“…the new Regiment now raising”: Continuing the story of the Extra Regiment

The 2nd Maryland Regiment at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781. This regiment was broadly the successor of the Regiment Extra. Courtesy of the Military Print Company.

In our last post, many of the contours of the Maryland Extra Regiment/Regiment Extra were outlined. This post aims to expand that story. It was pointed out that Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Lawson Smith (called Alexander Smith in the rest of this article), described as a “gentleman Who’s Conduct & Bravery deserves Your Excellency notice” by Harford County’s Richard Dallam in a letter to Maryland Governor Thomas Sim Lee on July 14, 1780, led the regiment. [1] Within this unit, Maryland 400 veterans Samuel Luckett, Josias Miller, John Plant, Charles Smith, and James Farnandis were all mid or high-ranking military officers. This post aims to outline the known members of the Extra Regiment beyond these six individuals using available information, telling more of the story of this regiment which is broadly lost to history. Sometimes this will overlap with what was said in the previous post, but generally it will be new information to expand existing scholarship on the subject.

Recruiting and desertion within the Extra Regiment

In July of 1780, to alleviate the “Exigencies of the War in the Southern Department” or southern theater of the Revolutionary War, the Council of Maryland ordered the creation of this regiment. Originally, it was supposed to consist of 531 men, with orders it be ready by July. [2] However, recruiting was so abysmal that hardly “one-half the promised number was obtained.” This means that there was less than 265 men, with exactly 228 in the regiment, commanded by Mr. Alexander Smith, by December, marching later that year. This was not only because the state did not have sufficient funds for the recruitment of individuals into the regiment, later giving men 1,500 pounds to serve for only a three-month period, a successful measure, but also trying to draw in former deserters. The latter was compounded by armed boats reportedly “maned by the torys” in the lower part of Dorcester County, suppressed by Lieutenant Jonathan Smoot, later a captain, who burned the houses of those who held pro-British Crown sympathies and hung others of the same political persuasion.

The other problems of deserters was outlined by Benjamin MacKall, recruiter for the regiment in Calvert County, who told Col. Uriah Forest that in July only one man joined the Extra Regiment, with two enlisted, and former deserters, escaping by “breaking through the Prison wall.” Adding to this was that fact that the local militia was not paying more than 5% toward procuring new recruits for the regiment, leading certain counties to not fulfill their quotas required to fill the ranks of new regiment. Still, in some counties, like Queen Anne’s, 31 men were enlisted by William Hemsley even with lackluster recruiting in general.

Other problems with recruiting the necessary men led to continuing pleas. As the “extravagant prices given to Soldiers” for the regiment reduced recruiting for other regiments, new recruits were even furnished “with meat” so that they would stay within the ranks. This confirms that the idea that Maryland abandoned the idea of an Extra Regiment after the Battle of Camden on August 16 is completely erroneous. Nine days after that battle, the Council of Maryland  wrote the wife of Governor Lee, Mary Digges Lee, saying:

We are very anxious to send forward the Regiment Extraordinary to reinforce the American Army. The Impracticability of procuring immediately by Purchase, a Sufficient Quantity of Linen, for Shirts for all the Men, induces us to solicit your Assistance at this Emergency, and to request a Loan of two hundred and sixty Shirts, which we will not fail to replace when you may deem it necessary to demand them.

In later months, the situation would seem to get worse. Fifty men within the regiment, as of September 17, were in the hospital, and “a number” deserted, but the Continental Congress still directed the state of Maryland to take certain measures “for the march of the new raised Regiment.” As the year progressed, the soldiers of the regiment were clothed, even with continuing desertions and defections to “the Enemy’s vessels,” and was given the appropriate supplies for its imminent march Southward. Some soldiers were even rejected by the state, but then were allowed to march again under certain circumstances. Even the paymaster of southern department, Joseph Clay, was given 2,060 dollars on October 25 by the Continental Congress to enable the “extra regiment…to proceed to the Southward.” [3] It was around this time that the Maryland legislature set the stage for the final dissolution of the regiment, by saying that “the non-commissioned officers and privates of the regiment extra ordinary be draughted into the old battalions of the quota of this state in the continental service, and that the field and commissioned officers of said regiment be recalled” with Mr. Alexander Smith holding “the rank of lieutenant-colonel, as a supernumerary officer of this state in the continental service.” This does not mean that the regiment was abolished as other records prove that the regiment stayed intact until the following year.

On September 21, Mr. Alexander Smith was given his orders for marching the regiment, which he would follow and execute when the unit marched in December to join the Continental Army:

“The board think proper to direct That you proceed from :Annapolis as soon as circumstances will permit, on your March to Join the Southern Army by way of Alexandria to orange Court House & from thence by Charlotteville to Hillsborough. Alexandria being but two or three days march from Annapolis. Your men can take Provisions enough with them to last them thither, should there be no Issuing Post between. You will write to Col James Wood Commanding at Charlotteville, informing him when you expect to leave Annapolis. & on your March give him information of your movements by every private opportunity, it will not be necessary that you send Expresses. If on your route to Charlotteville you should receive orders from Col. Wood to halt, or hasten your March you will obey them, & from thence forward put yourself entirely under his Command, but if Col Wood should not find it necessary to alter your destination, you will proceed as already directed.”

As discussed earlier, the extra regiment dissolved before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, never seeing action under its name, with most of the regiment’s men, but not all, merging into the Second Maryland Regiment. Some, such as Samuel Hanson, one of the regiment’s ensigns, joined the 2nd Maryland. Lieutenant Colonel John Eager Howard wrote, as reprinted on page 87 of Cool deliberate courage: John Eager Howard in the American Revolution:

“there was a new regiment [Extra Regiment] sent out from Maryland which had been raised by the state, and it was thought that the officers had been more favored than the officers of the old regiments. It joined us a few days before the action and there were such jealousies among the officers that Genl Greene sent all the new officers home, and made a new arrangement of the two regiments. This was at the time my light infantry [troops who fought at the Battle of Cowpens] joined their regiments. The most of the new men were thrown into the second regiment which was very deficient of officers”

While some records show that some left the regiment on January 1st, it was not until February 12 that the Maryland General Assembly confirmed that the regiment was no more. Regardless, there is agreement among those who submitted pensions and with the existing records that the regiment was dismembered before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, with the officers returning home as “Supernumerary” meaning that they stayed part of the Continental Army but were not “part of the regular staff,” the regular group of officers. This explains why, in February, Mr. Alexander Smith was allowed to “hold the Rank of Lieutenant Colonel as a supernumerary Officer in this State in the continental Service.” The following month, the General Assembly said that the regiment had been “reduced,” recalling the field and commissioned officers, along with non-commissioned officers and privates, within old regiments, which confirmed what had happened earlier that year. By June 11, the Council of Maryland noted that several former soldiers within the old regiments and extra regiment applied for their bounties and they wished to “do justice to them” by giving them the money they deserved.

Who served in the regiment?

As noted in the previous section, 228 men were in the regiment as of December 1780. Even with this number of men, only the names of 184, at most, including some who later deserted, are known through remaining digitized paper records. If the number of 228 is taken as a fact, then that means that 44 names are not known. But, if the number of 531 men, the number they were aiming for with the creation of this regiment, then 347 names, at most, would not be known. Based on the fact that the regiment had problems with recruiting, it is more likely that between 44-100 names are not known.

From available information, it is evident that there were eight companies led by Captains James Gillespie, from Washington County, Samuel Cock (7th Company), a “young man with some property and of a very credible family,” Mr. Charles Smith (Maryland 400 veteran), Benjamin Murdock (1st Company), Vachel Burgess, Samuel McLane, Henry Hill (son of Henry), and Montjoy/Mountjoy Bailey/Bayley, who later went on to be a captain in the Second Maryland Regiment and Seventh Maryland Regiment. [4] There was also Captain Archibald Golder, sometimes spelled incorrectly as Colder. But, he was described in numerous documents as the regiment’s paymaster. [5] Hence, it is not known if he commanded a company or not. If there were eight companies and each had 55 people, this means there was about of 480 people, but since 531 were originally requested for the regiment, this means that there may have been an idea to create 10, 11, 12, 13, or even 14 companies, although this did not occur.

According to the records, there were twelve lieutenants within the Extra Regiment. They were Francis Shepard/Sheppard, Samuel McLane, Ignatius Boone/Boon (earlier an ensign), John Plant (earlier an ensign), Samuel Hamilton, Samuel Hanson of Walt, John Lucas, Samuel Jones, Mr. Samuel Luckett, and Charles Magruder (earlier an ensign). [6] There are eight other mid-level officers known. These men include ensigns Basil Clements, James Bickham, Ignatius Blandford, Theodore Middleton, Nathaniel Magruder, Mr. Josias Miller, Basil Gaither, and Joshua Warfield. [7] There was also Major Edward Giles, an officer who was second-in-command of the regiment.

Luckily some information survives on promotion and resignation of certain ranks. On September 1, Mr. Charles Smith, Samuel Cock, Archibald Golder, Samuel Hanson, Mr. Josias Miller, and James Bigham? resigned their ranks, while Benjamin Murdoch, Vachel Burgess, Francis Shepard, Samuel McLane, John Lucas, Charles Magruder, Mr. Samuel Luckett, Ignatius Boone/Boon, Theodore Middleton, John Plant, Jacob Gray, and Basil Clements were promoted. When this happened, the newly appointed ensigns to the unit were told that if they accept this promotion, they will “repair as soon as possible to this Place, to take Command.”

The records of ordinary soldiers in the Extra Regiment are thin. A digital copy showing the return of those within Samuel Cock’s Seventh Company is incomplete. There is only one page with the full return, of 55 men, and another showing 60 men within the company. Other pages are ripped off, only showing 18 or 29 men respectively. [8] They were clearly drawn from Prince George’s, Charles, Queen Anne’s, Kent, Wicomico, Worchester, and Charles counties, to name a few, as the records indicate. Some are listed as sick, others on furlough or not joined. The full return, with most of the men with blankets, shirts, shoes, and other equipment, with a few exceptions. [9] By later September, only 37 of Cock’s company were present and able to march. The others were either sick in an Annapolis hospital, deserted from Annapolis, hadn’t joined the company, sick in a Philadelphia Hospital, were “on command,” or deserted at the Head of Elk earlier that month. [10]

There are scattered records of others who enlisted in the regiment. In July, there were 30 men who were described as the “1st 30 for Extra Regiment.” [11] Seventeen others were mentioned at the end of this list. It is not known if they enlisted in the regiment or not. [12] On August 16, six men enlisted in the regiment (William Gloury, Francis McClain, John Butler, Peter Scott, James Scott, and Thomas Beaver), all of whom went down to Annapolis aboard “the Sloop Liberty.” By November, there were 28 more within the regiment’s ranks, with numerous desertions and non-joiners not among them. [13] If this isn’t enough, there are assorted records for 24 individuals. One of them, John Hard, was “old & Deaf” and confined for desertion, which was different from the capture of John Collins, a private who had deserted to Kent County. [14]

Three other individuals seemed as people who wanted to join the regiment. In July 1780, William Hopewell of Salisbury, within Wicomico County, requested to have a command position within the regiment. Nothing else of Mr. Hopewell is known. The same month, Daniel Jennifer, in Charles County’s Port Tobacco, said that he would be “glad” to be officer as part of the regiment. The same goes for Jacob Bythe who was proposed as a lieutenant for the regiment but the story ends there. Constantine Wright was part of the regiment reportedly as well and Private Jacob Blake was possibly a soldier, but his enlistment has not been confirmed. In all, Matthew Garner, Samuel Hanson (whose father was undoubtedly Walter, who said this son was a prisoner in April 1781), Charles Magruder, Vachel Burgess, Francis Shepard, and John Bryan were veterans of the Maryland 400, as noted in our last post.

Pensions and closing

While existing records only show records for 184 men in the regiment, only a few actually wrote pensions. Specifically 19 men had pensions:

  1. Lt. Col. Alexander Lawson Smith [15]
  2. Captain Charles Smith [16]
  3. Captain Benjamin Murdock/Murdoch (includes a statement in which Montjoy Bayley asserts he was a captain in the regiment)
  4. Captain Montjoy Bayley [17]
  5. Captain Archibald Golder [18]
  6. Lieutenant Samuel Luckett [19]
  7. Lieutenant John Plant (previously an ensign) [20]
  8. Ensign Josias Miller [21]
  9. Ensign Theodore Middleton [22]
  10. Private John McKay/McCay (new person not previously mentioned)
  11. Private William Elkins (new person not previously mentioned)
  12. Private John Shanks (new person not previously mentioned)
  13. Private William Groves (who may have later become an ensign)
  14. Private Jesse Boswell (new person not previously mentioned)
  15. Private Giles Thomas (new person not previously mentioned)
  16.  Private Philip Huston (new person not previously mentioned)
  17. Private Thomas Gadd (confirms regiment was broken up before battle)
  18. Private William Patton
  19. Private John Newton [23]

Others, such as James Hopkins, have no pension but are mentioned in other pensions, like his brother’s pension in this case. This means that less than 11% of the men within the regiment, currently known, wrote pensions. Even the pensions themselves don’t say much about the regiment as a whole. There may be even more since some of the names may be spelled differently in the pension records than those in the muster rolls.

Hence, it is hard to know the full story of those within the regiment, but the information gathered in this article and put into sections, brings it into public view, which is helpful for those researching their family lineage and those interested in military history.

Notes

[1] Beverly W. Bond, Jr., “Chapter III: Military Aid” within “State Government in Maryland 1777-1781,” Johns Hopkins University Studies, Series 23, Nos. 3-4 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, March-April 1905), p. 38-39.

[2] While Mr. Alexander Smith resigned from the position of Lieutenant Colonel on September 1st, 1780, he was re-promoted by the Council of Maryland the following day to the same position!

[3] Journals of Congress, From January 1st, 1780 to January 1st, 1781 (Philadelphia: David C. Claypoole, 1781), 341-342.

[4] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 56, 241, 367, 370, 444; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 233, 234, 338; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 54, 60; “Autograph Letters,” American Historical Record Vol. I, No. 4, April 1872, p. 175. As Thomas Johnson notes in this July 16, 1780 letter, Mr. Cock requested to a captain in the regiment in July. Also see the pensions of Robert Green, Solomon Turner, Aquilla Smith, Wilson Moore, William Nick, John Ferguson, and Patrick Connolly for other mentions of Mr. Bayley, who has a service card on Fold3, but apparently no pension. He would later be listed as living in Frederick County, just like the rest of the Bayley/Bailey family in Maryland, and lived a total of 81 years.

[5] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 335; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 250, 253, 371; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 54, 94.

[6] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 233, 234, 262; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 325, 367, 370, 415; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 58, 60. A man named Edward Hood was “awarded a pension as a ‘maimed’ soldier in the 1st Regt. of the Maryland line” and says he “served under Captains Samuel Griffin, Samuel Jones and Nicholas Gassaway.”

[7] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 294, 334, 367; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 60, 94, 129; Congressional serial set (Washington: G.P.O, date not known), 133. Page 25 of Lawrence E. Babits’s A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens, notes that Edward Giles is part of the Extra Regiment.

[8] Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, folder 28, roll 0034. Courtesy of Fold3.com. Here are the 29 listed on the first and second pages of the record: Jonathan Deare, Jacob Hofselton, John Burk, William Devine, Jacob Guttinger, Jacob Hofselton (different from above), Christopher Hambert, Thomas Ball, John Smith, Thomas Burk, George Hamilton, Michael McGowery, Michael Redmond, William Gillisby, John Desmond, Michael Moon, ? Graydy, John Flowson, John Barker, Isam Coleman, Thomas Glifson?, James Hopkins, Isiah Mason, John Clark, Lenard Smith (close, but not his pension), John Jackson, Josias Miller, John Anderson, and ? Gibson (crossed out). Here are the 18 soldiers listed on pages 3 and 4 (and 5?) of the document: Michael Garner, Henry Savage, Christopher Miller, Michael Longisfetter?[full name cannot be read], Michael Redman, John Barker, Thomas Burke, William Devine, John Butler, John McCarty, John Burk, Morris Leary, Gary Hamilton, Chris? Lamford, Michael McGowan, John Morris, William Falton, and Philip Fitzpatrick.

[9] The following are those listed in the full return: William Ewing, Patrick Pharple? [unreadable], Theophilus Cumford, Joseph McLain, Michael Cofner, Laughlin Fannen, Michael Longisfetter [unreadable], Henry Savage, John Butler, John Morris, William Patton, William Preft, Joseph Wright, James Thomson/Thompson who was recommended for captain of the regiment by William Hemsley, Roger Swanson, Michael Mann, John Derr who is pardoned by the governor later on (there is a John Derr with a pension who served in the Maryland Line, number S. 12762, but it is not known if this is him although some indications seem to indicate it could be; he is described as a deserter at one point), Jacob Hartman, John Burk, William Devine (some indications that pension number R.2906 is him but this cannot be confirmed), Jacob Citleringer, Jacob Hofselton, Christopher Flamb, Thomas Ball, John Smith (there are eight John Smiths who have MD pensions as an ancestry search shows, but none of them seem to be him), Thomas Burk, George Hammilton, Michael McGowan, Michael Redmond, William Gibson, John Desmond,  John McCarty, Philip Fitzpatrick, William Siggs [unreadable], John Enerson [unreadable], Michael Stoelker, Peter Pomish?, John Reyler, William Deyler, John Ellison, Jonathan Parker, James Woodward, James Neel, Jacob Meyers, Morris Leary, Henry Creger, William Diach, David Crady, John Flower, John Barker, Thomas Gibson, John Colman, John C[?]Millan, James Hopkins, and John Clare.

[10] John Allison Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see pages 4-5. Courtesy of Fold3.com; John Burke Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see page 5. Courtesy of Fold3.com; William Divine Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see page 2. Courtesy of Fold3.com; John Clare Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see page 2. Courtesy of Fold3.com; William Gilasby Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see page 2. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Leonard Smith Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see pages 2-4. Courtesy of Fold3.com; William Ewing Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see page 2. Courtesy of Fold3.com; John Smith Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see page 2. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Michael Steeker Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see page 2. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Roger Sullivan Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see page 2. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Joseph White Service Card; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, see page 2. Courtesy of Fold3.com. Specifically, the Fold3 muster rolls, not the serve cards, show that John Clare “deserted from Annapolis”  three were sick in an Annapolis Hospital, six deserted at Head of Elk on Sept. 3 (William Ewing, Joseph White, Roger Sullivan, John Smith, Michael [last name cannot be made out], and James Hopkins), six hadn’t joined (John Jackson, Josias Miller, John Anderson, Morris Leary, Thomas Gibson, John Neale), three were sick in Philly Hospital (William Gillaspie, Christopher Lambert, and Patrick Charro?), and four were on command (Josiah Mason, Thomas Burke, ? Woodward, and Michael Redman), leaving a company which is supposed to be 60, of actually only 37. Service Cards confirm this, showing that John Burke and William Devine were sick in an Annapolis hospital, that John Clare deserted from Annapolis, that William Gillaspie/Gilasby was sick in Philly hospital and Leonard Smith was sick on furlough, and having records of five who deserted at “Head of Elk”: William Ewing, John Smith, Michael Streeker, Roger Sullivan, and Joseph White. Also, a man named John Allison is mentioned on a return of Sept. 29, 1780 as present, but noting else is known.

[11] These men were Thomas Pendoor, James Bigwood, George Clarke, John Higgins, John Pickering, William Stewart (close, but not his pension), Daniel Bulger, John McGuire, Edward Daw, William Cox, John Maginnis, James Barrow, Joseph Floyd, John Harvey, Jesse McCarty, Henry Crane, William Curtin (related to Thomas Certain?), John Whealand, Thomas McBride, John McCoune in place of William Quinton, Thomas Maddin, John Buller, Patrick Smith, Richard Downes, John Smith, Patrick Cavenough, Thomas Shears, Thomas Ahair, Thomas Pennifield, and Richard Kisby.

[12] These seventeen others, not including dead James North or deserter John Tucker, are: Richard Whiley, Patrick Riley, John Butcher, John Robbins, Robert Ferrell, John Jones, Elijah Clarke, John Freeman, Anthony Wedge, William Groves, Thomas Elliss, Thomas Matthews, Stephen Fennell, Thomas Burch, Charles Reynolds (possibly mentioned in this pension), Timothy McLamar, and John Clayton.

[13] The list of “recruits and deserters,” were acquired by Queen Ann’s County officers, including William Hemsley, for the regiment, raised in July shows 2 people who deserted before joining (Thomas Fox and Valentine Saint Tee), three former deserters who never joined (Thomas Trew, Joseph Crouch, and James Chittendon), while three former deserters did join (David Willon, Thomas Terrett, and Benjamin Loftsman). Then there are the 25 regular people recruited who are not deserters: Thomas Yewell, George Duncan, Edward Legg, Charles White, Job Sylvester, Robert Legg, Thomas Gadd, William Aller, Daniel Dulany, John West Tate, Benjamin Lee, Richard Gemmeson, Edward Vickers, Elijah Barn, John Oliver (possibly him but cannot be confirmed), William Carter, John Moore, John West, Joseph Paggat, James Baver, Lambert Phillips, John Hickins, Richard Murphy, Timothy Connor, and Edward Dominie.

[14] The other 22 men are William Clements, James Bartclay, William Jeffries, Francis Rogers, Dennis Larey, John Cooper, Elisa Huff, George Plumbley, Bauer Wibb, Frederick James, Jesse Power (close but not his pension) William Hickin, Joseph Points, William Simmons (close but not his pension), Benjamin Smith (related to the other Smiths?), John Bryan, William Campbell, John Muir, William Holt, John Lewin, John Moore, and John Newton (“wounded in two instances” as a result of his fighting in the war).

[15] Pension of Alexander Lawson Smith, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2208, pension number W. 4247. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[16] Pension of Charles Smith, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, W 25,002, from Fold3.com.

[17] Pension of Mountjoy Bayly, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, S-12094, BLWt 685-300. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[18] Pension of Sarah and Archibald Golder, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, W.943. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[19] Pension of Samuel Luckett, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, S 36,015. From Fold3.com.

[20] Pension of John Plant, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1942, pension number W. 26908. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[21] Pension of Josias Miller, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1728, pension number S. 40,160. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[22] Pension of Theodore Middleton, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1720, pension number S. 11,075. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[23] Pension of John Newton, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, S.35009. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

Col. Gaither: Seven years on Georgia’s frontier

Reposted from Academia.edu and originally written when I worked at the Maryland States Archives on the Finding the Maryland 400 project, with some changes and revisions in this version.

Map, courtesy of the Library of Congress, that shows Georgia’s frontier in 1795.

A biography I wrote about Henry Chew Gaither, a Revolutionary War captain of the First and Fourth Maryland Regiments, expands on previous descriptions on the blog of the Maryland 400 project. [1] On the eve of the Battle of Brooklyn, he served as a witness for Daniel Bowie’s will. Unlike most Revolutionary War veterans, Gaither remained in the military after the war, serving two years in Ohio [2], seven years on the Georgian frontier, and two years in the Mississippi Territory as a U.S. Army officer. [3] In August 1792, Gaither, 41 years old at the time, received nine pages of instructions for his service in Georgia from Secretary of War Henry Knox, telling him to obtain a “healthy” place for his troops, be cordial to the Spanish and Georgian governments, and avoid a “heated” incident with their governments. [4]

Gaither was involved in many incidents in Georgian frontier [5] which involved the inhabitants of Georgia, the Creek Nation (Muskogee), and other indigenous nations. The Creek were divided into the Lower Creek, who intermarried with Whites, and the Upper Creek who were traditional and “less effected by European influences.” In one such incident, in the first months of 1793, inhabitants of Georgia’s upper frontier drove cattle to the fork of the Tallahatchie River. [6] Interpreter Timothy Bernard, a US Army major and the son of Timopochee Barnard, the chief of the Creek Nation, wrote Gaither, worrying that since the cattle would likely be driven away and killed by local indigenous people, including the Creek, bloodshed would result if the cattle were not withdrawn. [6] Despite this warning, Georgians continued to move cattle near the Tallahatchie River’s forks and the King of the Cussetah, part of the Creek Confederacy, blamed the Coweta, also part of the Confederacy, for stealing horses of Georgian inhabitants. [7]

In April and May 1793, Gaither relayed reports to Knox of the robbery and murder of two Whites on the St. Mary’s River and that James Seagrove, the Agent/Ambassador to the Creek Nation demanded retribution from the Creek Nation. [8] Hoboithle Micco, the Halfway House King, of the Upper Creek, and his loyal warriors responded to Seagrove’s demand for the supposed Creek perpetrators to turn themselves over to the appropriate authorities with a call to kill Whites, resulting in Gaither telling Georgia militia officers to stand guard. [9] Despite this call from the Upper Creek, Bird King, a chief of the Creek Nation, told Gaither that the “bad” town of Halfway House King caused trouble and that the Creeks did not want war. [10] Bernard confirmed this to Gaither, saying that three-quarters of the Creek Nation favored peace but he feared that some White men would not discriminate between innocent and guilty Creek people in an attempt to enact retribution. [11] While it seemed, at the time, that blood spilled across the frontier meant a “general war with the Creek and Cherokee Indians,” Gaither was still told by Knox to take efforts to “calm every attempt to raise a storm.” [12] Ultimately a war didn’t break out, and a treaty was signed three years later, in 1796, between the Creek Nation and the United States, with Gaither as a witness.

In mid-1794, Major General Elijah Clarke tried to launch an expedition to invade Spanish territory in Louisiana. [13] Letters show that Gaither, then established as lieutenant colonel commandant, was notified of this by Knox who told him to work with Georgia Governor George Matthews to suppress this “illegal combination of men.” Later, Clarke was apprehended after he refused to move his soldiers from the banks of the Oconee River, apparently in preparation for his expedition. [14] This incident was serious enough to merit concern from Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton and have it addressed publicly by President George Washington. In May, Washington told members of the House and Senate about “certain hostile threats against territories of Spain in our neighborhood” and that the expedition, “projected against the Spanish dominions,” was relinquished. If Clarke’s expedition had succeeded, it is possible that Spain may have not signed Pinckney’s Treaty the following year which dropped duties on “American trade passing through New Orleans” and voided “Spanish guarantees of military support…to Native Americans in the disputed region.” This treaty ended the supposed instigation of indigenous nations such as the Cherokee by “Spanish agents” in earlier years and served as a motivation for White settlers to continue their expansion westward. [15]

Our story ends by tying together loose ends. In 1800, Gaither was ordered to replace Senior Army Officer James Wilkinson at Fort Adams, on the Mississippi River, where Gaither served as a witness to a Treaty with the Choctaw in 1801 and gave a valedictory address to soldiers at the Fort the same year, until 1802, when he was honorably discharged. [16] In 1811, Gaither died, at the age of 61, on a plantation in present-day Washington, D.C., owning a few enslaved Blacks, and having a funeral procession in the city. [17] As for the indigenous nations, they didn’t fare as well. The Creek were defeated at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814 by Andrew Jackson, forcing them to acquiesce much of their land, and were forcibly removed in the brutal ‘Trail of Tears,’ along with other indigenous peoples. In the end, it is clear that Gaither was part of a history of indigenous people in North America and a post-revolutionary early republic.

Notes

[1] Gaither was stationed or are mentioned in the 76 letters I looked at, at a number of locations in Georgia, some of which are highlighted in this post.

[2] The National Archives. M233. Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914. NARA Record Group 94 National Archives Catalog ID: NARA M233. Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914. Roll: MIUSA1798_102864. Roll Number: 5. Fold 3. In his two years in Ohio, he served in one of the final phases of Little Turtle’s War (1785-1795), included participating in the disastrous “St. Clair’s Defeat” in November 1791 in which an army led by Arthur St. Clair, assisted by the Choctaw and Chickasaw, was defeated by the British-allied Western Confederacy, later memorized in a ballad of the same name.

[3] June 7, 1792, The Federal Gazette and Philadelphia Daily Advertiser. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, page 2; “To George Washington from Henry Knox, 24 September 1791,” Founders Online, National Archives.

[4] “Orders for Deployment to Georgia,” Henry Knox to Henry Gaither, 11 August 1792, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[5]  It is worth remembering that the State of Georgia originally “claimed its western boundary extended to the Mississippi River” which includes the upper parts of the present-day states of Mississippi and Alabama.

[6] “A warning about the effect of white settler encroachments on Indian land,” Timothy Bernard and Henry Gaither, 18 February 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[7] “Letter from Timothy Barnard [Bernard] to Major Henry Gaither regarding translator Mr George Cornells, son of Joseph Cornells,” Timothy Bernard and Henry Gaither, 4 March 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Letters that appear in searches for the terms Buzzard’s Roast, Tullapatchee River and Tallahatchee River reveal what happened next.

[8] This action by Seagrove divided the Creek Nation. “Letter from Major Henry Gaither to Secretary of War Henry Knox regarding murder and robbery at Traders Hill on St Marys,” Henry Gaither to Henry Knox, 7 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Letter from Major Henry Gaither to Secretary of War Henry Knox on the robbery and murder at Traders Hill St Marys,” 17 April 1793,  Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[9] “To George Washington from Henry Knox, 18 April 1793,” Founders Online, National Archives; “His Warriors are Determined to Spill Human Blood,” Henry Gaither to Henry Knox, 19 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Letter from Major Henry Gaither to Secretary of War Henry Knox on the robbery and murder at Traders Hill St Marys,” Henry Gaither to Henry Knox, 19 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; According to pages 90, 158, 215-216 of Andrew K. Frank’s Peculiar breed of whites“: race, culture, and identity in the Creek Confederacy, Micco was originally a mixed individual and pioneer named James McQueen who later changed his name after integrating himself enough with the Creek.

[10] “Letter from Bird King Cussetas King to Major Gaither on trouble caused by Halfway King,” Bird King to Henry Gaither, 13 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Also referred to as Bird Tail King.

[11] “Letter from Timothy Barnard [Bernard] to Major Henry Gaither regarding meeting with Cussetahs, scalpings, robbery and murder at Robert Seagrove’s store Traders Hill on St Mary’s River, Spaniard Dons,” Timothy Bernard to Henry Gaither, 8 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Letter from Timothy Bernard to Major Gaither regarding Major James Seagrove’s demands in aftemath of violations,” Timothy Bernard to Henry Gaither, 20 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[12] U.S. Senate. Report by Mr. Elliott to the Military Committee. 17th Cong., 1st Sess. (S.Doc.64). Washington: Gales & Seaton, April 15, 1822. pp. 3. (Serial Set 60); “Conducting the Security of the Frontier in Georgia,” Henry Knox to Henry Gaither, 29 April 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Letter from Major Henry Gaither to Secretary of War Henry Knox on Indian theft and murder,” Henry Gaither to Henry Knox, 6 May 1793, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. John Elliott was a U.S. Senator representing Georgia at the time.

[13] Correspondence of Clark and Genet: Selections from the Draper Collection in the Possession of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin to Elucidate the Proposed French Expedition Under George Rogers Clark Against Louisiana, in the Years 1793-94. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1897, 936-943; “To George Washington from Henry Knox, 14 May 1794,” Founders Online, National Archives; “Extract of a letter from the Secretary of War, to Lieut. Col. Gaither, dated 14th May, 1794,” Henry Knox to Henry Gaither, 14 May 1794, Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media; “Suppressing the Illegal Combination of Men,” Henry Knox to Henry Gaither, 14 May 1794,  Papers of the War Department 1794 to 1800, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

[14] “From Alexander Hamilton to George Mathews, 25 September 1794,” Founders Online, National Archives.

[15] Report by Mr. Elliott to the Military Committee, 2.

[16] The Territorial papers of the United States: The Territory of Mississippi 1798-1817 (vol. 5, ed. Clarence Edwin Carter). Washington, DC: GPO, 1937. 124-5.; “To Alexander Hamilton from James Wilkinson, 25 February 1800,” Founders Online, National Archives; “To Alexander Hamilton from James Wilkinson, 7 March 1800,” Founders Online, National Archives.

[17] Assessments of 1793, 1795, 1796 and 1797, Montgomery County Commissioners of the Tax, Assessment Record, MdHR 20015-1-1, p. 115-116, 159, 228, 256, 268 (MSA C1110-1, 1/18/14/17); Assessments of 1813 and 1816, Montgomery County Commissioners of the Tax, Assessment Record, MdHR 20015-3-1, p. 53, 99, 130 (MSA C1110-3, 1/18/14/19); Assessments of 1798, 1801, 1802, 1804, 1811, Montgomery County Commissioners of the Tax, Assessment Record, MdHR 20015-2-1, p. 94, 33, 138, 146, 151, 163, 205, 265, 406, 424 (MSA C1110-2, 1/18/14/18); General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Records, 1783, 3-4, 18 (MSA S1161-78, 1/4/5/51).