revolution

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Joseph Plumb Martin served as a private soldier in the Continental Army for eight years. Born in 1760 he was raised by his grandparents on their Connecticut farm from age six. He was fourteen at the time of Lexington and Concord. Inspired by the rage militaire directly following the first successful clash of arms with the British invader Martin decided to join the militia. However he could not get his grandfather's permission until July 17hi76, when he enrolled as a six-month volunteer in a Connecticut regiment of the Continental Army. He mustered out of the service in December and returned home.

Why we were made to suffer so much in so good and just a cause; and a note of admiration to all the world, that an army voluntarily engaged to serve their country, when starved, and naked, and suffering everything short of death (and thousands even that), should be able to persevere through an eight years war, and come off the conquerors at last (2)!

The book's final chapter offers an extended argument for which the main narrative serves as the evidence. He forcefully maintains that the Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818 was a long overdue payment to the veterans for services rendered. He observes that the Continental Army regulars never received adequate food, clothes, or shelter, much less their monthly pay. While Martin acknowledges the difficulty of moving supplies over winter roads, he blames the army's "starving in detail" on "an ungrateful people who did not care what became of us, so they could enjoy themselves while we were keeping a cruel enemy from them" (125).

Martin's belief that the Continentals' contributions to final victory were underappreciated (both during the war and after) ties into the second part of his concluding argument: the role of the militia, which performed important service during the war: "I well know, for I have fought by their side" (183). Nevertheless, he contends that the Continental Army was the backbone of the Revolution.

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