Marie McGaha

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Freedom Worth Dying For

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 The Revolutionary War began in April 1775, although the events leading up to the actual war began several years earlier. In December 1780, General George Washington led volunteer armies into battle against the British. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Americans held out much longer than expected; although their losses were great, they rallied time after time and eventually defeated the British in 1783.

One of those battles, The Battle of Cowpens, 96th District of South Carolina, January 1781, under General Andrew Pickens, was a particularly bloody battle with casualties and fatalities, it was a deciding battle in the war. Later on, in May 1781, another battle would be fought, and one of those men who fought and died in that battle, Lieutenant John Files, who was promoted to Captain in Cowpens due to his leadership capabilities and the fact he was known to be fearless in battle, is but one story that comes from this country’s infancy. He is also my great-great-great-great grandfather on my mother’s side through his son, Jeremiah Files.

But the real hero of my family is my great-great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Catherine Manley-Files. Wars in early centuries of England, Scotland, Ireland, and other European countries also included women on the battlefield tending the wounded, cooking and mending for the men in a hail of bullets and cannon fire. It was like this during the Revolutionary war for my Grandmother Mary Catherine and a great many other women who went to war with their husbands, fiancés, and sons.