaid, along with the wrong birth and family records supplied by Stryker. We can’t know for sure if Mary Hays McCauley was the ‘Molly Pitcher” of legend. We rely on the unsupported testimony of Wesley Miles, written 100 years after the battle, for that. But if we are to believe that Miles personally knew her, we should also believe his description of her. He called her Irish, as did everyone else who personally recalled her. We know Mary’s husband, William, was born in Ireland. There is no proof, but the repeated references to Mary — long widowed by the time of Miles’ recollection — as “Irish” suggest she may have had an accent, thus also was born in Ireland. No marriage records have been found for Mary and William. I suggest a renewed search in Ireland for anyone interested in learning her true maiden name. The research found on the U.S. Field Artillery Association website also states that the first stone erected by the people of Carlisle in response to Miles’ testimony got her birth and death dates wrong. (An obituary, supported by tax records, listed her age as 90 at the time of death, not 78.) Sadly, most current accounts, even those that have cleared up the Ludwig/ wrong ancestry mess, continue to use the discredited birthdate. I know this because my child, like so many school children, had to dig through mountains of trash to find the gems of truth. From everything we’ve read — and had to eliminate — my best stab at historical accuracy is this: Mary Hays (McCauley) likely accompanied her husband, William Hays, a matross, onto the field of battle at Monmouth Court House. It was difficult for matrosses to keep up with their job of assisting the gunner and swabbing the cannons without someone else hauling the water. Many women were seen assisting with the delivery of water over the course of the war, often drinking water for exhausted troops. (“Molly Pitchers” became something of a generic term.) Credible eyewitness accounts place two women on the Monmouth battlefield, one at the guns. Joseph Plumb Martin’s FULL account does not suggest that the woman near him took over her fallen husband’s cannon as legend has it. (And he was close enough to quote her.) That embellishment likely is the result of people hearing about Margaret Corbin who did do that in battle two years earlier. In fact, much of the lore surrounding Molly Pitcher sounds suspiciously like the true account of Corbin that, apparently, is well-documented. (In fact, a number of Revolutionary War “journals” were reprinted years later with mentions of Molly Pitcher suddenly added as an after-thought. One has to be very careful about which journals to trust.) What Martin does say, though, is testament to “Molly Pitcher’s” courage and to her plucky, sharp-tongued temperament (which coincides with Miles’ later description of Mary Hays.) Martin’s journal says the unknown woman serving near him helped her husband with his task of tending the cannon the entire day. When she barely jumped astride of a shot that would have crippled her (and, perhaps, later killed her,) she made a joke of it and carried on. That is courage enough! I pray your website, Ellie, will do everything it can to get the story straight. Your wonderful grandmother x5 certainly deserves it. Perhaps, as a direct descendant, you can have your site recognized as the Official one, with preference on Google searches? The website I referred you to says the Carlisle Historical Society published an article called “Goodbye, Molly Pitcher” in the summer of 1989 in an attempt to straighten out the Ludwig mess but the town was very resistant to admit an embarrassing correction was necessary. The article was based upon research conducted and published by others in 1976. Perhaps a member of the Historical Society, or a member from circa 1989 :) , could assist you with your research. Certainly SOMEONE needs to start getting various historical entities to research and correct their records. Every year, eight and nine-year-olds across America face the choice of regurgitating unsupported legend, or performing a level of investigative research that clearly is beyond most adults. My child nearly was driven to tears. I wish you luck. Some people would rather repeat a lie than face the burden of truth.

  12. bla bla bla says:

    bla bla bla who cares aboute pitchers I JUST NEED INFORE MATION

  13. I am closing comments on Molly Pitcher. I find the emphasis that educators are placing upon the Molly Pitcher of Monmouth to be unfortunate, considering that the roles of the many historic and verifiable women who sacrificed for the American Revolutionary cause could be much more easily researched by their students. Instead, the roles of these women are being overlooked and forgotten as students seek to find facts about a personage who has become confused with a legend.

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