||Mary (Ludwig) McCauley is a part of Pennsylvania history.|
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"Molly Pitcher" was a hero of the American Revolution, generally thought to have been Mary (Ludwig) Hayes.
Mary Ludwig was born October 13th, 1744, or October 13th, 1754 (biographies differ regarding the year), possibly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or possibly in Trenton, New Jersey. She was the daughter of Maria Margaretha and John George Ludwig, a butcher who emigrated from Germany with the Palatines.  She had an older brother, Johann Martin Ludwig.
In 1769, Mary was employed as a servant in the Carlisle home of Gen. William Irvine. 
Mary married John Casper Hayes on the 24th of July, 1769 at Michael's and Zion Church, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They settled in the town of Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.
Following the early death of John, Mary married William Hays, a barber, who was presumably a brother to her first husband. During the American Revolutionary War, William was a gunner in Proctor's 1st Pennsylvania artillery in December 1775.  During the winter of 1777, Mary joined her husband at the Continental Army's winter camp at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. She was one of a group of women, led by Martha Washington, known as "camp followers", who would wash clothes and blankets and care for sick and dying soldiers.
Continental Army records show that William was an artilleryman at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. At that time, Mary carried water to the men in action and was on the field when her husband was shot down in a charge made by the British cavalry. There being no one to take charge of his piece, "Molly Pitcher", as Mary was familiarly called by the gunners, dropped her pitcher, stepped forward and grasped the ramrod, declaring that she would take her husband's place and avenge his injury, as he was carried off the battlefield.  For the rest of the day, in the heat of battle, Mary continued to "swab and load" the cannon in her husband's place.
Following the battle, General George Washington asked about the woman whom he had seen loading a cannon on the battlefield. For her excellent service and in commemoration of her courage, the following day he issued Mary a warrant as a non-commissioned officer. Afterward, she was known as "Sergeant Molly," a nickname that she used for the rest of her life. She served nearly eight years in the army, and later was placed on the list of half-pay officers. 
Following the end of the war, Mary and her husband returned to Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. She lived at the Carlisle barracks for many years, where she washed and cooked for the soldiers and was employed as a children's nurse.  During this time, Mary gave birth to a son named Johannes (or John) Hays. In late 1786, her husband William died and some pension benefits were granted to her and her son John.
In 1793, Mary married a third time, to Sgt. George John McCauley. George was another Revolutionary War veteran and possibly a friend of William Hays. McCauley was a stone cutter for the local Carlisle prison. The marriage was reportedly not a happy one. He lived on her earnings and treated her poorly. 
On 21 February 1822, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania awarded Mary an annual pension of $40 for her military service. She was granted a pension of $80 annually for life by a special act of the Pennsylvania legislature in February 1822. 
Mary died on 22 January 1832 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at the approximate age of 78 years. She was buried with military honors  at the Old Graveyard in Carlisle, under the name "Molly McCauley".  A monument representing her in the act of loading a cannon was erected on the field of Monmouth, and in 1876 a second was erected on her grave at Carlisle. She is also represented in George W. P. Custis' painting, "The Field of Monmouth". 
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