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History of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present online

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in breach of the trust and confidence reposed in
them, have betrayed and delivered to the officers of
the British Crown;

Resolved, Therefore. That any vessel or cargo, the
property of any British subject, not an inhabitant
of Bermuda, or of any of the Bahama Islands,
brought into any of the'ports or harbors of any of
these United States by the master or mariners, shall
be adjudged a lawful prize and divided among the
captors in the same proportion as if taken by any
continental vessel of war.

OCTOBER 17, 1777.

A'. '■r:cd, That the Committee of Intelligence be
nutho'.ized to take the most speedy and effectual
measures for getting a printing press erected in
Yorktown for the purpose of conveying to the pub-
li' the intelligence that Congress may from time to
time receive.

OCTOBER 31, 1777.

Tlie Secretary laid before Congress a copy of the
speech with which Mr. Hancock took leave of Con-
gres.s, which was ordered to be entered on the jour-
nals. It was then

Resoleed, "That the thanks of Congress be
presented to John Hancock, Esq., for the unre-
mitted attention and steady impartiality which
he has manifested in discharge of various duties of
his office as President since his election to the
chair on the 34th day of May, 1775."

NOVEMBER 1, 1777.

Congress proceeded to the election of a President;
and the ballots being taken, the Hon. Henry Lau-
rens was elected.

NOVEMBER 4, 1777.

Resolved, That the thanks of Congress, in their
own name and in behalf of the inhabitants of the
thirteen United States, be presented to Maj.-Gen.
Gates, Commander-in-Chief in the northern depart-
ment, and to the Majs.-Gen. Lincoln and Arnold
and the rest of the officers and troops under his
command, for their brave and successful efforts in
support of the independence of their country,
whereby an army of the enemy of 10,000 men has
been totally defeated, one large detachment of it,
that strongly posted and intrenched, having been
conquered at Bennington, another repulsed with loss
and disgrace from Fort Schuyler, and the main
army of 6,000 men, under Lieut.-Gen. Burgoyne,
after being beaten in different actions and driven
from a formidable post and strong entrenchments,
reduced to the necessity of surrendering themselves,
upon terms honorable and advantageous to these
States, on the 17th day of October last, to Maj-Gen.
Gates; and that a medal of. "gold be struck, under
the direction of the Board of War, in commemora-
tion of this great event, and in the name of these
United States presented by the President to Maj.-
Gen. Gates.

Resolved, That Gen. Washington be informed, it
is highly agreeable to Congress that Marquis ■ de
Lafayette be appointed to the command of a di-
vision in the Continental army.

DECEMBER 11, 1777.

The Board of War report: "That in their opinion
the public interest will be promoted by erecting in
the town of York temporary barracks or sheds suffi-
cient for containing 600 men, for the purpose of
accommodating such recruits, and other troops as
may be from time to time stationed or detained at
the said place, either as guards or for the pm-pose
of equipment and discipline," whereupon.

Resolved, That the Board of War be directed to
cause the said barracks or sheds to be erected, with
all possible dispatch, and in the most reasonable
manner they can devise.

JANUARY 14, 1778.

Whereas, Baron Steuben, a Lieutenant-General
in foreign service, has. in a most disinterested and
heroic manner, offered his services to these States in
the quality of a volunteer,

Resolved, That the President present the thanks
of Congress, in behalf of these United States, to
Baron Steuben, for the zeal he has shown for the
cause of America, and the disinterested tender he
has been pleased to make of his military talents,
and inform him that Congress cheerfully accepts of
his service as a volunteer in the army of these States,
and wish him to repair to Gen. Washington's quar-
ters as soon as convenient.

FEBRUARY 6, 1778.

That Mathew Clarkson and IMaj. John Clark be
appointed Auditors for the army under the command
of Gen. Washington; and that they be authorized
to appoint two clerks, and allow each of them §-50
a month and two rations a day.

M.iRCH 28, 1778.

Resolved, That Count Pulaski retain his rank of

Brigadier in the army of the United States, and

that he raise and have command of an independent

corps, to consist of sixty-eight horse and 200 foot,



the horse to be armed with lances, and the foot
equipped in the manner of light infantry: the corps
to be raised in such way and composed of such men
as Gen. Washington shall think espedient and
proper; and if it shall be thought by Gen. Wash-
ington that it will not be injurious to the service
that he have liberty to dispense, in this particular
instance, with the resolve of Congress against en-
listing deserters.

JUNE 12, 1778.

Congress being informed that Mr. P. Livingston,
one of the delegates for the State of New York,
died last night, and that the circumstances require
him to be interred this evening;

Resolced. That Congress will in a body attend the
funeral this evening, at 6 o'clock, with a crape
round the arm, and will continue in mourning for
the space of one month.

.JUNE 27, 1778.
Adjourned to Thursday nest, to meet at the
State House in Philadelphia.

York, in Pen-n-syi,yani.\, Nov. 8, 1777.
Dear Sir: — The following books are much
wanted by some gentlemen of Congress, and are
not to be procured in this place; if they are to be
found in ye Pennsylvannia Library, which, we are removed by order of your Excellency to
Lancaster, I shall be much obliged to you for ye
loan thereof, being.

With respect,

Your E.xcellency's

Very humble servant,
E. Gerry.
Vattel's Law of Nations. Grotius, Puffendorff.

His E-fcellency Thomas Wharton, Esq.,

Gen. Roberdeau made the same request by letter.
The Ijooks were received, though the General seems
to have been more interested in obtaining for him-
self lighter literature, namely, Ovid and Virgil. f


In a letter from David Jameson and Jacob
Eichelberger to President Keed, Yorktown,
July 1, 1779, it said: "This has been, till
lately, a gi-eat thoroughfare for troops, par-
ticularly militia, in inarching from the south-
ward to the main army." It was thought
proper when the Congress was here to have
a Commissary of Pitrchases, another of Issues,
a Quartermaster, Town Major and a Physician,
which oflficers have since been continued.''^
On the 3d of June, 1779, a letter from the
Council to the Board of War, observes that
Mr. John Brooks, of Yorktown, styles him-
self Town Major. The novelty of this char-
acter took the attention of the Council and
led to some inquiry. Mr. Hahn, of that
place, told them that the appointment was
made during the residence of Congress, and
on the occasion of quartering some soldiers.
The Board of W^ar replied that Mr. Brooks
was appointed Town Major by order of Con-

*V Archives, 7.54.

iT\>k\, 772.

JVII Archives, 530.

gress during their residence in Yorktown.
They intended to have discharged him on
Congress leaving that place, but on examin-
ing into the matter found it would be neces-
sary to have a careful person there to rectify
returns of provisions, &c., for passing troops.
It appeared that between 2,000 and 3,000
soldiers had passed through, and drawn rations
at that post on their way to and from the
southward, within a few months, and they
believed that saving more than equal to Mr.
Brooks' appointment had ensued from his
being stationed at the post. They had it,
however, in contemplation to discharge him,
in order to avoid the appearance of keeping
of unnecessary officers.*


THE war of the Revolution began with the
retreat of the British from Concord, and
when they sought refuge in Boston, it was
the signal for American troops to rally there
spontaneously, and Eorm that great Contin-
ental Army, under Washington, which main-
tained that ever memorable siege, and ultim-
ately achieved our independence. A letter
from John Adams, June 17, 1775, says : "I
can now inform you, that the Congress have
made choice of the modest and virtuous, the
amiable, generous and brave George Wash-
ington, Esq., to be General of the American
Army, and that he is to repair as soon as
possible to the camp before Boston. This
appointment will have a great effect in
cementing and securing the union of these
colonies. The continent is really in earnest.
They have voted ten companies of riflemen
to be sent from Pennsylvania, Maryland and
Virginia, to join the army before Boston.
These are an excellent species of light in-
fantry. They use a peculiar kind of musket,
called a rifle. It has circular bore or grooves
within the barrel, and carries a ball with
great exactness to great distances. They are
the most accurate marksmen in the world."f

Col. Thompson's Battalion of Riflemen was
enlisted in the latter part of June, and be-
ginning of July, 1775, in the pursuance of
the resolution of Congress, of June 14, for
raising six companies of expert riflemen in
Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in


Virginia, which as soon as completed, were
to join the army near Boston. By resolution,
dated June 22, Pennsylvania was 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 should recommend. The com-
missions to the officers are dated June, 25,
1775. The commissions were signed by John
Hancock, President, and the form of enlist-
ment was : " I have this day voluntarily en-
listed myself as a soldier in the American
Continental Army for one year, unless sooner
discharged, and do bind myself to conform in
all instances to such rules and regulations as
are, or shall be established for the govern-
ment of the said army. " Each company was
to consist of a captain, three lieutenants, four
sergeants, four corporals, a drummer or
trumpeter, and sixty-eight privates. The
battalion afterward was made to consist of
nine companies. One company, Capt. Doud-
el's, enlisted in York. The patriotism of
Pennsylvania was evinced in the haste with
which these companies were filled to over-
flowing, and the promptitude with which they
took up their march for Boston. The Phila-
delphia Evening Post of August 17, 1775,
publishes a New York item "that between the
28th of July, and 2d inst. the riflemen
under the command of Captains Smith,
Lowdon, Doudel, Chambers, Nagel, Miller
and Hendricks, passed through New "Windsor
(a few miles north of West Point) in the
New York government, on their way to

This battalion became the Second Regiment
(and after the first of January, 1776, the
First Regiment) "of the Army of the United
Colonies, commanded by his Excellency,
George Washington, Esq., General and Com-
mander-in-Chief. "

Foremost among the volunteers : Captain
Michael Doudel's Company left York for
Boston, July 1, 1775, arriving at Cambridge,
Mass., July" 25, at one P. M.

The following letter was addressed by the
committee of York to their representatives in
Congress :

YoRKTOWx, July 1, 1775.
Oentlemen :

We liad the honor of receiving your favor of the
loth ultimo, enclosing a resolve of the Continental
Congress of the 14th ultimo. We immecliately sum-
moned the commiitee of this count}', and laid be-
fore them your letter, etc. The committee pro-
ceeded to the choice of officers fit to be recommended
to the Congress, to command the company of rifle-
men to be raised, and appointed six companies to
provide the necessaries for them. Every resolve
passed in committee with the greatest unanimity,
and the gentlemen of Yorktowa, after the meeting

dispersed themselves througli the county, and
assisted the officers in recruiting.

The spirit of tlic people, on this occasion, gave
the committee infinite spirit. The men seemed
actuated with the greatest zeal, and thought them-
selves honored in having their names enrolled
among the sons of liberty, who are to fight for tlicir
country, and in defense of their dearest rights and
privileges. The only uneasiness they feel is, tliat
they are not this moment at the scene of action.
From the spirit of the soldiers, we entertain the
most flattering hopes that they will prove service-
able to the cause of liberty, and reflect honor on this

The principal people here have caught the spirit
of the lionorable Congress, and in their small circle
have done everything in their power to animate
their neighbors to stand forth in this day of despot-
ism, and resist the arbitrary and unjust measures of
Parliament with all the power which Heaven has
given them. And we have the pleasure to inform
you that their labors have not been in vain, and
that the county is ready to strain every nerve to put
into e.Kecution any measures which the Congress
may judge necessary to our common defence.

The officers now take the liberty to recommend
to you. Captain Michael Boudle, Lieuls. Henry
Miller, John Dill and John Watson. They arc men
whose courage we have the highest opinion of.
The company, including the officers and soldiers,
are beyond the number fixed for this county, and as
Gen. Gates thought it improper to discharge any.
we have sent all.

We request the favor of you that proper care be
taken that none are draughted out of their company
into another. This is the request of the inhabitants
of this county, many of them having their dearest
friends engaged in the service, and would not by
any means have them taken from their present

We hope no alteration will be made in the officers.
The captain has behaved very well on this occasion,
and has done all in his power, by advancing money,
etc.. to forward the important common cause. Mr.
Miller is known to some of you gentlemen. The
other ofiicers are men of worth and property : they
have all wives and families, and are entitled to the
warmest thanks of their country.

The commissioners appointed to provide missions
for the men, will forward their accounts as soon as
they possibly can.

We are, gentlemen, your most humble servants :
James Smith, George Irwin, John Kean, .Joseph
Donaldson, Thomas Hartley, Michael Hahu.

P. S.— The company began their march the near-
est road to Boston this day.*

In Frothingham's "Siege of Boston "f is
the following: "The Southern riflemen at-
tracted much attention. They had enlisted
with great promptness, and had marched
from 4 to 700 miles. In a short time
large bodies of them arrived in camp.
They were remarkably stout, hardy men
dressed in white frocks or rifle shirts, and
round hats, and were skillful marksmen. At
a review, a company of them, while on a
quick advance, fired their balls into objects
of seven inches diameter, at a distance of
250 yards. They were stationed on the lines,
and became terrible to the British. The ac-
counts of their prowess were circulated over

*X Archives, N. S., 20. Paipp. COT,


England. One of them, taken prisoner, was '
carried there, and the papers described him
minutely, as a remarkable curiosity."

A letter, Jul}' 19, says: — "The general
uniforms are made of brown Holland and
Osnaburghs, something like. a shirt, double-
caped over the shoulders in imitation of the
Indians; and on the breast, in capital letters,
is their motto. ' Liberty or Death.' "*

"On the 29th of July, the British planted
a bomb battery on Bunker Hill, advanced
their guard on Charleston Neck further into
the country and began to throw up an abatis
to protect it. cutting down large trees for
this purpose. Washington, in the evening,
ordered the York county rifle company to cut
off these outposts, and bring off a prisoner.
The company attempted this service in the
following manner: Capt. Dowdle and thirty-
nine men tiled off to the right, and crept on
their hands and knees to the rear of the
enemy's works; Lieut. Miller, with a party,
in a like manner, got behind the sentries on
the left. But just as the two divisions were
about to join, a party of the British came
down from Bunker Hill to relieve the guard,
and discovered the riflemen. Both sides
fired. The riflemen killed five and took two
prisoners and retreated, having one man cap-
tured. Gren. Howe, in general orders the
following day, stated that had his directions
relative to the relief been complied with ' the
soldiers could not have failed to destroy a
number of the rebels last night, f ''

Moore's Diary of the Revolution contains
the following: •' July "^Sth, 1775 — Capt.
Dowdle, with his company of riflemen, from
Yorktown, Pennsylvania, arrived at Cam-
bridge about one o'clock today, and since has
made proposals to Gen. Washington to at-
tack the transport stationed at Charles Biver.
He will engage to take her with tliirty men.
The General thinks it best to decline it at
present; but at the same time commends the
spirit of Capt. Dowdle and his brave men,
who, though they just came a very long march,
offers to execute the plan immediately.^"

" July 30, 1775 — Last Friday the regulars

«In ■'EeminiseeDces of New York in the Olden Time," by
J. Biirnitz Bacon is tlie following :

•'Presently, more drums — from the direction of I'ey street,
this time. It must be the General : No : it was only a rifle
company from Pennsylvania on their way to Boston. Capt.
Doudels company from Yorktown, with Lieut. Heury Miller in
command — the first company from west of the Hudson — belong-
ing to Col Thompson's regiment, afterward Hand's, and bear-
ing the first commission issued by Congress after Washington's.
Y'orktown offered so many men, that the young Lieutenant-
he was only twenty-four — chalked a very small nose on a barn-
door. ' I'll take only the men that can hit that nose at one
hundred and fifty yards !' said he. ' Take care of your nose,
Gen. Gagel' said the newspapers at the time. Both Y'ork-
town and Lieut. Miller afterward became noted in Revo-
lutionary history. A hundred rifles filled his ranks as they,
too, marched on to Kingsbridge."

JP. 119.


cut several trees and were busy all night in
throwing up a line and abatis in front of it.
In the evening, orders were given to the York
County riflemen to march down to our ad-
vanced post in Charleston Xeck to endeavor
to surround the advanced guard and bring
off' some prisoners, from whom we expected
to learn their design in throwing up their
abatis in the Xeck. The rifle company
divided and executed their plan in the fol-
lowing manner: Capt. Dowdle with thirty-
nine men, filed off to the right of Bunker's
Hill, and creeping on their hands and knees,
got into the rear without being discovered.
The other division of forty men, under Lieut.
Miller, were equally successful in getting
behind the sentinels on the left and were
within a few yards of joining the division on
the right when a party of regulars came down
the hill to relieve their guard, and crossed
our riflemen under Capt. Dowdle, as they
were jying on the ground in Indian tile. The
regulars were within twenty yards of our
men before they saw them, and immediately
tired. The riflemen returned the salute,
killed several, and brought off two prisoners,
and their arms, with the loss of Corporal
Creuse, who is supposed to be killed, as he
has not been heard of since the affair."*

"Aug. 9, 1775— The riflemen from York
County have annoyed the regulars very much.
By a gentleman who left Boston yesterday,
we hear that Capts. Percival and Sabine, of
the marines, Capt. Johnson, of the Royal
Irish, and Capt. LeMoino, of the train, were
killed on Monday. Capt. Chetwyn, son of
Lord Chetwyn, is mortally wounded. The
number of privates killed this week we have
not heard. The regulars have thrown up a
breastwork across the neck at the foot of
Bunker's Hill to secure their sentries and
advanced guards.f"

The roll of Capt. Doudel's Company does
not comprise more than one-half of its
strength. Research has failed to complete it.f
Michael Doudel, Captain, resigned on account
of ill health soon after the company reached
Cambridge. Henry Miller, First Lieutenant,
promoted Captain. John Dill, Second Lieu-
tenant. James Matson, Third Lieutenant.
John Clark, Third Lieutenant, afterward Ma-
jor in Col, McAllister's Battalion, and aide to
Gen. Greene. In February, 1778, Auditor
of Accounts died December 27, 1819, at
York, Penna., aged sixty- eight. Walter
Cruise, captured in front of Boston, July 29,
1775, a prisoner seventeen months ; pro-


moted Captain Sixth Pennsylvania. Robert
Armor, John Ferguson, George Armstrong,
Robert Graft, John Beverly, John Griffith,
Christian Bittinger, Joseph Halbut, Wil-
liam Cooper, Richard Kennedy, George
Dougherty, Thomas Kennedy, John Douther,
Abram Lewis, Abel Evans, John McAlister,
John McCrary, Joshua Minshall, John Mc-
Curt, James Mill, Edward Moore, Matthew
Shields, Daniel Lelap, died January 29,
1776. John Brown, captured in September,

1775, in front of Boston. Thomas Campbell
afterward Captain in Fourth Pennsylvania.
William Cline, re-enlisted and discharged
March, 1777 ; died in 1826 in York County.
David Ramsay, discharged July 1, ]7/6, en-
listed in Col. Hannum's battalion and taken

at Brandywine; in York County, 1818,

aged sisty-nine. Jacob Staley, Andrew
Start, Tobias Tanner, John Taylor, Patrick
Sullivan, enlisted June 24, 1775; re-enlisted
First Pennsylvania. Isaac Sweeny, promoted
Lieutenant in Hartley's Regiment. Cor-
nelius Turner, taken with Corp. Cruise, and
carried to Halifax.

The Commander-in-Chief 's guard, organ-
ized by Gen. Washington, in 1776, consisted
of 180 men. Among them were John Dother,
of Marsh Creek, and William Kernahan,
formerly of Miller's riflemen, of York County.
This was also called Washington's Life
Guard. Their uniform consisted of a blue
coat with white facings, white waistcoat and
breeches, black stock and half-gaiters, and a
round hat with blue and white feather.*


under the command of Col. Samuel Miles,
was raised for the defence of the province.
In this regiment was the company of Capt.
Philip Albright, who was appointed from
York County on March, 19, 1776, and re-
signed January 23, 1777. The Second Lieu-
tenant of this company was William Mc-
Pherson, who was captured August 27, 1776,
at Long Island, and exchanged April 20,
1778. He died at Gettysburg on August 2,
1832, and was buried in Evergreen cemetery.
In this company was Charles Stump, who
was wounded August 27, 1776 ; lost a linger,
was missing since the battle of August 27,

1776, and who resided in York County in
1788. In Capt. Shade's company, in this
regiment, was Henry Dull, April 1, 1776,
who resided in York County, in 1818, aged
seventy-one. Just before the battle of Long
Island, Col. Miles was ordered with his rifle-
men to watch the motions of the enemy, and

on the 27th was overcome by a superior force
and surrendered. Col. Miles was exchanged
April 20, 1778.*

On the 12th of March, 1777, the Su-
preme Eiecutive Council had aid before
them, from the' Council of Safety, the
list and arrangement of the field officers
of the twelve Pennsylvania regiments in the
Continental service. First Regiment, Col-
onel, Edward Hand ; Lieutenant-Colonel.
James Ross ; Major, Henry Miller. Seventh
Regiment, Colonel, William Irwin ; Lieuten-
ant-Colonel, David Grier ; Major, Samuel



Capt. Henry Miller, with his company of
riflemen, was attached to the First Regiment
of the Pennsylvania Line, commanded by
Col. Edward Hand, and he was promoted
to be Major of the regiment. In the " Mem-
oirs " of Gen. Wilkinson, the gallantry of
Col. Hand and Maj. Miller is graphically
described, in checking the pursuit of the
American Army by the British, in the mem-
orable retreat across New Jersey. | At the
battle of Monmouth, as Maj. Miller was
ascending, in company with Lieut. -Cols.
North and Bunner, a hill from which the
British were driven, he had two horses shot
under him, and Col. Bunner, by his side,
was killed. From Major of the First he was
promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second
Regiment of the Pennsylvania Line, July 1,
1778. He resigned in the month of Decem-
ber, 1778, but was afterward Quartermaster
of the western expedition. He commanded

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 31 of 218)