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And a Woman Mans a Cannon

Jacob Lawrence American

Not on view

Margaret Cochran Corbin fought with her cannoneer husband in the Battle of Fort Washington, in what is now Upper Manhattan. Taking her husband’s place at the cannon, she fired bravely until wounded and captured. Corbin later joined the "Invalid Regiment" at West Point. She struggled as a disabled veteran, living most of her life in poverty. In 1926, she became the first woman buried with full military honors at West Point. More than fifty years later, the New York City Council named in her honor the plaza and drive to the site of the battle—still called Fort Tryon Park, for the last British colonial governor. Highlighting his interest in the role of women in American history, Lawrence presents Corbin as a commanding heroine, anchoring the left flank of the firing soldiers, as her slain husband lies at her feet.

And a Woman Mans a Cannon, Jacob Lawrence (American, Atlantic City, New Jersey 1917–2000 Seattle, Washington), Egg tempera on hardboard

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Photography by Bob Packert/PEM