Benjamin Martin had seven children. His wife died while giving birth to his youngest daughter, Susan. The Martin family lived in South Carolina, where he built a small home on a farm. The Martin’s were well known and liked by both Patriots and Whigs alike.
They only hired freedmen. Benjamin enjoyed making furniture; his main goal was to make the perfect chair, the three-pound rocking chair. His plantation, Fresh Water Plantation, was his retirement plan.The Patriot begins in March 1776, with a messenger from the Continental Mail Service delivering a stack of letters to Benjamin Martin.
The most urgent letter was from the Speaker of the Assembly. Everyone who was old enough knew what this meant. Benjamin’s sons thought war was glorious and were excited by the letter. Benjamin, who was a veteran of the French and Indian war, was not. He learned the hard way how gruesome war was, and didn’t want to have anything to do with it, nor his family. His oldest son Gabriel scared him the most. Gabriel wanted to join the war, and was old enough to do it.
The note was an invitation to a meeting in Charles Town where the colonies would decide whether they’d join the cause or not. Benjamin and family left for Charles Town to stay with their aunt Charlotte on their mother’s side. Benjamin and Charlotte had a spark between them, but Benjamin was not yet over his wife. At the meeting, an argument over why the colonies should all unite was in full strength. Benjamin, who was thought to be a Patriot, stood and made a point as to why he should not join the war, and offered an alternative to war.
By the end of the meeting, Martin said he would not agree to make a vote that allowed a war to go on in his backyard. Benjamin’s children were ashamed by their father’s words. The levy was passed, however, and Benjamin later caught up with Gabriel who was in line to enlist in the war. There was nothing he could do to change his son’s mind. Colonial Harry Burwell told Martin he’d take care of his son. Gabriel was away for nearly two years. Benjamin’s second oldest son, Thomas, grew thirsty for war himself.
The war was growing closer to Fresh Water Plantation. Gunshots were within earshot. Gabriel returned home wounded and bloody. Soon the battle took place on Martin’s ground. His home was soon transformed into a hospital. Both Patriots and British were taken care of. Colonel William Tavington of the Green Dragoons came to the Plantation. He took his soldiers, and noticed all the rebels.
He also noticed that there was a rebel dispatch from General Gate’s army somewhere in the house. Gabriel was found and taken as a prisoner. He ordered the house and barns burned. Thomas tried to save his brother. He knocked one of the holders down and told Gabriel to run.
Tavington turned and shot Thomas in the back and rode on. Benjamin recruited his two other sons, and went after his oldest son. Martin had Nathan and Samuel hide in the woods. Martin also hid. He fought using Indian-like tactics.
There were about twenty soldiers. The British were not used to this kind of fighting and were frightened. Martin became known as the Ghost. His sons saw him fight and were horrified by his brutality.
The Martin’s went to their Aunt Charlotte’s house that she inherited from her late husband. Gabriel soon returned to war, and Martin decided soon after to join and follow his son. He caught up with Gabriel where they observed a battle taking place led by Gates. Gates was a terrible leader in warfare, and lost the war. Martin and Gabriel soon met up with Gates army. Gates had apparently abandoned his army, and Colonel Burwell had taken his place. Martin and Burwell had fought in the French and Indian war together before.
Martin learned that the Redcoats were trying to go north to defeat General Washington’s army, and Burwell was trying to stop it. Burwell promoted Martin as colonel and Martin soon began recruiting. He picked Gabriel, of course, to be transferred into his