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In a time of overwhelming odds, our revolutionary nation needed an extraordinary hero. Peter Francisco, who joined the 10th Virginia regiment at age 16 in 1776, was just that. Legend says that he was 6'6" tall and weighed 260 pounds—a behemoth, for his time—and he possessed equal strength of character. The Virginia Giant, as he was later called by storytellers, is credited with amazing feats of bravery. According to apparently credible historic accounts, he leveled 11 British soldiers in one battle, escaped from nine soldiers after being captured in another, rescued his commanding officer and single-handedly carried a cannon on his back, away from the advancing enemy. If possible, the legend of Peter Francisco has grown larger than the man.
(Originally published in the October 2008 issue.)