John Blair Linn.

Pennsylvania in the war of the revolution, battalions and line. 1775-1783 (Volume 1) online

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Col. Win. Thompson's Battalion of Riflemen, 1

First Pennsylvania Battalion, Col. DeHaas, 43

Second Pennsylvania Battalion, Col. St. Clair, 67

Third Pennsylvania Battalion, Col. Shee, 101

Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion, Col. Wayne, 113

Fifth Pennsylvania Battalion, Col. Magaw, 137

Sixth Pennsylvania Battalion, Col. Irvine, 159

Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment, Col. Miles, 191

The Musketry Battalion, Col. Atlee, 235

The State Regiment of Foot, Cols. Bull and Stewart, 255

The First Pennsylvania, 303

The Second Pennsylvania, 391

The Third Pennsylvania 443

The Fourth Pennsylvania, 481

The Fifth Pennsylvania, 527

The Sixth Pennsylvania, 563

The Seventh Pennsylvania, 593

The Eighth Pennsylvania, 639

The Ninth Pennsylvania, 671

The Tenth Pennsylvania, 697

The Eleventh Pennsylvania, 741

The Twelfth Pennsylvania, 755

The Thirteenth Pennsylvania, 765

Additional Regiment, Col. Hartley's, 775

Additional Regiment, Col. Patton's, 787




The New Eleventh, 3

The German Regiment, 71

The Corps of Count Von Ottendorff, 85

Pennsj'lvanians in Col. Hazen's Regiment, 97

The Wyoming Valley Companies, 109

Pennsylvanians in Commander-in-Chief 's Guards, 119

Col. Moylan's Cavalry Regiment, 125

Armand's First Partisan Legion, 137

Pennsylvanians in Pulaski's Legion, 151

Pennsylvanians in Lee's Partisan Corps, 157

Von Heer's Light Dragoons, 163

The Pennsylvania Artillery, 171

Fourth Regiment of Artillery, 189

Capt. Coren's Independent Company of Artillery, 229

Atillery Artificers, 239

The Invalid Regiment, 259

The Orderly Books of the Pennsylvania Line, '283




JUKE 25, 1775 JULY 1, 1776.

1 VOL.X.




so styled in Gen. Washington's general orders, was en-
listed in the latter part of June, and in the beginning
of July, 1775, in pursuance of a resolution of Congress,
Mated June 14, for raising six companies of expert rifle-
men in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Vir-
ginia, which, as soon as completed, were to join the army
near Boston. By a resolution dated June 22, the " Colony of Penn-
sylvania" was directed to raise two more companies, which, with the
six, were to be formed into a battalion, and be commanded by such
officers as the Assembly or convention shall recommend. This res-
olution having been com-
municated tQthe Assem-
bly, it resolved, June 24,
*' that the members of
Congress deputed by this Assembly be a committee to consider of,
and recommend proper officers of the said battalion." The commis-
sions to the officers are dated the next day, June 25, Sunday, conse-
quently no record of their appointment appears upon the journals
of Congress. The following is a copy of one of them :


The delegates of the United Colonies of New Hampshire, Massachu-
setts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, in

" Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South
Carolina :


We, reposing especial trust and confidence in your patriotism,
valor, conduct, and fidelity, do by these presents, constitute and ap-
point you to be a captain of a company of riflemen, in the battalion
commanded by Col. William Thompson, in the army of the United
Colonies raised for the defense of American liberty, and for repel-
ling any hostile invasion thereof. You are, therefore, carefully and


diligently to discharge the duty of captain, by doing and perform-
ing all manner of things thereunto belonging. And we do strictly
charge and require all officers and soldiers under your command,
to be obedient to your orders as captain, and you are to observe
and follow such orders and directions from time to time as you
shall receive from this or a future Congress of the United Colonies,
or committee of Congress for that purpose appointed, or Com-
mander-in-chief for the time being of the army of the United
Colonies, or any other superior officer, according to the rules and
discipline of war, in pursuance of the trust reposed in you. This
commission to continue in force until revoked by this or a future

By order of Congress.

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

PHILADELPHIA, June 25, 1775.
Attest :


The form of enlistment was : " I have this day voluntarily enlisted
myself as a soldier in the American Continental Army for one year,
unless sooner discharged, and do bind myself to conform in all in-
stances to such rules and regulations as are or shall be established
for the government of the said army."

Each company was to consist of one captain, three lieutenants,
four sergeants, four corporals, a drummer or trumpeter, and sixty-
eight privates.

On the llth of July Congress was informed that two companies
had been raised in Lancaster county instead of one, and it resolved
that both companies be taken into the Continental service. This
battalion, therefore, consisted of nine companies, enlisted as follows :
Chambers' and Hendricks : in Cumberland county, Doudel's in York,
Ross' and Smith's in Lancaster, Lowdon's in Northumberland,
Cluggage's in Bedford, Nagel's in Berks, and Capt. Abraham Mil-
ler's, in Northampton.

The pay of the officers and privates was as follows : Captain,
twenty dollars per month ; a lieutenant, thirteen and one third dol-
lars ; sergeant, eight dollars ; a corporal, seven and one third ; a
drummer or trumpeter, the same ; privates, six and two thirds, to
find their own arms and clothes.

The patriotism of Pennsylvania was evinced in the haste with
which the companies of Col. Thompson's battalion were filled to over-
flowing, and the promptitude with which they took up their march
for Boston. The Philadelphia Evening Post of August 17, 1775,
publishes a New York item, " that between the 28th of July and 2d
instant, the rifle men, under the command of Captains Smith, Low-
don, Doudel, Chambers, Nagel, Miller, and Hendrieks, passed
through New Windsor, [a few miles north of West Point,] in the


New York government, on their way to Boston." A number of
gentlemen went along as independent volunteers. Their names were
not entered on the rolls, and they claimed the privilege of paying
their own expenses and returning at their pleasure. Among these
were Edward Burd, afterwards prothonotary of the Supreme Court,
Jesse Lukens, Matthew Duncan, &c. The history of the battalion
appears in the following cotemporary records :

Captain James Chambers writes from Cambridge, August 13, 1775 :

" We arrived in camp on the 7th ultimo, about twelve o'clock.
We were not here above an hour until we went to view the lines
where the English camp is all in plain sight. We crossed the lines,
and went beyond the outposts to a small hill, within musket shot of
a man-of-war and a floating battery, and not further from the works
at the foot of Bunker Hill, where we could see them very plainly.
Whilst I was standing there, some of our riflemen slipped down the
hill, about a gun-shot to the left of us, and began firing. The reg-
ulars returned it without hurting our men. We thought we saw
one of the red coats fall. Since the riflemen came here, by the latest
accounts from Boston, there have been forty-two killed and thirty-
eight prisoners taken at the light-house, twelve of the latter tories.
Amongst the killed are four captains, one of them a son of a lord,
and worth 40,000 a year, whose name I cannot recollect. The
riflemen go where they please, and keep the regulars in continual
hot water.

" They are every day firing cannon at our people, but have not yet
killed a man. We expect six wagons loaded with powder here in
two or three days ; and when they arrive, our twenty-four pounders
will begin to play on their ships and the lines on Bunker Hill. It
is difficult for our men to get within shot of them, as they have
floating batteries that flank the end of Winter Hill, and men-of-war
on the other side, though our boys think they killed several of them.
About an hour ago, I saw a small cannonading between two of the
enemy's boats and one of our batteries, to the north of Boston. We
can see all the town distinctly from our fort on Prospect Hill, and
it is a very pretty place. Two deserters came to us last night."

Thacher in his Military Journal of the Revolution, under date of
August, 1775, describes this battalion :

"They are remarkably stout and hardy men ; many of them ex.
ceeding six feet in height. They are dressed in white frocks or
rifle shirts and round hats. These men are remarkable for the ac-
curacy of their aim ; striking a mark with great certainty at two
hundred yards distance. At a review, a company of them, while
on a quick advance, fired their balls into objects of seven inches
diameter, at the distance of two hundred and fifty yards. They
are now stationed in our lines, and their shot have frequently
proved fatal to British officers and soldiers who expose themselves


to view, even at more than double the distance of common musket

This battalion became the Second regiment (and after the 1st of
January, 1776, the Fii'st regiment) " of the army of the United Colo-
nies, commanded by His Excellency General George Washington,
Esquire, general and commander-in-chief." So reads a return
dated " Head-quarters at Cambridge, August 18, 1775," by which it
appears that three field officers, nine captains, twenty-seven lieuten-
ants, the adjutant, quartermaster, surgeon and mate, twenty-nine
sergeants, thirteen drums and fifes, and seven hundred and thirteen
rank and file were present, fit for duty.

Lieut. Col. Hand writes, August 20, that he arrived with Col.
Thompson on the 17th ; that they were under Gen. Lee's immediate
command, but were to move four and a half miles into Gen. Put-
nam's department, and that Major Magaw was in command at Cape

This battalion formed the picket guard of the two thousand pro-
vincials, who, on the evening of the 26th of August took possession
of and threw up intrenchments on Ploughed 1 1 ill, and on themorn-
ingof the 27th met with its first loss, private Simpson, of Smith 'scom-
pany, who was wounded in the leg and died therefrom. " Poor Simp-
son (beau) had one of his legs shattered by a cannon ball, The di-
rector general took it off , but the poor lad was buried thisevening."
Hand's letter of 29th.

" On the evening of the 26th instant, Saturday, I was ordered to
draw fifty men out of each of the Cumberland companies, and to
be ready to march at sunset. Accordingly I did so, and marched
without beat of drum to Prospect Hill, and thence proceeded with
the riflemen stationed there, in all about four hundred, to Ploughed
Hill, and then down the hill within three or four hundred yards of
the enemy's strongest works, to cover a party of about two thousand
musket men who were at the same time to entrench on Ploughed
Hill. They labored hard all night, and at daybreak had the re-
doubt nearly completed. The English began a heavy cannonading,
which continued all day. They killed one adjutant and one sol-
dier with cannon, wounded three others with musket halls. Wil-
liam Simpson, of Paxton, was struck by a shot and his foot carried
away, &c. Your son, Benjamin, was with me in all this affair."
Capt. James Chambers to his tei/e, August 29, 1775.

James Wilkinson, (subsequently Brigadier General Wilkinson,)
who was a volunteer in Col. Thompson's battalion, makes the fol-
lowing reference to the first Pennsylvania soldier who fell in the war
of the Revolution :

" The provincials broke ground at Ploughed Hill, August
26, about one mile north-west, and in front of the British post
at Bunker Hill, on the peninsula of Charlestown. A detach-
ment of riflemen ordered to cover the working party took post


in an orchard, and under cover of stone fences in advance.
As soon as the enemy discovered the workmen, they opened a bat-
tery upon them, and kept up a brisk cannonade by which volunteer
Simpson, of Pennsylvania, had one of his heels and ankles so much
shattered that mortification ensued, and he died in a few days.
The young man was visited and consoled during his illness by Gen.
Washington in person, and by most of the officers of rank belong-
ing to the army. Every exertion of the faculty was made to save
him, and his death became a theme of common sorrow in an army
of twelve or fourteen thousand men. I witnessed the effect on my
arrival two or three weeks after." Memoirs, Vol. I, page 1G.

On the 5th of September, two companies of this battalion, (Capt.
Wm. Hendricks, Capt. Matthew Smith,) were ordered to parade upon
the common in Cambridge, and join the detachment ''to go upon
command with Colonel Arnold." For a full and interesting account
of the hardships and sufferings of these two companies, see Judge

John Joseph Henry's
narrative, (Lancaster,

These compa _

nies led the advance
under captain, afterward Col. Daniel Morgan, through the wilder-
ness,* and participated in the attack on Quebec, on the morning of
the 31st of December at Palace Gate, where, as the dispatch of the
day reads, " that excellent young officer, Capt. William Hendricks,
of Pennsylvania, fell," and the rest of the command after desperate
fighting, were forced to surrender. The survivors were paroled on
the 7th of August, 1776, and after being exchanged, for the most
part, reentered the service, following the fortunes of the Pennsyl-
vania Line with Gen. Wayne, down into Georgia, resisting the fear-
ful night attack made upon Wayne's carnp, near Sharon, Georgia,
on the 24th of May, 1782 ; entering Savannah in triumph with him
on the llth of July ; Charleston on the 14th of December, 1782, and
only returning in the month of July, 1783, when the last of the
Pennsylvania troops embarked at James Island, South Carolina,
on board of transports for Philadelphia,

* At Fort Western, (on the Kennebeck,) "concluded to dispatch an of-
ficer and seven men in advance, for the purpose of ascertaining and mark-
ing the paths which were used by the Indians towards the heads of the
river, and ascertain the course of the river Chamliere. Arnold found
it necessary to select an officer of activity and courage. The choice fell
upon Lieut. Archibald Steele, of Smith's company, who selected as his
companions, Jesse Wheeler, George Merchant, and James Clifton of
Morgan's company ; and Robert Cunningham, Thomas Boyd, John
Tidd, John McKonkey, and John Joseph Henry, of Smith's company."
Henry, page 17- Also, see Oswald's Journal, Force's Archives, 3d
vol., 1059, "Sunday, 24th of September, dispatched Lieut. Steele, Ac."


On the 23d of September, Col. Hand writes to Judge Yeates :
"Day before yesterday, Lieut. McKenzie of the Bedford com-
pany, had his hat blown off by the wind of a cannon ball, and a
splinter hit Dr. Hubley,and overturned him. Morgan, Hendricks,
and Smith, have left with their companies for Canada. Seven hun-
dred mnsqueteers from here are on the same expedition. The expe-
dition with which the York company was raised does not help on
for their misconduct; had Smith's company been better behaved,
they might probably have saved themselves a disagreeable jaunt.
The General refused peremptorily to take the York company."
A cotemporary letter, dated September 13, says :
" On Monday last (llth) Col. Arnold having chosen one thousand
effective men, consisting of two companies of riflemen, (about one
hundred and forty,) the remainder musqueteers, set off for Quebec,,
as it is given out, and which I really believe to be their destination.
I accompanied on foot as far as Lynn, nine miles. Dr. Coates, who
goes as surgeon, Mr. Matt. Duncan, Mr. Melcher, and several other
southern gentlemen as volunteers. Here I took leave of them with
a wet eye. The drums beat, and away they go as far as Newbury-
port by land, from there they go in sloops to Kennebeck river, up
it in batteaux, and have a carrying place of about fifty miles, over
which they must carry on their shoulders their batteaux and bag-
gage, scale the walls, and sj>end the winter in joy and festivity
among the sweet Nuns." Jesse Lukens.*
In general orders, dated Cambridge, September 11 ,1775, occurs:
"Col. Thompson's battalion of riflemen posted upon Prospect Hill,
to take their share of all duty, of guard and fatigue, with the brig-
ade they encamp with." Also, September 13: "The thirty-three
riflemen of Col. Thompson's battalion tried yesterday, by a general
court-martial, whereof Col. Nixon was president, for 'disobedient
and mutinous behavior,' are each of them sentenced to pay the sum
of twenty shillings, except John Leamon, who, over and above his
fine, is to suffer six days imprisonment. The pay-master of the
regiment to stop the fine from each man out of next month's pay,
which must be paid to Dr. Church, for the use of the general hos-
pital.' "

The cotemporary letter above referred to supplements these or-
ders, thus :

" Our camp is separate from all others about one hundred
yards. All our courts-martial and duty was separate. We were
excused from all working parties, camp guards, camp duty. This

* Jesse Lukens was a son of Surveyor General John Lukens. He re-
turned from Boston in the winter of 1775, just in time to join Plunket's
expedition against the Connecticut settlers at Wyoming, 25th Decem-
ber, in which he was mortally wounded, and died a few days after. A
sad comment on his sportive letter.


indulgence, together with the remissness of discipline and care
in our young officers, has rendered the men rather insolent for
good soldiers. They had twice before broken open our guard-house
and released their companions who were confined there for small
crimes, and once when an offender was brought to the post to be
whipped, it was with the utmost difficulty they were kept from res-
cuing him in the presence of all their officers. They openly damned
them, and behaved with great insolence. However the colonel was
pleased to pardon the man, and all remained quiet ; but on Sunday
last the adjutant having confined a sergeant for neglect of duty and
murmuring, the men began again, and threatened to take him out.
The adjutant being a man of spirit, seized the principal mutineer
and put him in also, and coming to report the matter to the colonel
where we were all sitting after dinner, were alarmed with a huz-
zaing, and, upon going out, found they had broken open the guard-
house and taken the man out. The colonel and lieutenant-colonel,
with several officers and friends, seized the fellow from amongst
them, and ordered a guard to take him to Cambridge to the main
guard, which was done without any violent opposition, but in about
twenty minutes thirty-two of Capt. Ross' company, with their
loaded rilles, swore by God they would go to the main guard and
release the man or lose their lives, and set off as hard as they could
run. It was in vain to attempt stopping them. We stayed in camp
and kept the others quiet. Sent word to Gen. Washington, who
reinforced the guard to five hundred men with fixed bayonets and
loaded pieces. Col. Hitchcock's regiment, (being the one next to
us,) was ordered under arms, and some part of Gen. Greene's brig-
ade, (as the generals were determined to subdue by force the mu-
tineers, and did not know how far it might spread in our battalion.)
Genls. Washington, Lee| and Greene came immediately, and our
thirty-two mutineers who had gone about a half a mile towards
Cambridge and taken possession of a hill and woods, beginning to
be frighted at their proceedings, were not so hardened, but upon the
General's ordering them to ground their arms they did it immedi-
ately. The General then ordered another of our companies, Capt.
Nagel's, to surround them with their loaded guns, which was im-
mediately done, and did the company great honor. However, to
convince our people (as I suppose, mind,) that it did not altogether
depend upon themselves, he ordered part of Col. Hitchcock's and
Col. Little's regiments to surround them with their bayonets fixed,
and ordered two of the ringleaders to be bound. I was glad to find
our men all true and ready to do their duty except these thirty-two
rascals. Twenty-six were conveyed to the quarter-guard on Pros-
pect Hill, and six of the principals to the main guard. You cannot
conceive what disgrace we are all in, and how much the General is
chagrined that only one regiment should come from the South, and


that set so infamous an example, and in order that idleness shall not
be a further bane to us, the General's orders on Monday, were ' that
Col. Thompson's regiment shall be upon all parties of fatigue,
(working parties,) and do all other camp duty with any other regi-

" The men have since been tried by a general court-martial and
convicted of mutiny, and were only fined twenty shillings each for
the use of the hospital too small a punishment for so base a crime.
Mitigated, no doubt, on account of their having comedo far to serve
the cause and its being the first crime. The jnen are returned to
their camp and seem exceedingly sorry for their misbehavior and
promise amendment. I charge our whole disgrace upon the remiss-
ness of our officers, and the men being employed will yet, no doubt,
do honor to their Provinces. For this much I can only say for them
that upon every alarm it was impossible for men to behave with
more readiness or attend better to their duty ; it is only in the camp
that we cut a poor figure."

In a general return of the army, dated September 23, 1775, the ef-
fective force present were three field officers, seven captains, twenty
lieutenants, chaplain, adjutant, quarter-master, surgeon and mate,
twenty -seven sergeants, six drummers and fifes, and four hundred
and eighty-five rank and file fit for duty, forty-nine sick, one on
command, and none on furlough. On 17th of October, same number
of officers present, and four hundred and seventy-one rank and file
fit for duty, one on furlough.

October 3. Hand writes to his wife:

"Capt. Ross goes for Lancaster to-morrow. Henry Fortney is
well; his behavior does him credit. Mr. Henry, junior, has fol-
lowed the troops to Canada with out leave. Nothing but a perfect
loose to his feelings will tame his rambling desire."

October 23. Hand writes to Yeates from Prospect Hill :

" One of our armed boats fell down to the mouth of Cambridge
river, and sent a few shots into Boston. One of her guns bursted-
Your old friend Worthington was on board, and had his shins
broken. Gen. Washington is irritated by Capt. Ross' absence with-
out his knowledge, and declared to Col. Thompson that any officer
who went home from his regiment must resign his commission.
Heard last night that Falmouth was in ashes. An officer, Burr,
from Northumberland, with thirty men from us, marched for Ports-
mouth. 24th, they marched at dawn this morning."

On the 9th of November occurred the skirmish at Lechmere's
Point ; for their alacrity in which, Col. Thompson and his battalion

Online LibraryJohn Blair LinnPennsylvania in the war of the revolution, battalions and line. 1775-1783 (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 48)