We are exploring the lengthy, sworn statement that my fourth great-grandfather Philip Myers made in 1832, when he applied for a pension as a Revolutionary War veteran.
As before, if you would like to view the entire handwritten document, click here.
It is true that the events described took place more than 50 years earlier, and Philip’s memory at age 72 may have been less than perfect. He freely admitted to not recalling the names of some officers in his companies. However, the detail he did provide is quite remarkable, and includes several facts I readily verified from historical sources on the war. Square brackets [ ] indicate editorial additions.
That while residing in Frederick he enlisted in the state Militia for the term of two months on some of the last seven days in the year 1776, in a company commanded by Captain Abraham Huff. (The other officers of the company he does not recollect.) The company joined the regiment of militia commanded by Col. Charles Beatty of Frederick County and marched from there through Lancaster where he saw the Hessian prisoners, 918 in number, and through Philadelphia where they assisted to bury Gen [Hugh] Mercer killed at Princeton; crossed the Delaware at a ferry above Trenton and marched to Morris County New Jersey where he remained with his company until his term of service expired. His regiment was then attached to the brigade of militias commanded by Gen Ths. Johnson, then, he thinks, Governor of Maryland. [Thomas Johnson, the state of Maryland’s first governor, officially took office March 21, 1777.] Gen. Washington’s headquarters were then at Morristown, but his brigade were living in small detachments among the inhabitants of Morris County. About the first of March 1777 the term of service of the whole brigade expired, and [they] returned to Maryland without any written evidence of their service. He [Philip] does not recollect any of the officers of the brigade it was so seldom they were all together. He was in no battles this time.
Thus ended Philip’s first two-month enlistment. Note that when he joined up, he was barely sixteen years of age. Just a few months after coming home, and before his seventeenth birthday, Philip re-upped. This time, he would see combat.
About the first of September following (1777) this applicant again volunteered his services for the term of two months, into the company of state militia commanded by the same Capt. Abraham Huff, Lieut. _____ Weaver, and Michael Grant, and Ensign Christian Ramsburgh, who afterwards, on their march to Germantown, deserted and was cashiered for cowardice. From Frederick the company marched to Germantown in Pa, where it was engaged in the battle in that place [Oct. 4]. It was then attached to the regiment of militia commanded by Col. Baker Johnson / brother of the Governor of Maryland. The other officers of the regiment he does not recollect. He [also] does not recollect that this regiment was attached to any brigade, but on the day of the battle [of Germantown] his Col., with those of other regiments (who he does not recollect), was under the command of Gen. [William] Smallwood. After the battle his regiment encamped near Germantown where it remained until its term of service expired, about the first of November. During this time his regiment made no long marches. In the battle of Germantown his Captain was wounded & his Lieut., Grant, was killed. [He] thinks that none of the higher officers of the regiment were killed or wounded. He was discharged without any written evidence of his services.
The battle of Germantown was a major defeat for General George Washington, ensuring the continued British occupation of Philadelphia (the Revolutionary capitol) through the winter of 1777-1778, while Washington’s army camped in abject misery at Valley Forge. Mercifully, this did not include Philip’s militia, whose term had expired. In addition to the two officers named by Philip, a number of enlisted men in his company were no doubt among the 122 killed and 404 wounded on the Patriots’ side at Germantown. For further information, I refer you to Wikipedia’s extensive article on the battle.
Next: Philip’s third and last militia service.