Molly Pitcher Day is held in honor of a hero of the Revolutionary War, who is actually probably a combination of several real stories as well as several legends. Several women followed the army about, especially during training, to act as water girls, bringing a cool drink to keep the soldiers healthy.
In addition, they brought water to the artillerymen to cool off the inside of the cannon barrel between shots and to soak the end of the ramrod. Tradition holds that soldiers would shout “Molly! Pitcher!” whenever they needed more water (since Molly was a very common nickname at the time).
Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley is the most likely candidate for the original Molly Pitcher. In June 1778, she was bringing water to the soldiers during the Battle of Monmouth when her husband was injured. Immediately, she took over his job swabbing and loading the cannon until the battle was over. For this, George Washington honored her as a non commissioned officer, and she became known as Sergeant Molly.
Legend also holds that during the battle, a cannon ball flew between her legs and tore off the bottom of her skirt. Her response? “Well, that could have been worse.”
Margaret Corbin also has a very similar story. On November 12, 1776, her husband was killed at Fort Washington, and she took over his place at the cannon until her arm got seriously wounded. She was nicknamed Captain Molly.
“Be strong,and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.”
2 Samuel 10:12