The first link provides some background information on Joseph Plumb Martin and the publishing of his diary. There are then various selections about his time during the war and the hardships that common soldiers faced. Apparently, the book didn’t do well when it was first published around 1830, which would suggest little interest in war diaries at the time. So it seemed that for some reason American citizens were uninterested in the experiences of the men who allowed them to live in freedom.
The second link provides many of the same selections. However, it also states that Plumb Martin’s diary should be taken with a grain of salt, as he tended to exaggerate and embellish his tales. As historians often rely on diaries for personal perspectives that couldn’t possibly be seen in government records and statistics, the question is, how much can be taken away from these diaries and be seen as the truth? As a side note, I also find it interesting that Plumb Martin refers to Pennsylvanians as ‘Southerners.’
The third link gives a description of the Battle of Yorktown. The thing that most stuck with me after reading was my disbelief that the watchword Rochambeau could ever possibly sound like rush-on-boys, even when spoken in a rush. I feel like maybe I should’ve come away with more than that…
In the last link, Plumb Martin reflects on his discharge. The previous selections give insight into the hardships many soldiers faced while fighting: little food and clothing, harsh weather, and constant danger of being killed. Here we read of the promises made to these soldiers in repayment for all the sacrifices they made. There is a great disparity between what the soldiers were promised during and after the war (food, clothing, and money) and what they actually got.