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The book, “A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier” by Joseph Plumb Martin highlights some of the dangers, adventures, and sufferings encountered by the author. The book reveals a, “…daring tale of Joseph Martin and his life in the military” (Martin, 2006). Martin was born in the year 1760 in a place known as Becket, which is located in Massachusetts. His parents were Susannah Plumb and reverend Ebenezer Martin. Martin was made to live with his grandparents in Milford, Connecticut when he was seven years old. His parents were educated as martin’s father had gotten his studies from Yale. As a result, Martin was given good education that included writing and reading.
The narrative commences by talking about the authors’ childhood life. Martin’s childhood was at his grandparents’ farm. Here, he used to till the farms as well as attended to the live stock. These activities made his life very lively and also impacted positively on people around him. While growing, his interest in the war advanced with his age. This made him to be more enthusiastic in joining the war. Representatives of the military were engrossed in recruiting every individual they could come across. The age of the recruits did not matter to them as they even took boys under the age of sixteen. According to the representatives, these young boys were the easiest to train as they did not have any family roles which would destruct them. The house of Martin’s grandparents served as a home to some of the newly recruited soldiers prior to their war in Boston. Daily conversations between the soldiers made Martin to be more curious and enhanced his interest to join the soldiers (Martin, 2006). His interest was further boosted by the fact that he could earn money by being a soldier. Eventually, Martin enrolled in the army at the age of sixteen. He was a private representative in the Connecticut State troop. However, he did not intend to sign for a lengthy enlistment. By then, soldiers enlisted for service that lasted for a year. This did not impress Martin as he perceived this period to be too long for him as a first timer. He says, “I wished only to take priming before I take upon me the whole coat of paint as a soldier”. Sooner than later, the period was changed to six months. This made Martin to enroll in the Connecticut state private army.
In those days, politeness was regarded as an essential virtue to be followed by all. Bearing this in mind, Martin had to seek after his grandparents’ consent prior to joining the army. Contrary to this, he would be regarded as an outcast and turned away from the family. Discussions between him and his grandparents with regard to the recruitment did not go well as they could not consent to his wishes unless Martin’s parents accepted the same. By this time, the recruitment was taking place in his town and this presented him with a good opportunity to fulfill his wishes of becoming a soldier. On the other hand, his parents were far away. This meant that by the time he would be getting their consent, the recruitment drive would have been finished. Martin went a head to join the army without the knowledge of both his parents as well as his grandparents (Martin, 2006). Later on his grandparents discovered what he had done. As much as they were not pleased with Martin’s actions, they respected it.
Martin’s initial tour as a soldier’s responsibility landed him to New York. This is where he joined the rest of his contingent. Daily activities involved waking up to the sounds of drums a d heading to the regimental procession through the streets. Other activities included training exercises as well as manual exercises. At the end of his first tour, Martin was enlisted to the Continental Army. This happened in the year 1776 (Martin, 2006). Here, he was under General James Varnum’s command and he served together with the eighth Connecticut Regiment. During the American Revolution, the life of a common soldier was characterized with hardships. Through these predicaments, Martin marched, starved, froze and suffered all min the name of offering service. He remarkably survived and held strong for most part of the war. There was constant lack of food yet; these soldiers did not give in. The conditions could get to extreme status that the soldiers would either take guns and other essentials from the dead or would amass the entire provisions of the troops they defeat in the battle field. The soldiers had little firewood as well as warm clothes during the freezing winter period. This forced some of the soldiers to use plastic sheets to cover themselves in order to be warm. The conditions were harsh. This is substantiated by this statement, “It was quite a cool night in the month of October; the water which spattered on to our clothes froze as we passed the river. Many of the young and small soldiers fell while in the water and were completely drenched” (Martin, 2006). In addition, these soldiers faced the problem their size. The British Army was thrice their size. This made the soldiers have a sinking morale and they were constantly haunted by the intimidation of death waiting for them.
The short duration for signing as a soldier enabled Martin to get time to back home for some time. This happened during the American Revolutionary War. While he was away from the battle field, the British Army launched an attack on the town of Danbury. The consequence of this attack was the burning of the entire town to its base (Martin, 2006). In retaliation, Martin’s contingent destroyed the British post that inflicted this destruction in an attempt to settle the affair. In the course of their retaliation, they injured, captured and even killed most of the British soldiers. Nonetheless, some managed to get away by sailing out of New York. After achieving their goal, he together with his contingent returned to Newtown, their homeland. Upon their arrival, they were furnished with more equipments and arms. The regiment returned immediately to Danbury after being well armed. The scene that met them on their arrival was so sad. The entire town was in absolute ruins; people killed, houses burnt and pits of burning wreckage scattered all over the place. The survivors of the attack were mourning for their loved ones as well as their joyful and vibrant life before the attack. They were filled with agony as their lives had been completely changed. This made Martin to be overwhelmed with sorrow as he felt they had let these peopple down.
After this war, Martin got an infection of small pox. This resulted from the work he had been assigned of clearing the highland barracks. Consequently, he was relocated to the quarters of the hospital which was a farmer’s shed that was located next to the barracks. Events in this farmer’ compound are so intriguing. One afternoon, his house caught fire but fortunately, it did not extend to the barn. In the case of that the barn had caught fire, Martin would have been burnt to death and this would have brought this narration to an end. After this tragedy, Joseph with the assistance of another person, headed to the stream to seize ‘leaches’ (Martin, 2006). These were intended to cure the small pox upon applying them on the affected areas of the body. Martin was lucky as the ‘leaches’ succeeded in healing his small pox. Nonetheless, this was not the end of his battle with sickness as he experienced a dysentery attack sixteen days after the eradication of small pox. After curing this disease, he was again affected by a series of boils. This prompted him to be admitted and eventually, he recovered to full health.
His recovery boosted his career as he was promoted to serve under General Lee in the Monmouth hill’s battle. Upon arriving to their required destination, Martin together with his regiment were commanded to draw back. They quickly adhered to this calling as they retreated. General Washington appeared in due time to bring together the retreating contingents. He further directed them to seize a secure position in order to keep the rival troops in check. This would enable them to move their armaments to a strategic place for the subsequent attacks (Martin, 2006). The British Army engages in a fire fight with the New England even before the weapons are strategically positioned. After several counts of assaults, the British troop withdraws and hides from view while another of its contingent soldiers edged and got hold of an orchard. Martin’s regiment is employed to free the orchard from the invaded soldiers. They advanced towards the orchard and on realizing the presence of this regiment, the British army retracted to its main force. A brigade is set to follow the retreating British contingent in order to keep them in check and hunt them down before they become strong enough to launch an attack on the American troops. The regiment headed by Martin adheres to the command and follows the troop. They engage in a fierce fire exchange with the retracting contingent. The end result is victory for the American troops as they managed to destroy the opponent army (Martin, 2006).
This narration reveals the character of Martin as an honest person who would follow instructions. Furthermore, he is a person with patience as highlighted in the hardships he together with his regiment underwent yet they did not give up. His account of the entire episode during the wear is very vivid and exposes the entire war as it was. Generally, the narration of the author has managed to express the themes of suffering, endurance, service as well as service in a clear manner through the examples shown throughout the narration. Surely, it reflects on their legacy of their freedom.
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