Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sergeant Molly Would Approve

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sergeant Molly Would Approve

Article excerpt

Kudos to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for removing the military ban on women in combat. Mary Hays (Molly Pitcher) would probably ask, "What took so long?"

On June 28, 1778, the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington attacked the rear of the British Army column as they left Monmouth Courthouse. At the battle Mary Hays spent much of the early day carrying water to soldiers and artillerymen, often under heavy fire from British troops. According to the Wikipedia account, sometime during the battle, her husband William Hays collapsed, either wounded or suffering from heat exhaustion. As her husband was carried off the battlefield, Mary Hays took his place at the cannon. For the rest of the day, in the heat of battle, Mary continued to "swab and load" the cannon using her husband's ramrod. At one point, a British musket ball or cannon ball flew between her legs and tore off the bottom of her skirt. Mary supposedly said, "Well, that could have been worse," and went back to loading the cannon. …

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