Writing for the Maryland State Archives

From May to November 2016, I worked at the Maryland State Archives as a researcher on the Finding the Maryland 400 Project. While there I wrote a number of blogposts, which are as follows:

    1. Col. Gaither: Seven years on Georgia’s frontier (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu). I expanded upon that blogpost in my post on this blog titled “From the Revolutionary War to the 1790s: the Creek Nation in the Southern Gulf Region
    2. Col. Barton Lucas: more than a military man (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    3. Sickened Marylanders and the Philadelphia Bettering House (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    4. Persecuted in Revolutionary Baltimore: The Sufferings of Quakers (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    5. A “little groggy”: the deputy sheriff of Baltimore and his “bowl of toddy” (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    6. The political climate of Baltimore in 1776 (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    7. A “dull place” on the Patapsco: Baltimore and the Marr Brothers (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    8. “Flecking the hedges with red”: Palmer’s Ballad on the Maryland 400 (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    9. “The misfortune which ensued”: The defeat at Germantown (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    10. A Short Fight on Hobkirk’s Hill: Surprise, Blame, and Defeat (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)
    11. British “masters of the field” : The disaster at Brandywine (re-posted on this blog and on academia.edu)

Many of these posts were noted in a SAR report

I also wrote 91 biographies of Revolutionary Marylanders. They were on the following individuals:

  1. Hezekiah Foard (bio re-posted on this blog and academia.edu)
  2. Barton Lucas (bio re-posted on this blog and academia.edu)
  3. John Mitchell (bio re-posted on this blog and academia.edu)
  4. John Sears (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  5. Henry Mitchel (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  6. William Dawson (bio re-posted on academia.edu and Find A Grave)
  7. John Lowry (full text of bio re-posted on academia.edu since previous bio was not archived) [since been been changed by current researcher Natalie Miller, current changed version here]
  8. John Neal (bio re-posted on academia.edu and Find A Grave), and his wife Margaret, adapted from that.
  9. John Hardman (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  10. John Plant (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  11. George Lashley (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  12. Andrew Meloan (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  13. Robert Ratliff (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  14. William Marr (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  15. Solomon Slocum (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  16. Henry Chew Gaither (bio re-posted on academia.edu)
  17. Samuel Goslin (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  18. Josias Miller (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  19. Matthew Murry (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  20. Michael Nowland (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  21. Ezekiel Pearce (bio re-posted on Find A Grave)
  22. Benjamin Ford
  23. Charles Smith
  24. John McGlaughlin
  25. Neal Dearmond
  26. Thomas Donolan
  27. Richard Doyle
  28. John Gorden
  29. William Grimes
  30. Thomas Hamilton
  31. John Haney
  32. Thomas Holland
  33. William Martin
  34. James Matthews
  35. William McGlaughlin
  36. Thomas McGuire
  37. Edward McKinzie
  38. Joseph Mongomery
  39. Charles Pritchard
  40. James Reed
  41. Patrick Reed
  42. Samuel Thomas
  43. Joseph Dixon
  44. Edward Ford
  45. Alexander McConaughey
  46. James Murphey
  47. John Harris
  48. Isaac Buttrim
  49. John Callenan
  50. Christian Castler
  51. Richard Cheaney
  52. Samuel Elliott
  53. James Garner
  54. Godfrey Gash
  55. William Hammond
  56. Philip Harley
  57. James Hogg
  58. George Horner
  59. Thomas Hunter
  60. Nicholas Marr
  61. James Marr
  62. John McCoy
  63. Alexander McMunn
  64. James Mutton
  65. Mathew Neeley
  66. William Nevitt
  67. John Reed
  68. Thomas Reed
  69. William Rogers
  70. Charles Turner
  71. Thomas McLanhlan
  72. Thomas Stern
  73. John Read
  74. John Redman
  75. Richard Goldin
  76. Edward Marr
  77. Thomas Certain
  78. Patrick McCann
  79. James McHendricks
  80. John Marr
  81. John Porter
  82. Richard Pursel
  83. Benjamin Quimby
  84. William Stibbings
  85. William Thompson
  86. Barnet Turner
  87. Stephen Videto
  88. William Wright
  89. William Holmes (since been revised/fixed up by current researcher Natalie Miller)
  90. Samuel Jones
  91. Robert Harvey

The Society of John Gaither Descendants praised my work on the Henry Chew Gaither biography, writing

“It is timely during our celebration of our nation’s independence, that SJGD member Sue Gaither Vanzant alerted us to an updated and expanded biography of Revolutionary War Captain, Colonel Henry Chew Gaither. The biography and an excellent account of Colonel Gaither’s life written by Burkely Herman[n] is located on the Maryland State Archives site dedicated to the Maryland 400. Mr. Herman[n] is a 2016 Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow. The blog and biography provide valuable insight into the times in which Colonel Gaither lived and his service to our country…Society member, Sue Vanzant, through her own research, played an important role in expanding the biography of Colonel Gaither [which I wrote].

I used the information of varied Marylanders to write two following blogposts:

My series on the Extra Regiment, which are listed below, also sprung from my work at the Maryland State Archives:

I also wrote “From Alexander McMunn to Hezekiah Foard: Maryland soldiers in Cecil County after the revolutionary war” which I put up on academia.edu, which was based on the bios of Alexander McMunn and Hezekiah Foard.

My other posts on this blog were somewhat inspired by the work I did at the Maryland State Archives but not directly connected to the work I did there:

Then the most recent two posts are basically about genealogy, inspired by what I wrote on Packed With Packards:

That’s all of what I have wrote and put together.

I also re-posted bios of the Archives’ project on Find A Grave, which I didn’t write, but posted in hopes of ancestors finding them:

  1. Peter Brown
  2. Edward Blacklock
  3. William Chaplin
  4. Thomas Connor
  5. Elisha Everit
  6. Jacob Holland
  7. Philip Jenkins
  8. Henry Leek
  9. Elizabeth Cox
  10. Margaret McCane
  11. Monica Kennedy
  12. John McClain
  13. John McClain (other)
  14. Mark McPherson
  15. James Mitchell
  16. James Murphy
  17. David Plunket
  18. Patrick Nowland
  19. Francis Osborn
  20. Nathan Peak
  21. Daniel Rankins
  22. Basil Ridgely
  23. Robert Sapp

The post-war life of Alexander Lawson Smith, a “Harford Man”

Parts of a 1878 map of Harford County with specific emphasis on the areas of Alexander’s lands along Swan Creek (left), near Rumney Creek (middle), and on Gunpowder Neck (right). Map is courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Where we left off, the specifics of the Maryland’s Extra Regiment were outlined, with some focus on Alexander Lawson Smith, the commander of this regiment who had served in the Maryland Line since 1776. He had fought at the Battle of Fort Washington but did not proceed to Fort Pitt with riflemen in 1779, staying behind with the 4th Maryland Regiment until his resignation as a captain, was accepted by Continental Congress the same year.

In the 1790s

In the post-war period, Alexander became a co-founder of the Society of the Cincinnati. In 1792, he married Martha Griffith. Martha came from a family that descended from Wales, owning hundreds of acres and numerous enslaved Blacks and living across the state, but with strong roots in Anne Arundel County, and contributed more soldiers to revolutionary cause than any other family in the state of Maryland. [1] This is confirmed by the Assessment of 1783 showing those within the Griffith family owning over two thousand acres within Harford County, including an area named “Rumney Royal,” which would be kept in the Griffith family, a land which, would, in the coming years, be part of the story of Alexander Smith, a “Harford Man.” Reportedly, Alexander and Martha would have three children, Samuel (b. 1794), Francina Francis (1797-1860), and Martia Matilida (1799-1860)

As Alexander was settling in Harford County after the war, he began to acquire land. In February 1795, he paid a man named Michael Allen, living in the town of “William Michael,” 45 pounds to buy a parcel of land named “Duch Point,” which sat on Swan Creek, which is near present-day Havre De Grace. [2] As part of the agreement, Alexander had to defend the “tract and premises” against all claiming a part of the land. Later that month, the wife of Michael, named Elizabeth, appeared before local Justices of the Peace, with both Michael and Alexander present, relinquishing her right to the land and premises, saying that she was not coerced to do so, but did so “freely and willingly” since Michael had no “displeasure” in parting with the land, it seemed.. This is is interesting because it implies that some women were coerced, but also may indicate that Elizabeth had a degree of autonomy.

The location of “Duch Point” cannot be currently found within Harford County. Since this parcel of land sat on Swan Creek, which has a few “points” (High Point, Cedar Point, Plum Point, and Swan Creek Point), it cannot be the same as historical Dutch Island. Even with the exact location unknown, the contours of this story can be filled out. For one, Swan Creek, a “branch of Chesapeake Bay, mouth (2) miles north of Cole,” with a village of the same name less than a two miles northeast of Aberdeen, with warehouses there, and a place of much activity during the revolutionary war, to not be confused with other areas named Swan Creek across the state.

In later years, Marta, Alexander, and the rest of the family lived in Swansbury at the house of her widowed mother, a frame dwelling of some type. It is also worth mentioning that George Washington saw Alexander as a “personal friend,” making him an original member of the Society of Cincinnati.

In 1798, he would own 463 acres in Harford Lower & Spesutia Lower Hundreds which was worth almost $2,500 dollars on first valuation, and over $2,800 as analyzed by the commissioner. Additionally he would own 2 acres which contained six out houses and one dwelling house worth a total of $500. This specific land would be described in more detail on the page for the specific hundred, which would say the following:

Another page lists Smith as owning 370 acres in Gunpowder Lower Hundred called Tapley’s Neck. There he had one dwelling house, one mory, one 16 x 16 kitchen, one 14 x 12 x 11 house, and other specifications which cannot be read due to the nature of the original record. For all this land, he only paid $16.63 in tax, a small amount. This means that minus taxes, he would have $3283.37 worth of property, the relative value of which would be $65,300 in current U.S. dollars.

Into the 1800s

Five years later, in 1800, Alexander headed a household in Harford County’s District 2 or Halls Cross Roads. Apart from his son under age 10, daughter aged 16-25, his two daughters ages 16-25, and his wife, Martha, he owned twenty-one enslaved Blacks. [3] This made him a well-off slaveowner and part of the region’s politics, with the Chesapeake Bay a major region for slavery, even into the 19th century, as slavery began to expand into indigenous homelands and other areas in the Deep South. This undoubtedly reinforced his standing as a “gentleman” among the Maryland social elite, which he had gained not only as a clerk of the Harford County court but through his military career, famous from the battle at Fort Washington in 1776. Even so, the “respectability” he gained should not mask the brutalities inherent to slavery in the Americas and elsewhere.

The same year, Alexander, and Martha, his wife, along with two of her sisters, Frances and Sarah, sold a tract of land in the same county. For 1,060 pounds, they sold a tract of 370 acres named Tapley/Tapley’s Neck, that sat along Gunpowder (River) Neck, to a Baltimore City revolutionary war veteran and slaveowner named George Presbury, later a local political figure in Harford County. [4] This region of the county consists of an area south of Edgewood, Maryland. By August, the transaction was complete, making the Smith-Griffith families much wealthier. To find the equivalent in today’s money requires some calculations. [5] After going through many calculations, it is clear they would be garnering $134,489 in US dollars from George, which by today’s standards would put them (and likely George) within the top ten percent of income earners. Back then they still would have been well-off landowners, but in a different way as only select people owned land rather than a vast majority.

The 1941 Gazetteer of Maryland describes Gunpowder Neck as a neck “in Harford County; lying between Bush River, Chesapeake Bay and Gunpowder River.” While the area, but the 1830s, would have road-building to and from “Belle Air” (present-day Belair, Maryland), in the time that Tapley Neck was sold, there was a “small plantation” in the region, possibly one that sat on the land that was sold to George, with Maryland militiamen stationed on the neck during the Revolutionary War. The region, includes a 19-mile long tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, Bush River, has a “lower end” near the bay and an “upper end” and is still south of Edgewood. Currently, this whole region is part of Aberdeen Proving Ground, a 75,000 acre military base which was created in 1917, where chemical (and biological) weapons and agents have been tested, meaning that people who “accidentally ingest or come in direct contact with contaminated ground water, surface water, soil, or sediments may be at risk.”

One year later, in June 1801, Alexander, Elijah Davis, Samuel Griffith, and  Frances Garretson (likely related to Aquila Nelson), all were executors of the will of Samuel Griffith, the father of Alexander’s wife, Martha, agreed on an indenture with other members of the Griffith family (Lewis Griffith and Avarella Maria Hynson of Kent County). In this agreement, the executors of Samuel Griffith’s gave the Griffith family 100 acres of land called “Rummy Royal”/Rumney Royal which sat in the county at the head of Rummy Creek between Williams Swamp and “long Bridge,” while being bound by other lands, such as Spring Garden. [6] This land is along Little Romney Creek, which sits within the county to this day, or “Romney Creek,” to be more broad. Furthermore, there is an area named “Romney Royal,” where a farm used to exist, so this use of words is clearly just another spelling of something that already exists. [7] He would die very shortly, so this property was likely distributed after his death to related family members and claimants to his estate.

The date of his death is of some dispute. Some sources claim he was buried on January 26, 1802, while his gravestone seems to say he died on Jan. 24, 1801. In this case, the gravestone should be believed over the other claims. Numerous issues of the Maryland Gazette in late January and early February 1801 and in 1802 turned up no results on Alexander. All that we have is an inscription on his tombstone as noted by one site

In memory of Col. Alexander Lawson Smith, who departed this life on the 24th of Jan. 1801, in the 48th year of his age.

While this pegs his birth in 1753, it is strange that he had no obituary within the Maryland Gazette considering his role in the war, not even in the January 29th issue. No other information is known.

After his death

In 1801, the House of Delegates reported that Alexander had been part of a petition to reopen a case between his wife and other petitioners in the Maryland Court of Appeals. It was first considered (as noted at the top of the page) and then later read and order to “lie on the table” (bottom of page). Hence, one could say that this law did not pass. Martha, his wife, was a part of numerous cases after that point, but it not known if any of them involved him, since he cannot be found within this page.

Thirty five years later, in 1836, Martha, who had remarried to a man named Samuel Jay, would petition the Maryland General Assembly for redress, and would be paid the half-pay of a captain “during her widowhood,” a time period which was not defined in the legislation:

Many years later, Alexander’s heirs would petition the US House of Representatives for additional redress, asking for pension payments.

Other than this, some would mention Alexander in their petition to public officials such as Henry Clay, and within the pension of William Elkins.

In later years, the Griffith family would go on to live in Arkansas. To this day, they are buried in Perryman’s Spesutia churchyard, within Harford County. [8] As for Alexander’s ancestors, they would later be living in Illinois, reportedly.

More information would have been added to this article but online searchings only brought up the above information, as did some other searches on the topic. Regardless, this a good start to future historical research on the topic.


[1] R. R. Griffith, Genealogy of the Griffith family: the descendants of William and Sarah Maccubbin Griffith (Baltimore, William K. Boyle, 1892), 282, 286, 288-290,  292. In Anne Arundel County there is a Griffith Family Cemetery. The claim about contributions of soldiers comes from William Neal Hurley’s The Griffith Families. The Griffith Family is also mentioned on numerous pages within Thomas Joseph Peterman‘s Catholics in Colonial Delmarva along with mentions in the Harford Historical Bulletin Subject Index. The Maryland Genealogical Society also reports that in Vol. 18, no. 3 there is a “Griffith Family Register” by Nettie Leitsch Major.

[2] Deed sold to Alexander Lawson Smith by Michael Allen, 1795, Harford County Court, Land Records, Liber JLG L, p. 365-366 [MSA CE113-11]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net.

[3] Second Census of the United States, 1800, District 2, Harford, Maryland, National Archives, NARA M32, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 11, Page 46. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.

[4] Mariana L.R. Dantas, Black Townsmen: Urban Slavery and Freedom in the Eighteenth-Century Americas (New York: Palgrave MacMillian, 2008), 176; Walter Wilkes Preston, History of Harford County, Maryland (Baltimore: Press of Sun Book Office, 1901), 89, 106, 271; Laws Made And Passed By The General Assembly of the State of Maryland in 1816 (Annapolis: Jonas Green, 1817), 94, 159; Harford County Court, Certificates of Freedom, 1806-1811 and 1818-1842, Archives of Maryland Online vol. 857, 46; Laying out vacant land for George Presbury of William, December 22, 1803, Harford County Circuit Court, Certificates, Unpatented, HA, Unpatented Certificate 111 [MSA S1222-111]. Courtesy of Plats.Net; Deed sold to George Presbury by Alexander L. Smith, Martha Smith, Frances Griffith, and Sarah Griffith, 1800, Harford County Court, Land Records, Liber JLG P, p. 104-105 [MSA CE113-15]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net. The land deed confirms that Martha’s father was Samuel Griffith, but was dead by this time, and that Martha’s last name was Griffith. As for the plat, it shows that Mr. Presbury owned a two-acre tract of land in Gunpowder Neck called Hugh’s Fortune, which just happened to border Tapley’s Neck, which he had owned after 1760. He may have also had royal ancestry while his family would have deep roots in Harford County for years to come as noted in William B. Marye’s “Place Names of Baltimore and Harford Counties” within Vol. 53, No. 3 of Maryland Historical Magazine, specifically focusing on pages 246-247, 249-252.

[5] If we are to take this conversion seriously, with 1.333 Maryland Pounds (pcm) equaling one pound sterling, then that would be about 795 pounds sterling. Using Measuring Worth, the relative real price is £58,910.00 in pounds, as of 2016. If you multiple this times the inflation rate of 2016-2017, 1.76, you get 103,681.6. In order to make a more even number, let’s round this to 103,682. Using XE Currency Converter, converting British pounds sterling into US dollars, it shows that this amount of British Pounds equals 134,489.42 or to round to a more even number, 134,489.

[6] Preston, History of Harford County, Maryland, 203; Richard D. Sears, Ancestors of Rev. John Gregg Fee, Matilda (Hamilton) Fee, and John Gregg Hanson (US: Lulu.com, 2007), 143. Indenture of executors of Samuel Griffith’s will to members of the Griffith family, Harford County Court, Land Records, Liber JLG P, p. 457-460 [MSA CE113-15]. Courtesy of mdlandrec.net. More information about the Smith family can likely be found from resources available from FamilySearch. While only a snippet of Sears’s book can be found on Google Books, one phrase from that section shows that Mr. Smith, Ms. Griffith, and Ms. Garretson are connected: “…Alexander Lawson Smith, his wife Martha Griffith, and his sister-in-law Frances Garretson

[7] William Bose Marye, “The Place Names of Baltimore and Harford Counties,” Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. 25, No. 4, Dec. 1930, p. 338, 358. Also, in the Archives Vertical Files Documents of the Harford County Historical Society, there is a cross-reference to Romney Royal within the “Aberdeen Proving Ground – Michaelsville & various tracts” folder as noted in page 221 of this PDF.

[8] Helen West Ridgely, Historic Graves of Maryland and the District of Columbia (New York: The Grafton Press, 1908), 95-97, 180-181. This book lists a number of Griffiths: Martha, Alexander L., Cordelia, John H., Hannah Emily, Emily, and Samuel. Even Col. Alexander Lawson Smith is buried there, described as dying on Jan 24, 1801 at 48 years old! two others are buried in Montgomery County: Capt. Samuel Griffith (May 7, 1752-May 12, 1833), H. Griffith (d. 1794, aged 73 years), E. Griffith (d. Oct. 1797, aged 33 years), Ruth Griffith (died 49 years old), and many others not listed here.

“…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.


[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.

“Ready to march Southward”: The story of the Maryland Extra Regiment

These brown-lined red coats were worn by the MD Extra Regiment. in 1780. Courtesy of Historic Art Prints.

Editor’s Note: This post uses information from biographies of Maryland soldiers John Plant, Josias Miller, Charles Smith, James Farnandis, and Samuel Luckett, assembled as part of the Finding the Maryland 400 research project of the Maryland State Archives. Three of these bios were written by yours truly, but one, Luckett’s, was written by the project manager, Owen Lourie, and the other by a previous researcher, Sean Baker. Content that is used here is used in correspondence with fair use requirements under copyright law and in the interest of promoting further historical scholarship. This post is part of a series about

The year was 1780. Maryland, one of the key states within the fledgling United States was called upon to alleviate the severe shortage of armed men for the Continental Army and reinforce it. This was because of casualties emanating from the battles as part of the Southern campaign. In the summer, Maryland’s generals, as ordered by the Council of Maryland filled the regiment, called the Extra Regiment, Regiment Extraordinary, or the New Regiment, with former deserters, “a detachment composed Chiefly of Men left at the Hospitals” and a few “Recruited for the old Regiments.” [1] Even though it comprised a motley crew, the regiment’s men still wore uniforms of red-lined brown coats.

This new regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Lawson Smith, a young man either in his 20s or 30s. Only one year earlier, he had been recommended for promotion by George Washington after receiving  recommendation from William Fitzhugh, a delegate representing Virginia in the Continental Congress. [2]

Samuel Luckett and Josias Miller, men in their twenties, a young man John Plant, mid-aged man Charles Smith, and a man named James Farnandis were among those in this new unit. These men were some of the remaining members of the “Maryland 400” who had fought in the Battle of Brooklyn so many years ago. In July, Luckett and Plant, both experienced soldiers, were made ensigns and later promoted to lieutenant in the fall. [3] While they experienced promotion, Miller joined the regiment as a lieutenant, and Smith as a captain, likely around the same time, or after, Luckett and Plant were promoted. [4] Still, becoming lieutenant, was, for Smith and Miller, a step up in rank from their previous positions in the Maryland Line. It is interesting that these combat veterans joined the regiment since it not only included former deserters, but also consisted of many who had little combat experience.

Regiment was slow to form. This was partially due to desertions from its ranks  and a lack of supplies. Before marching southward, the unit moved from Prince George’s County to Philadelphia, going to Head of Elk (present-day Elkton, Maryland), then going back down the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis to gain more recruits for the beleaguered unit. [5]

In August, Uriah Forest, a high-ranking military man of Maryland wrote to George Washington, describing the state of the regiment:

“[your letter] to the Commanding Officer of the Maryland additional Regt was put into my hands yesterday…they have assembled at this place…three hundred & thirty [recruits]—a hundred & fifty more are daily expected from the more distant Counties, Returns of which have already come to hand. The Gentleman appointed to Command this Regiment not having Joined, & the Men being entirely destitute of Cloathing of every kind, has render’d the Execution of your Excellency’s orders with regard to their Marching altogether impracticable. The State Clothier is now busily employed, in getting them fitted with Shirts, Overalls and Shoes…It is with Real Concern I observe to your Excellency that there is no Prospect of procuring Men to fill up the Regiments. Almost the whole of the Horses and some of the Waggons required of this State are Obtained. I have the honor to be with Perfect Respect”

From then onto to the early winter, the regiment stayed in Annapolis, the state capital, for a “considerable time.” In the fall, some portions of the regiment, with Charles Smith, a Captain, among them, fought a small battle with the British near modern-day Fort Washington, Maryland on the Potomac River. [6] This skirmish occurred at Digg’s Landing or Digges Point, land owned by John Digges, with Smith’s company of Continentals fighting a small group of British soldiers who severely wounded him in the face by a cannon ball, as the story goes, bouncing off a rock. [7] The British, not long after, set fire to Want Water, the nearby house of Colonel William Lyles. After marching about 3.5 miles to the house, the Continentals took several prisoners. [8]

The whole regiment, not just one company, like Smith’s, soon began to march southward. In December, after gaining the “necessary Clothing &c. to equip them for the March,” it began marching to join Horatio Gates and General Nathaniel Greene at the Continental Army’s headquarters, then in Hilsboro, North Carolina, to assist in the Southern Campaign. [9]

Once the unit arrived in North Carolina, in January, a number of problems developed. It refused to join the main Continental Army because of disputes over rank. [10] General Greene took the side of veteran officers, who took charge when commanders of the unit who had trained the unit’s soldiers, for the past six months, were dismissed. As a result, the unit changed into the Second Maryland Regiment before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781. As a result, many of the regiment’s senior members, including but not limited to, Luckett, Miller, Plant, Smith, and Farnandis, likely resigned in January since they could not retain their rank in the new unit. [11] Following this, these officers would , return home, away from the battlefront in the Southern United States. As John McCay put it, in his pension, “soon after the [extra] regiment broke up, the men transferred to fill other regiments and the Officers [from the extra regiment] were sent home,” an account confirmed by William Groves. With the officers leaving, the ordinary soldiers stayed in the 2nd Maryland regiment, fighting in the battle previously mentioned in this paragraph, and others that were part of the Southern campaign, with some discharged in Annapolis at the end of the war, ending their “public service.”

In the years that followed, after the dissolution of the regiment, each of the soldiers would go their separate ways. Plant, by 1783, would become a small farmer and slaveowner, owning two horses, one cattle, and one enslaved black child, while Miller would later live in Franklin County, Ohio, possibly on his bounty lands. [12] Smith, on the other hand, would be married to a sixteen-year-old woman, from Prince George’s County, Mary Bowling, and have three children named Benjamin, John, and Polly with her. [13] Farnandis also married and stayed in Charles County. However, he married for the second time after his first wife, Elizabeth, died, married a woman named Chloe McPherson. [14] Luckett also returned to his family. His wife, a woman named Monica Kennedy, whom he married before he left for war in 1776, he had two children with her, William and Francis H., before her death sometime in the 1780s. [15]

As for Alexander Lawson Smith, one of the co-founders of the Society of the Cincinnati, he had a similar, but different, story. He married a woman named Martha Griffith in 1792, the same year that his brother, Patrick Sim Smith, a well-off a merchant and legislator within the state, sold him eight enslaved blacks. [16] Eight years later, in 1800, he was still living in Harford County. He was with three young children under age 10 (two female, one male), and two young people aged 16-25 (one female, one male), along with 21 enslaved blacks, his with Martha likely among them. [17] He died in 1802. Later, he would be listed in many pension and bounty land warrant applications by those who were in his regiment during the war while his wife would get half-pay of a captain from the Treasurer of the Western Shore. [18]


[1] “To George Washington from Uriah Forrest, 17 August 1780,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017; Beverley Waugh Bond, State Government in Maryland, 1777-1781 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1905), 38; Journals of Congress: Containing the Proceedings from January 1, 1780 to January 1, 1781 (Philadelphia: David C. Claypoole, 1781), 341-342; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 216273; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 342, 361362;  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; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 5.

[2] In the footnote, it describes Smith as from Maryland’s Harford County, serving “as a captain in Col. Moses Rawlings’s independent rifle regiment with a commission dating from July 1776.” It also says that “Smith later served briefly as lieutenant colonel commandant of a “Regiment Extraordinary” that Maryland raised and then disbanded in September 1780.” This sentence is erroneous, which is not mentioned in the only other letter on Founders Online with his name, as this posts shows. In his article in Volume 4, Issue 1 (p. 67) in the Maryland Historical Magazine, Christopher Johnson, in one of the articles of his genealogical series on the “Smith Family of Calvert County,” it cites the 1785 session of the House of Delegates, but since there are two sessions which cover that year, both were checked and no mention of information from Mr. Smith was given to the House of Delegates during this time.

[3] Order to pay Lt. Samuel Luckett, 17 October 1780, Maryland State Papers, Series A, box 22, no. 22/24, MdHR 6636-22-22/24 [MSA S1004-29-2635, 1/7/3/38]; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 234, 272, 273, 326, 327, 336, 337, 339, 340; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 58; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 445.

[4] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 234, 235, 272, 273; 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; Josias Miller Service Card (Regiment Extraordinary), Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 15, Roll 0408. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Order to pay and recript by Josias Miller, February 21, 1782, Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-44-41/14 [MSA S1004-60-13467, 1/7/3/53]; Pension of Charles Smith; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 233, 234; Order to pay Captain Charles Smith, October 24, 1780, Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-22-24/40 [MSA S1004-29-8019, 1/7/3/38]; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781-1784, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 48, 83.

As late as September 1780, the remaining roster rolls say that Miller had not joined the Regiment Extraordinary as an ensign. However, a pay receipt from 1782 shows that he was in this regiment and probably enlisted in October of that year. The pay order of Smith shows he was a captain in October 1780.

[5] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 24, 25, 56.

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

[7] Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1732-1753, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 28, 553; Pension of Charles Smith; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 47, 192, 197, 198. The first phase of the battle was near present-day Fort Washington while the second phase was at the Lyles House on a tributary of the Potomac River, Broad Creek. The house was constructed by an influential protestant family in Maryland, the Addison family. The remains of this structure exist near Harmony Hall, which is still standing today. Interestingly, the only mention of the house being burned was in April 1781 when Governor Lee was told the following: “Yesterday a Sixteen Gun Brig appeared off Swann Point & sent a Boat with six hands to destroy a vessel on the Stocks near that place eight Militia under Col Harris attacked them and took the Boat & Crew, the Prisoners are Ordered to Annapolis. This morning all the enemys vessels which were above sailed down Potomack and were below Cedar Point at eleven O’clock — they have done no damage since I last wrote you, except destroying Col Lyles house of which you have no doubt been informed I expect we shall have frequent visits from these plundering Banditts & hope we will so well prepare as to repel their attack that they will find the business as unprofitable as it is disgraceful. We thank your Excellency and Council for your kind attention in forwarding the Arms.” No other mention could be found in the Archives of Maryland, meaning that this letter still does not invalidate the stories in Smith’s pension. Digges’s Landing could also be owned by George Digges, later a delegate in a Maryland House of Delegates for Prince George’s County.

[8] Pension of Charles Smith.

[9] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 335336; 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; Josias Miller Service Card (First Maryland Regiment); 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; 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; Resolutions, laws, and ordinances, relating to the pay, half pay, commutation of half pay, bounty lands, and other promises made by Congress to the officers and soldiers of the Revolutionto the settlement of the accounts between the United States and the several states; and to funding the revolutionary debt (Washington: Thomas Allen, 1838), 415-416, 490. Other Maryland 400 veterans included Matthew Garner, Samuel Hanson (whose father was undoubtedly Walter, who said this son, an officer, was a prisoner in April 1781),  Charles Magruder, Vachel Burgess, Francis Shepard, and John Bryan. Another man who was in the regiment was Jacob Bythe.

[10] Lawrence E. Babits and Joshua B. Howard, Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 70-71, 148; Robert K. Wright, Jr., The Continental Army (Washington D.C.: Center of Military History, 1983), 278; Patrick O’Kelley, Nothing But Blood and SlaughterThe Revolutionary War in the Carolinas Vol. 3: 1781 (Lillington, NC: Blue House Tavern Press, 2005), 504.

[11] Order to pay Lt. Samuel Luckett, 25 May 1781, Maryland State Papers, Series A, box 32, no. 109B, MdHR 6636-32-109B [MSA S1004-42-603, 1/7/3/46]; Order to pay and receipt by Captain Charles Smith, March 29, 1781, Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-32-65/2 [MSA S1004-29-8019, 1/7/3/45]; Order to Pay Captain Charles Smith, November 30, 1781, Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-33-112/3 [MSA S1004-44-12571, 1/7/3/47];

[12] John Plant assessment record, 1783, General Assembly House of Delegates, Assessment Record, CH, Seventh District, General, p. 9 [MSA S1161-52, 1/4/5/48]; Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awared by State Governments (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2005), xxii-xxiv; Cyclopedia of American Government Vol I (ed. Andrew Cunningham McLaughlin and Albert Bushnell Hart, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1914), 168; C. Albert White, A History of the Rectangular Survey System (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Land Management, 1991, reprint), 10; William T. Martin, History of Franklin CountyA Collection of Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of the County; with Biographical Sketches, and a Complete History of the County to the Present Time (Columbus: Follett, Foster, & Company, 1858), 12; 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; Report from the Secretary of War (Washington: Duff Green, 1835), 58; Letter from the Secretary of War (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1820), 642; Letter from the Secretary of War (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1820), 642; Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. 4: Mid-Western States (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1968, reprint from 1835), 184; Mark Andrew Tacyn “’To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 318. Bounty lands were concentrated in Ohio and Kentucky. The child was male and under age eight.

[13] Pension of Charles Smith; Will of Charles Smith, 1788, Charles County Register of Wills, Wills, MdHR 7290-1, Liber AH 9, p. 549, 550, 551 [MSA C681-10, 1/8/10/10].

[14] Charles County, Court, Land Records, V3 p. 303 [MSA C 670-35]; Charles County, Register of Wills, Wills, 1788-1791, AI 10, p. 386 [MSA C 681-11]; Charles County, Register of Wills, Wills, 1791-1801, AK 11, p. 333 [MSA C 681-12]; Charles County, Register of Wills, Wills, AI 10, p. 386 [MSA C 681-11].

[15] Newman, 61-62; Pension of Samuel Luckett, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, S 36,015. From Fold3.com; U.S. Federal Census, 1790, Charles County, Maryland; U.S. Federal Census, 1810, Fayette County, Kentucky; U.S. Federal Census, 1820, Barren County, Kentucky.

[16] A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al., Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 426, 747, 748. This account of selling of enslaved blacks is further confirmed by the 1790 census which lists a Patrick Smith as owning three enslaved blacks and living in Hartford County (First Census of the United States, 1790, Harford, Maryland, NARA M637, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 3, page 98. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest). Reportedly, Across the Years in Prince George’s County” by Effie Gwynn Bowie, and Vol. I of ” Early Families of Southern Maryland” mention Smith, but these books cannot be currently accessed and even if they could, it would only be a mediocre secondary source.

[17]  Second Census of the United States, 1800, District 2, Harford, Maryland, NARA M32, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, Roll 11, Page 46. Courtesy of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest. The 1790 census has 34 entries for people with the last name of Smith living in Harford, Maryland. Hence, he could have been related to any of these individuals. the 1800 census, where he is only listed as “Alexander Smith” is more straightforward. Other than this, Smith’s ancestry is not although clear, but confirmed by the Biographical Dictionary cited in Note 16.

[18] While some accounts say that he died in 1801, like Founders Online and Find A Grave, Christopher Johnson in “Smith Family of Calvert County,” (p. 385), an article in Volume 3, issue 4 of the Maryland Historical Magazine, describes Smith as one of 10 children (all with the last name of Smith: Patrick, 1742-1792; Richard, Dr. Clement, 1756-1831; Dr. Joseph Sim, ?-Sept 5, 1822; John Addison, unmarried sea-captain; Mary Sim, married Henry Huntt of Calvert County; Susanna, unmarried and died in 1824, and Rachel, unmarried and died in 1824) of Dr. Clement Smith (1718-1792) and Barbara Sim. It also says that Smith was born in 1754 and died in January 1802. Those dates cannot be independently confirmed beyond this article. The only other place they are mentioned is in Johnson’s  article in Volume 4, Issue 1 (p. 67-68) in the Maryland Historical Magazine, one of the articles within his genealogical series on the “Smith Family of Calvert County,” in which he says that Smith was (1) born in 1754 and died in January, 1802, (2) was “commissioned Captain in the Maryland Line 13 July, 1776,” (3) “was promoted to major in 1778,” (4)  that after the war Smith settled in Harford County, buried there on Jan. 26, 1802 as noted by St. George’s Register which is undoubtedly within this, (5) he married Martha Griffith (Sept. 16, 1771-Aug. 4, 1847) who later married Samuel Jay, and (6) Smith and Martha had three children: Samuel Griffith Smith (Dec. 25, 1794-?) who was unmarried, Francina Frenetta Smith (Nov. 10, 1797-Feb. 10, 1860) who was unmarried, and Mary Matilda Smith (Jul. 1, 1799-Sept. 14, 1860) who was unmarried. There are numerous other sources that mention Smith. A search of Google Books shows him mentioned on: page 603 of The Papers of Henry Clay: The Rising Statesman 1815–1820, Volume 2; page 364 of The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript, Volume 14; pages 229 to 230 of Congressional Series of United States Public Documents, Volume 462; page 88 of United States Congressional serial set, Issue 343; pages 328, 552 and 555 of the Journal of the Proceedings of the House of Delegates of the State of Maryland in 1838; pages 105, 128, 129, 216, and 331 of History of Harford County, Maryland: From 1608 and many others of which one can only see snippets.

From the Revolutionary War to the 1790s: the Creek Nation in the Southern Gulf Region

A map of indigenous nations before the ‘Trail of Tears’ courtesy of Pinterest.

Where we last left off, I wrote about how Gaither, a veteran of the Maryland 400, had served “seven years on the Georgian frontier, and two years in the Mississippi Territory as a U.S. Army officer” in which he was involved in numerous incidents on the frontier of Georgia, with disputes between the Creek Nation (Muskogee), other indigenous nations, and Georgian inhabitants. Specifically I told the stories of an incident in 1793 at the fork of the Tallahatchie River, reports of  robbery and murder of two Whites on the St. Mary’s River later that year and anger among the Creek Nation after James Seagrove, US Ambassador to the Creek Nation, called for retribution. Beyond this, I told the story of Major General Elijah Clarke’s failed expedition to invade Spanish territory in Louisiana in mid-1794, alarming even George Washington’s government, and Gaither at the end of his life, serving on the Mississippi River, and dying in 1811, at age 61 on a Washington D.C. plantation. A relatively new book by Early American/”North American borderlands” historian Kathleen DuVal titled Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution sheds light on the Creek Nation, which is even reviewed positively in the New York Times by Woody Holton and the post-war environment on the new frontier.

Before the revolutionary war, the Creek, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Nations spread from the Gulf Coast into the interior of the North American continent. [1] While these nations dominated the Southern Gulf (of Mexico) Coast region, the Choctaws likely had the biggest population, numbering, likely, twenty thousand by the early 1700s, in contrast to the five thousand Chickasaw and ten thousand Creek at the same time. [2] By the 1770s, Payamataha, chief of the Chickasaw, had made peace with the Choctaws, Cherokees, Catawbas, Creeks, and Quapaws, other nearby indigenous nations, while Creek-Chickasaw peace, starting in 1760s, continued to flourish. [3] As for the Creeks, the main focus of this story, they had a unique form of government. Living in the river valleys in a region that would become the present-day states of Alabama and Georgia, the Creeks, divided into the Lower Creeks and Upper Creeks comprised a loose confederation of 60 towns which had their own farms and lesser towns in their jurisdiction, with limited consultation on foreign policy and defense. [4] While this meant that each town or clan had the decision to go to war, engage in diplomacy, or create new towns,with a broad spread of governance, most of those in the towns spoke “related languages” and had “similar cultural practices and beliefs” to fellow members of the society. [5]

One man, named Alexander McGillivray, tried to change this. McGillivray, born into a matrilineal Creek society, with his mother, Sehoy Marchand, and maternal uncle, Red Shoes, was multi-racial because his father was a Scottish highlander and trader named Lachlan McGillivray. [6] He soon tried to gain an important role in the world of Creek politics and society. However, he had trouble persuading the Creek people as a whole to succeed against the British not only because “no one could dictate foreign policy to even one Creek town of clan, much less the loose Creek Confederacy” but he was not a Creek headman and proven warrior. [7] Additionally, the British, seemed be fighting against the Continental Army and pro-revolutionary individuals, but not against settlers, leading certain US individuals to try and sway the Creeks, complicating McGillivray’s attempts at diplomacy and persuasion of the Creek people. Apart from this changing aim, the Creek-British alliance seemed to go forward despite failed efforts at British-indigenous coordination, especially in 1778, leading to tension among the indigenous nations such as the Creeks and Chickasaws who fought alongside the British. [8] Additionally, the minds of the Creek people were taken off the war for a number of reasons. For one, the spread of smallpox across the continent limited the ability of the Creeks to contribute especially since they quarantined fellow indigenous (and British) towns infected by smallpox, and the involvement of the French and Spanish in the revolutionary war led to less inclination to be involved in an inter-empire conflict. [9]

By 1781, as the siege of Pensacola, then a town within colonial British Florida, seemed imminent, with the approach of a Spanish fleet, people’s hopes were scattered, depending on the groups of people affected. For McGillivray, who “hoped for personal glory and Creek victory,” he had trouble getting the Creeks to fight the Spaniards but succeeded by stressing stressed Creek interests in the war and “opportunities for glory on the Gulf coast.” [10] Not everyone was convinced, however, as some Creeks went to the Spanish as a show of strength and attempt an alliance, but this failed not only because of the unification on foreign policy, like the Chickasaws, and because the two parties (Spanish and Creek) could not come to an agreement. [11] In a united front, January 8, 1781, Maryland and Pennsylvania loyalists fought alongside hundreds of Lower Creeks and Choctaws on an attack on a Spanish post at the “Village, which was on the other side of bay from Mobile. [12] In the attack, ending in a clear Spanish victory, Daniel Higgins of Maryland Loyalist Regiment, could have been among those who fought, along with many other loyalists from Maryland and Pennsylvania. [13] There were two other complicating factors. For one, despite the fact that about 1,700 soldiers under the command of General John Campbell, who had been in British West Florida since 1778, the city’s defense depended on warriors from the Chickasaw, Creek, and Choctaw nations since reinforcements had not arrived. [14] The other factor was that many Creeks were tired of the British treating them poorly, with some questioning McGillivray’s motives, since he was paid as a British agent, but he was successful yet again in countering them by saying that “cultivating interdependence with the British would facilitate Creek protection of their eastern border, where the British were fighting the Creeks’ most hated enemies, Georgians and Virginians” as DuVal notes. [15]

On May 8, the Spanish, helped by the French, were victorious in their siege, as the city of Pensacola surrendered. Generally this meant that “the British had lost a colony that had not rebelled” and it would lead to a British decision to  “recognize American independence before things got any worse.” [16] As Ray Raphael has pointed out, even after the Battle of Yorktown, resulting in the British surrender of Lord Cornwallis’s almost 7,000 troops, on October 17, the war was far from over despite what “conventional wisdom” says. Not only was King George III not ready to capitulate, but Washington was worried of future British advances, and peace was not even proposed by British military commanders until August 1782, with a preliminary peace treaty signed on November 30 of the same year. [17] Compounding this was a total of 47,000 British soldiers stationed in New York, Canada, South Carolina, Georgia, and the West Indies, “four times as many as those serving in the Continental Army.” [18] It is worth also noting that Washington was worried about a separate peace treaty between British and France, dooming the colonies, that over 300 revolutionary soldiers dying after Yorktown, the global nature of the American Revolutionary War, the “strategic retreat” rather than surrender by the British, which tells more of the story than acting like the battle at Yorktown was the end of the war. [19]

For the Creeks the was also not over. As the Creeks left Pensacola before Spanish victory, they instructed Alexander Cameron to describe Creek commitment and bravery during the siege, especially the “details of Creek and Choctaw participation,” in a letter to the British in Georgia. [20] Apart from this, the Creeks and their allies fought even harder. Hundreds of Continental soldiers were killed until the final peace agreement in 1783 and the fight against US settlers moving westward intensified as the British were pulling out of their colonies. [21] While the British, Spanish, French, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, had seemed like bigger players in the war in the Southern Gulf region than the revolutionaries/”rebels,” the postwar arrangement would change all that. [22]

The Treaty of Paris, actually negotiated, in part, in the Versailles Palace, was signed by the US and Britain, with France and Spain begrudgingly accepting it. Angriest of all were the Creeks, Chickasaws, and Cherokees. In a letter to the Spanish King,these indigenous chiefs, brought together by McGillivray, said that the Treaty was not valid. They argued that the British ceded land they never possessed and that the Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee were nations of indigenous people who had independence and natural rights. [23] To complete this insult, the US government under the Articles of Confederation, made a broad assertion. They declared that indigenous nations between the Appalachians and Mississippi were not sovereign nations but aggressors in the war. [24] Essentially, this denied “independent sovereignty” of indigenous nations, which had been accepted by the British and Spanish in their negotiations with such nations, especially during the Revolutionary War.

In the years after the war, there were a number of changes. For one, McGillivray  went back to the town his mother was living, staying there with his family as his   British connections had become irrelevant. [25] Around the same time, Hoboithle Miko, also called the Tame King, Tallassee King, and Halfway-House King, the latter which recognized his role in negotiating good terms for those on both sides, of Great Tallassee, an Upper Creek town, and Niko Miko of Cussita, a Lower Creek town, led the negotiations with North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia since the British gave St. Augustine to the Spanish, along with broadly removing themselves from the region. [26] In terms of diplomacy, McGillivray led the way, helping push forward an alliance and trade with the Spanish, at a time that large numbers of Americans settling in lands claimed by Spanish and indigenous people. [27] The Creeks also experienced the unfriendly nature of the new United States first hand. When Hoboithle Miko and Niko Miko attended a meeting of the Georgia legislature, in 1783, to try to maintain good relations with the United States, a treaty was quickly negotiated. [28] While Georgians thought it was valid, Creeks from only a few towns out of the 60 were there, meaning that it held no weight, but the Georgians did not realize this, possibly because of their ignorance of Creek customs, leading to tension. On the same token, while the idea of “advantageous independence,” which DuVal defines as people trying to “establish a balance in which they might have more control over dependent relationships,” expressed itself most strongly in the postwar period, just like during the war, a planter culture developed. [29] This culture, in which Creeks were slaveowners, created a disparity in the Creek Nation which hadn’t been seen before despite its existence in the nation for many years before.

In the following years, McGillivray tried to steer the Creek Nation in a more nationalist direction. First off, an alliance between the Creek and Spanish  recognized sovereignty on both sides and “mutually beneficial trade,” giving the Creeks a “European ally.” [30] Secondly, McGillivray tried to centralize the foreign policy of the Creek Nation, recognizing that  it would be more effective if this was implemented in “conjunction with other southeastern nations and even Indians to the north,” trying to create a Southern Confederacy, even as this proved exceedingly difficult. [31] Thirdly, McGillivray presented to the world, but especially to the Europeans and Americans, a strong nationalist statement. While he didn’t want the Creek Nation to become a U.S. state, he did develop “a language of independent nationhood that carried particular weight with late-eighteenth century Europeans and Americans” with his explicit claims that the Creeks governed their “own independent nation.” [32] This went beyond the arrangement in the past were issues of Creek governance were debated internally instead of projected to other governments.

As Western expansion continued, Creeks began to be nervous. With Georgians encroaching on Creek hunting lands, and they were harder to remove, the Creek National Council took up arms in their defense, along with beginning to engage in small-scale raids into Georgia starting in 1785. [33] Not only did this lead to tension, but the Georgians seemed aloof by the attacks, not understanding their role and they attempted to negotiate. Adding to this was the complications that Spain faced in white US settlers entering disputed lands in Creek Country since it was not technically Spanish land, and Georgians had major claims, even as they secretly funded the actions of the Creeks. [34]

Tension between the Spanish and Creek Nation began to grow. When the Spanish welcomed immigration from the newly created United States of America, with the Creeks seeing no value in this. [35] McGillivray was hurt by these developments as he worked on gaining connections in the United States, gaining a truce with Georgia, along with other diplomacy to force the hand of Spain. Due to these strained relations, the Creeks were glad to hear that the British were involved in the region again. As a result, they tried to gain British connections, with supplies to the Creek nation, but this faltered due to the false promises by William Augustus Bowles, a former member of the Maryland Loyalist Regiment. [36] By 1788, the situation had changed as the Spanish had reversed their previous decision. They had begun to supply the Creeks with weapons. They sent  weapons, which helped them wage “wars against the United States through the War of 1812 and beyond.” [37] It is worth noting that the Creek Nation was by no stretch a colony of the Spanish or the British, but engaged in their own independent foreign policy, like the other indigenous nations at the time.

By the 1790s, the McGillivray’s influence in the Creek Nation seemed to waning. While the Creeks continued truce with US [38], until a new government was inaugurated in 1791 with the end of ratification, McGillivray signed a Congressional treaty. The document set the border between the Creek Nation and Georgia at the Oconee River which many Creeks thought was too much of a compromise, as did Georgians about the terms put forward by the administration of George Washington. [39] There was additional tension. In 1791, a Creek and Cherokee delegation to London said that the Creeks and Cherokees were united into one with the Chickasaws and Choctaws also swayed by the Council’s measures. [40] However, the Choctaws and Chickasaws did not agree, leading to increased friction among the indigenous nations. On February 17, 1793, he died  in Pensacola, with his first and second wives mourning him and his plantations distributed among his children. [41]

DuVal’s book, in terms of historical narrative, basically ends there, with some exceptions. She notes that by 1814, few Creeks came to defend Pensacola because “a few months earlier Jackson’s forces had fought alongside one Creek faction to defeat another in a disastrous civil war.” [42] She also adds that in 1834, which may have seemed unthinkable in 1793, the US “forcibly removed most Creeks across the Mississippi” with the Chickasaws only held out a few years longer. [43] Near the end, she says that the remove of Creeks and Chickasaws from their homelands “in the 1830s took their county but not their nationhood” but that Native American sovereignty has had a resurgence in recent years. [44]

Some readers may be wondering how this all ties to Henry Chew Gaither, a revolutionary war veteran and Marylander who was a major of the First Regiment of the U.S. Army from 1791 to 1792 and Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the Third Sub-Legion from 1793 to 1802. The truth is that he likely never met McGillivray, since he died in the sixth month of Gaither’s deployment. Even so, the history of this article is directly relevant to the experience of Gaither while spent time on the Georgian frontier, until he went to Fort Adams, which sat alongside the Mississippi River in 1800, staying until 1802, when he finally retired from the military for good. In the end, even though Gaither is not part of this story, the connections to the Maryland Loyalist Regiment and expansion of the history of the Southern Gulf Region makes DuVal’s book valuable for understanding the Early American period while informing the happenings of the present.


[1] Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (New York: Random House, 2015), xvii.

[2] Ibid, 9, 13.

[3] Ibid, 17, 19.

[4] Ibid, xviii,  xxii, 9, 25-26. The Upper Creeks lived “along the Alabama, Coosa, and Tallapoosa rivers in present-day Alabama” and the Lower Creeks  near “the Chattahoochee River, the present-day border between Alabama and Georgia” as DuVal notes.

[5] Ibid, 25-27.

[6] Ibid, xviii, 24-25.

[7] Ibid, 77-81.

[8] Ibid, 85-87, 99, 115.

[9] Ibid, 165-166, 176.

[10] Ibid, xxv-xxvi, 177-178.

[11] Ibid, 181, 185-186. DuVal writes that among the Choctaws there was broad disagreement with some joining the Spanish and others the British.

[12] Ibid, 167, 182.

[13] Higgins was related to Peter Higgins of the Fourth Independent Company, which had Archibald Anderson as its First Lieutenant and James Hindman as its Captain. While it is possible that Barnet Turner, a veteran of the Maryland 400, was part of the Maryland Loyalist Regiment, he had deserted in 1778, three years before the fighting near Pensacola. Looking this up more in-depth, the Maryland Historical Society seems to have the muster rolls of the Maryland Loyalist Regiment in 1782, the Canadian Archives seems to have some records, there’s a 1778 Orderly Book of the Maryland Loyalists (along with other Ancestry databases here and here), relevant documents on the regiment transcribed here, this muster list, parts of this book, this orderly book, bits and pieces noted here, some results in the Journal of the American Revolution, and so on.

[14] Ibid, 194, 196, 205; George C. Osborn, “Major-General John Campbell in British West Florida,” The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 4, p. 318, 332, 339.

[15] Ibid, 206-208.

[16] Ibid, 218.

[17] Ray Raphael, Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past (New York: The New Press, 2004), 211-214.

[18] Ibid, 214.

[19] Ibid, 215-225.

[20] DuVal, 217.

[21] Ibid, 228-229.

[22] Ibid, 128.

[23] Ibid, 236.

[24] Ibid, 236-237.

[25] Ibid, 246-247.

[26] Ibid, 247, 251.

[27] Ibid, xv, 248.

[28] Ibid, 250-253.

[29] Ibid, xxi, 249.

[30] Ibid, 257-258, 260.

[31] Ibid, 295-296.

[32] Ibid, 254-255.

[33] Ibid, 298-301.

[34] Ibid, 310-311.

[35] Ibid, 323, 326-327.

[36] Ibid, 327-329.

[37] Ibid, 341.

[38] Ibid, 332.

[39] Ibid, 342.

[40] Ibid, 304.

[41] Ibid, 343.

[42] Ibid, 340.

[43] Ibid, 343-344.

[44] Ibid, 350.

Barton Lucas: well-off Cadet, Ensign, and Captain

Battlefields of the Seven Years War, courtesy of this website.

Reposted from Academia.edu. I originally wrote this biography when I was working at the Maryland State Archives for the Finding the Maryland 400 project.

Barton Lucas, a captain of the Third Company of the First Maryland Regiment, was born, according to some sources, in 1730, in Prince George’s County. His father was Thomas Lucas and mother Anne Keene. Barton had four siblings named Basil, Margaret, Thomas, and Sarah. [1]

Lucas served in the Seven Years’ War (1754-1763) which had Britain, France and indigenous people as combatants, resulting in transfer of northern parts of America and Canada from France to Britain. [2] In 1758, he signed on as a cadet, a military officer in waiting, in Joshua Bell’s Company and he soon was a ensign in Captain Alexander Beall’s Maryland Company, for which he received modest pay. [3] Maryland troops fought at the battle of Fort Duquesne in September of that year, joined by South Carolinian troops, to fend off indigenous attacks, but the English were defeated and Marylanders covered their retreat. [4] During these military engagements, Lucas was injured. [5]

In 1762, Lucas married Priscilla Sprigg, whose last name changed to Lucas after their marriage. His “beloved wife” Priscilla, “Prisey,” was born in 1735 to Osborn Sprigg, a Maryland legislator, and Rachel Belt, and was one of five siblings. [6] In 1756, Lucas’s father died, willing 112 acres and his plantation to Lucas. [7] In the 1750s and 1760s, Barton bought and sold enslaved blacks for his plantation. [8]

During the Revolutionary War, Lucas, a prominent community figure and combat veteran, served in the military. He was recommended as a field officer to a Battalion “on the upper part of the Patuxent” in 1775, however, he likely never served in this capacity since he was chosen in January of the next year as a Captain of the Third Company of Col. William Smallwood‘s Maryland Battalion. [9] In the summer of 1776, this Maryland regiment marched to New York and was put under the command of Gen. George Washington.

At the Battle of Brooklyn, the First Maryland Regiment, especially companies led by Lucas, Daniel Bowie, Peter Adams, Benjamin Ford, and Edward Veazey, later called the Maryland 400, held off the British while the rest of the Continental Army escaped Long Island to safety. While Lucas’s company played a key role in the Battle of Brooklyn, on August 27, 1776 with sixty percent of his company killed, Lucas was ill and could not participate in the battle itself. [10] John Hughes, a private in his company, said years later that “Capt. Barton Lucas became deranged in consequence of losing his company.” Still listed as ill, after the battle, Lucas was returned home and later resigned on October 11, 1776. However, Lucas rejoined the military as a colonel in the Prince George’s County Militia from 1777-1778. [11]

After his military service, Lucas settled down to his plantation in Prince George’s County. Existing records show that enslaved blacks, plantation tools, and farm animals were part of his overall property. [12] At his death, sometime between April 8, 1784 and May 16, 1785, in Prince George’s County, he was still called a colonel and much of his property value consisted of enslaved blacks. [13]

– Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016.


[1] Will of Thomas Lucas, 1765, Prerogative Court, Wills, Liber BT2, p. 114, MdHR 1308-1. [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038].

[2] John Frost, Pictorial Life of General Washington: Embracing a Complete History of the Seven Years War, the Revolutionary War, The Formation of the Federal Constitution, and the Administration of Washington (Philadelphia: Lery, Getz & Co., 1860), 52, 65, 106.

[3] Letter to George Washington from Captain Nathaniel Ewing, 9 March 1779. Founders Online. National Archives; Orderly Book, 10 November 1758. Founders Online. National Archives; Letter to George Washington from Robert Stewart, 25 February 1762. Founders Online. National Archives; Archives of Maryland, vol. 61, pp. 392; Archives of Maryland vol. 59, pp. 54, 159, 170, 173, 196-7, and 251; “French and Indian War: Roster of Maryland Troops, 1757-1759 [Calvert Papers].” Maryland Historical Magazine 5, no. 3 (1910): 281; Maryland State Papers (Scharf Collection). 1759-1801. Certification of military service on the frontier [2/19/1767]. S1005 [MSA S1005-57-2, 1/8/5/44].

[4] Joshua Dorsey Warfield, The founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland: A genealogical and biographical review from wills, deeds and church records (Baltimore: Kohn & Pollack, 1905), 213; “French and Indian War: Roster of Maryland Troops, 1757-1759 [Calvert Papers],” Maryland Historical Magazine 5, no.3, (1910): 272; Mary K. Meyer, “Genealogica Marylandia: MARYLAND MUSTER ROLLS 1757-1758.” Maryland Historical Magazine 70, no. 2 (1975): 225; Mary K. Meyer, “Genealogica Marylandia: MARYLAND MUSTER ROLLS 1757-1758.” Maryland Historical Magazine 70, no. 1 (1975): 107.

[5] Archives of Maryland vol. 61, page 392.

[6] Effie G. Bowie, Across the Years in Prince George’s County: Genealogical and Biographical History of Some Prince George’s County, Maryland and Allied Families (Richmond: Garrett and Massie, Inc., 1947), 595; “Sprigg Family,” Maryland Historical Magazine. 8 (1913): 80; Edward C. Papenfuse, Alan F. Day, David W. Jordan, and Gregory A. Stiverson. “Sprigg, Osborn.”  A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789. Vol. 2: I-Z (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1985), 763; Special Collections, Legislative History Project Collection, Osborn Sprigg (ca. 1741-1815) [MSA SC 1138-001-1160/1177, 2/11/12/72]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1765, Liber TT, p. 0338-9 [MSA CE65-19, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET].

[7] Will of Thomas Lucas, 1765, Prerogative Court, Wills, Liber BT2, pp. 114, MdHR 1308-1. [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038].

[8] Will of Thomas Lucas, 1765, Prerogative Court, Wills, Liber BT2, pp. 114, MdHR 1308-1. [MSA S538-44, 1/11/01/038]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1765, Liber TT, p. 0338-9 [MSA CE65-19, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1759, Liber PP, p. 0093, 0144, 0321-2 [MSA CE65-17, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1772, Liber BB 3, p. 0068, 0085 [MSA CE65-22, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET]; Prince George’s County Court, Land Records, 1775, Liber CC 2, p. 0135 [MSA CE65-23, accessed via MDLANDREC.NET].

[9] “Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution,” Archives of Maryland vol. 18, pp. 9; Archives of Maryland vol. 78, pp. 67 and 93; Archives of Maryland vol. 12, pp. 16; Archives of Maryland vol. 11, 92, 169, and 406.

[10] Fragments of letter of an Unknown Patriot Soldier (September 1, 1776), The Sprit of ‘Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants (ed. Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris. New York: Harper and Row, 1967), 440 [0/60/3/35]. Fully reprinted in Henry Onderdonk, Revolutionary Incidents of Suffolk and Kings Counties (New York: Levitt & Company, 1849), 147-8.

[11] “Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution.” Archives of Maryland vol. 18, pp. 333; Archives of Maryland vol. 16, pp. 532.

[12] Prince George’s County Commissioners of the Tax, Assessment Record, Rock Creek Hundred, personal property, MdHR 40220-24 [MSA C1162-10, 1/21/10/011]; Will of Barton Lucas, Prince George’s County, Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, October 1785, MdHR 9791 [MSA C1146-4, 1/25/08/003].

[13] At her death in October 1785, Priscilla’s will listed one enslaved black woman and named her next of kin. Will of Priscilla Lucas, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Administration Bonds, October 1785, MdHR 9791 [MSA C1146-4, 1/25/08/003]; Inventories of Precilla Lucas and Col. Barton Lucas, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Inventories, Liber ST, pp. 337-40, MdHR 9799 [MSA C1228-9, 1/25/09/001]; Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Administration Accounts, 1791, Liber ST 1, p. 376, MdHR 9805 [MSA C1144-4, 1/25/10/015]; Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Administration Accounts, Liber ST 2, p. 6, MdHR 18865 [MSA C1144-6, 1/25/10/017]; Will of Barton Lucas, 1784, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Wills, Liber T1, p. 216, MdHR 9725-1 [MSA C1326-3, 1/25/07/004]