Thomas Martin is Benjamin Martin's second oldest son. He is about four years younger than his brother Gabriel and is unable to join his older brother in enlisting to fight in 1776. He is unhappy at having to remain on the farm and not join in the adventure. After reading Gabriel's latest letter prompts him to try his father's old uniform from the French and Indian War, Thomas gets his father to promise to allow him to join the war when he turns seventeen.
The war moves south and comes to the Martin farm when Thomas is sixteen. Gabriel had been wounded carrying dispatches and Colonel William Tavington orders Gabriel arrested. Thomas is unable to show restraint, but his father does what he can to keep Colonel Tavington from harming his family. However, Thomas cannot stand by while Gabriel taken away to be hanged as a spy. He attacks the British soldiers escorting Gabriel and tries to free him, but Tavington shoots him.
Thomas' death, combined with Gabriel's arrest, awakens Benjamin Martin's passionate rage that he had kept hidden since the French and Indian War. He rescues Gabriel and they return to the farm. Later in the film as he is dying, Gabriel apologizes for Thomas' death. He had felt responsible for his brother's death and that was part of his motivation for returning to the war against the British. Benjamin himself keeps one last bullet melted down from Thomas' toy soldiers and saves it for Colonel Tavington. Thomas' death pushes the Martin family deep into the war.
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