Joseph Plumb Martin
Joseph Plumb Martin joined the Continental Army when he was just 15 years old, signing up for the Connecticut State Troops in June 1776. He reenlisted in 1777, remaining on active duty through the entirety of the war.
In December 1777, Martin joined more than 10,000 other soldiers at Valley Forge for a winter encampment. Much of what we know about daily life in the encampment can be credited to Martin, who in 1830 published a first-hand account of the war titled "A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier."
Writing about the Continental Army's arrival in Valley Forge, Martin said:
"Our prospect was indeed dreary. In our miserable condition, to go into the wild woods and build us habitations to stay (not to live) in, in such a weak, starved and naked condition, was appalling in the highest degree.
"But dispersion, I believe, was not thought of, at least, I did not think of it. We had engaged in the defense of our injured country and were willing, nay, we were determined to persevere as long as such hardships were not altogether intolerable."
Martin had been part of some of the most important moments of the war, including the Battle of Brooklyn, Battle of Monmouth, the Valley Forge Encampment and the siege of Yorktown. Martin lived to be 89 years old, passing away in May of 1850. The Joseph Plumb Martin Trail is named in his honor and encircles Valley Forge National Historical Park.