During the Revolutionary War, one stand-up, stand-out woman followed her heart and became a beloved American heroine. In They Called Her Molly Pitcher, Anne Rockwell tells the stirring true tale of Molly, the wife of William Hays, a barber who joined General Washington's army. Young Molly decided to go with William. But she did more than follow her man into battle; Molly soon found ways to make herself useful. First, she carried cool water to the fighting men who were battling the British in the scorching heat. Over and over during the Battle of Monmouth, without any thought for her own safety, she responded to the urgent cry of Molly Pitcher! When her husband was shot, Molly tended his wounds and traded her pitcher for a ramrod, taking over his job of firing the cannon. Molly was so intent on her duty that even when a musket ball headed straight for her, she stayed her ground and quickly spread her legs wide as the ball passed between them. It never touched her, but her skirt and petticoat were ripped and a good deal shorter. Molly kept on firing.
Illustrator Cynthia von Buhler depicts the battle and enhances the story using a folk-art style to capture the colonial period. At the end, in a profile portrait, Molly has a knowing look of purpose and pride, having earned the title of sergeant in the Continental Army, awarded to her personally by General Washington.