Joseph Plumb Martin (November 26, 1760 – May 2, 1850) provided historians with one of the best first-hand accounts of the American Revolutionary War. His writings provided a detailed account of the 8th Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Army. The 8th Connecticut participated in the battles of Brooklyn, White Plains, Fort Mifflin, Monmouth, and was encamped at Valley Forge. He also witnessed the execution of the British commander John Andre who aided Benedict Arnold treachery. His writing end at the Siege of Yorktown.
Joseph Plumb Martin was born in Becket, Massachusetts to an affluent pastor who was well-educated. At the age of seven his parents sent him to live with his grandparents in Connecticut. Here he would receive one of the better educations that was available in the original thirteen colonies. At the age of 15 years old he felt compelled to join the Continental Army and would join the 8th Connecticut Regiment in June of 1776.
Martin served throughout the entire war for independence and lived until the age of 89. He died and was buried in Prospect, Maine.
Joseph Plumb Martin provides one of the best narratives of the American Revolutionary War. His writings speak of events that are well-known throughout American history, but gives information that would not otherwise be known. He gives a dark portrayal of the winter encampment of Valley Forge and speaks of the men’s hunger and the extreme actions they took to satisfy it. His account is different in that the usual heroes of the American Revolutionary War are not mentioned.
Martin’s account of the war is extremely accurate. His accounts of the battles of Brooklyn and White Plains give an accurate portrayal of the British movements and a nice overview of American morale. His writings were most likely written in a diary throughout the war and then re-written and dramatized later in life.