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A Narrative of A Revolutionary Soldier - Joseph Plum Martin The Patriot
Joseph Plum Martin was an America patriot for several different reasons; however, only four will be covered here. The first reason lies in his going against his own will to enlist in the Revolutionary War and continuing to enlist until its end. Second, Joseph Plum Martin endured hardship after hardship for his country expecting little to nothing in return for those services. Third, In the face of personal danger and peril he continued to perform his duties in the army to perfection. The last reason for why he was a patriot was the fact that he was diligent in fighting for the independence and liberty of this country, and in helping keep others on that same path.
In the time leading up to the war it was clear that Martin was very opposed to it, but he enlisted anyway. His motto was, “I am well so I’ll keep,” and stated that he was determined to have no hand in the war (7). With this in mind his decision to enlist was in strict defiance to his own will. He enlisted and was as anxious as ever to be called a defender of his country despite these feelings. He enlisted several more times throughout the duration of the war to protect American freedoms and rights. There is little more patriotic than one’s fight for Independence!
Martin proclaimed in regards to his time in the army that, “We had engaged in the defense of our injured country and were willing nay we were determined to preserve as long as such hardships were not altogether intolerable” (89). Several times he fell sick with cases of smallpox, boils, dysentery, and other diseases (57, 58, & 101). He suffered starvation the majority of his time in the service, often with little or nothing to eat for several days. Coupled with starvation was the constant lack of sleep, clothing, and the intense weather he must endure (248, 89, & 42). Martin’s drive to continue was definitely not the possessions he would gain from fighting in the war. In recalling the sum of money he was to receive after enlisting for the second time he said, “It was just enough to keep the blood circulating for the short time at home after one had enlisted” (54). He undeniably faced poverty, disease and death for the country, to gain and maintain its independence and liberty, and this knowing that little notice would be taken of him (251, 83). The willingness to give ones life for his country should receive great praise but to him none was awarded.
Martin always did his duty as well as he was able in whatever circumstance he found himself (21). He was present during the British’s siege of Fort Mifflin and during the capture of Cornwallis. Of the siege at Fort Mifflin Thomas Paine said, they had nothing but their bravery and good conduct to cover them (82). He was ordered to defend his country to the last extremity and carried out his duty to perfection (79, 56). This unending courage would fire the heart of any man to continue in the cause of liberty.
He and other soldiers had to be “forced to retreat, for they were so eager to be revenged on the invaders of their country and rights” (111). Whatever Martin was commanded to do, whether it was foraging, hard duty, or light infantry he would immediately set off after receiving his orders and rise to leadership if the circumstance required (224). When there were wounded he would stop to assist them so they could continue the fight for Independence (33). He was several times called on because of his steadfastness to retrieve deserters who had forgotten why they were fighting (214). Only those who are converted to the cause could act as he acted.
His actions scream patriot. His will was evident and he suppressed it to fight as long as his country needed him. He endured a great deal knowing he would face poverty for his country. With his life in the balance he obediently carried out all orders until the end. He was a beacon of courage, longsuffering, and diligence. Undeniably the man known as Joseph Plum Martin was a PATRIOT for these reasons.