For Immediate Release
DAR and U.S. Army Honor Revolutionary War Heroine
May 1 Ceremony at West Point Will Celebrate Legacy of Margaret Corbin
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Revolutionary War heroine, Margaret “Captain Molly” Corbin, who was the first woman awarded a pension by the U.S. government for her military service, will be honored at a special ceremony at the West Point Cemetery on May 1 at 11 am. The ceremony will include a celebration of her legacy and a rededication of the Margaret Corbin Monument in honor of her valor. The rededication comes following a recent forensic study by the U.S. Army that determined the remains previously believed to be Corbin’s were biologically consistent with a tall, middle-aged man alive between the colonial period and 19th century. Therefore, the remains are not of Corbin, but rather an unknown male.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), who spearheaded the 1926 efforts to have Corbin honored on the grounds of West Point will host the rededication ceremony in collaboration with the United States Military Academy (USMA) and Army National Military Cemeteries (ANMC). The ceremony will celebrate the history of Corbin, who was one of the first women to serve in battle in defense of our nation as she took over her husband’s cannon when he was mortally wounded during the Battle of Fort Washington in what is now Fort Tyron Park in Manhattan. She was severely wounded during the battle and taken prisoner before being paroled and eventually assigned to the West Point Corps of Invalids.
Corbin died around the year 1800 and was almost lost to history until 125 years later when a research team led by the DAR sought to confirm her historical significance, locate her unmarked grave, and reinter her at West Point with full military honors and a monument commemorating her contributions to the nation.
After an unexpected disturbance at the gravesite during a West Point Cemetery crypt installation project in the fall of 2016, a thorough forensic study was conducted by the U.S. Army and concluded that the remains were of an unidentified man. Significant advances in technology and the field of forensic anthropology have occurred since the time of the original exhumation in 1926. This likely explains how the remains were misidentified by surgeons who did not have experience in the then-yet-to-be established science of identifying skeletal remains.
There is some historical indication that Corbin’s remains may still be located in a different unmarked grave in Highland Falls, N.Y., but further research is needed in order to confirm. DAR is assembling a task force to research and explore ways to continue to search for Corbin’s remains. In the meantime, hundreds will gather on May 1 to join with the DAR, USMA, and ANMC to celebrate Corbin’s lasting legacy and inspiration she provides, particularly to women in the military.
Speakers at the rededication ceremony will include retired Col. Diane Ryan, former academy professor, acting deputy head and director, Eisenhower Leader Development Program in the Department of Behavioral Science and Leadership, U.S. Military Academy; the Executive Director of Army National Military Cemeteries, Karen Durham-Aguilera; and the President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ann Turner Dillon.
To learn more about the history of Margaret Corbin and the ongoing efforts to uncover additional information about her as well as search for her remains, visit www.dar.org/MargaretCorbin.
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Editor’s Note: Media interested in attending must contact the USMA Public Affairs Office by noon April 30 at 845-938-2006 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject matter experts available for interviews. Bios available upon request. High resolution images available upon request.
The Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to preserve the memory and spirit of those who contributed to winning American independence. Through the organization’s objectives of historic preservation, education and patriotism, the DAR strives to bring awareness to the honorable sacrifices and enduring legacy of all patriots who fought for America’s freedom. Any woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for membership. DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations with nearly 185,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.dar.org.