Thing 1 reads an informational sign about Molly Pitcher on the battlefield.

Thing 1 reads an informational sign about Molly Pitcher on the battlefield.

Molly Pitcher (real name Mary Hays) was a colonial woman who helped the Continental Army during the Battle of Monmouth by carrying jugs of water from a nearby spring to the men and canons serving under General George Washington. Molly’s work was one of the reasons Washington’s forces won that battle…in the brutal heat of that June day, both men and canons required lots of cool water, and as the local wells were drained and the creeks rendered too muddy, the spring on the Perrine Farm was the last remaining source of fresh water.

Thing 2 is doing a biography report on Molly Pitcher at school, and so this weekend we decided to take her out to walk in Molly’s footsteps. I am thrilled that my daughter choose this woman to study for her report. Molly is a heroine who contributed to our country’s history, and I think she serves as a great example of feminine courage and valor. She also lived in our county, so visiting the site of the battle she fought in is an easy trip.

The Monmouth Battlefield State Park is a 15 minute drive from home and a frequent field trip destination for local schools. The park has many miles of trails, playgrounds, a museum with archeological finds from the battleground, and picnic areas. Sunday morning we packed up a picnic lunch and headed out to explore the battlefield and learn about our local history.

Thing 1 learned quite a bit during the hike. She saw how the battleground included the farms of several local families. The Sutfin family’s farm had the great misfortune of being between the two lines of artillery, which cannot have been fun. We walked the path from the artillery line to the spring and back again, to see what a trek Molly was making with full buckets of water. Back in the museum, a local historian guided a group of kids through the process of loading and firing a canon, so we were able to see not only how much work it was, but also what Molly’s water was used for (sponging sparks out of the barrel between rounds).

Thing 2, on the other hand, was simply jazzed at the very idea of visiting a battleground. He packed up a pair of toy light sabers and challenged his father (and later his sister) to battle:

The force is strong with these two.

The force is strong with these two.

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