By Sabina Mollot
On Friday, Manhattan Congress members announced legislation to rename the Manhattan VA Medical Center after Margaret Corbin, a Revolutionary War hero.
Corbin fought alongside the Revolutionary Army and was the first woman to be recognized for her military service by the United States. With this bill, the facility would be renamed to the “Margaret Cochran Corbin Campus of the New York Harbor Health Care System.”
When asked about the bill, a spokesperson for the Manhattan VA, located at East 23rd Street between First Avenue and Asser Levy Place, said it would be premature to comment.
But the bill’s sponsors, including Carolyn Maloney, believe the renaming is appropriate for the facility.
“The first woman recognized for her actions fighting for our country and the first to receive a veteran’s pension, Margaret embodies the heroism of American soldiers who are wounded in battle, as well as their struggles, often lifelong, resulting from their injuries and their time on the battlefield,” Maloney said. It is more than fitting to give Margaret Corbin the honor of being the first woman to have a VA hospital named for her.”
Corbin was born in Pennsylvania on November 12, 1751. She accompanied her husband when he joined the Revolutionary Army and supported the Army’s efforts by caring for injured and sick soldiers, cooking, cleaning and helping her husband load his cannon. On November 16, 1776, Corbin took her husband’s place at the battle of Fort Washington in Manhattan after he was fatally wounded, where she was then shot by enemy fire and severely wounded.
In recognition of her service and injuries, Corbin was awarded a lifelong pension, making her the first woman to receive a pension from the United States through military service.
Corbin died in 1789 in Highland Falls, New York, and she is honored nearby at West Point as a hero of the Revolutionary War.