A wide-eyed teenager during most of the Revolutionary War, Joseph Plumb Martin left his grandfather's farm in Connecticut in 1775 and spent much of the next eight years with the Continental Army, crisscrossing the mid-Atlantic states and returning north after the British surrender at Yorktown. His notes, penned when he was seventy, recount in grim detail his harrowing experiences during the conflict—the staggering losses in human life, the agony of long marches, constant gnawing hunger, bitter cold, and the fear of battle, as well as a warts-and-all view of military leaders. Balancing these brutal wartime experiences are lively accounts of hunting, fishing, and other diversions--including an occasional encounter with a "saucy miss."
The fullest existing description of the Revolutionary War by an enlisted man, and a rediscovered gem of American history, Martin's recollections brim with telling anecdotes that reveal a great deal about American life during this era. An invaluable memoir from an ordinary man in extraordinary times, the narrative is "one of the best firsthand accounts of war as seen by a private soldier."—St. Louis (Mo.) Post-Dispatch