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In June 1776, 15-year-old Joseph Plumb Martin left his home in Connecticut and joined the Continental Army. He served in the army until the end of the war. As an elderly man, Martin wrote a detailed memoir about his experiences at places such as West Point, Constitution Island, Yorktown, Monmouth, and Valley Forge. Titled A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, Martin’s memoir is one of the best resources to learn about common soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Rather than battle stories, Martin shared the experiences of enlisted soldiers, portraying them, not officers, as the heroes of the Revolution. Martin suggested that in honor of their service, pensions be given to surviving veterans, many of whom were poor and unable to work by 1830. In 1835, the Federal government began offering pensions to enlisted soldiers or their surviving families.

Artifact Details

  • Book
    Written by Joseph Plumb Martin
    Hallowell, Maine
    Ink on Paper
    Museum of the American Revolution, 2018.16.01

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Image 101320 Joseph Plumb Martin Jpm Performance 1088bsa07688

"Meet Joseph Plumb Martin" Performance

Watch the original first-person theatrical performance portraying Continental Army soldier Joseph Plumb Martin. This was the Museum's first original theatrical piece and debuted in 2018.
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Image 100220 16x9 Transparent Rtr Memoir Of A Revolutionary Soldier

Memoir of a Revolutionary Soldier

Read an excerpt from Joseph Plumb Martins memoir describing leaving the safety of home for his first deployment for the American Revolution in 1776.
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Image 092320 16x9 William Trego March Valley Forge Painting Collection

March to Valley Forge

This iconic depiction of the march to Valley Forge by William B. T. Trego was painted in Philadelphia and exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1883.
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