Timeline of the Formation and Service of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment

- Part 4 -

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Compiled by Robert A. Geake

1781

January

January 2

From General George Washington to Colonel Christopher Greene: “Sir, The diminution of our force, by the discharge of the Levies, obliges me to call in all continental detachments of the Army not absolutely necessary. At remote posts – You will therefore immediately, upon the receipt of this, march with your Regiment, and any new Recruits which may have joined, to that part of the Army which lays in the neighborhood of Peekskill, and with which you will be brigaded. You will leave behind a Captain – two Subs and, a suitable number of Non-Commissioned officers to receive and forward the Recruits. You will apply to the State and let them know that the Continental Store is at present destitute of Cloathing, and that there will be a necessity of their cloathing the Recruits before they come on to the Army – let this be done, in your proper Uniform, that they may not differ from that of the Regiment when they join. I have informed Count Rochambeau that I have given you orders to come on. I am &c.”185

January 5

The French Major General Chastellux witnessed the arrival of a detachment from the 1st Rhode Island regiment at the ferry crossing for the Connecticut River in Hartford:

“…the same corps we had with us all last summer, but they have since been recruited and clothed. The majority of enlisted men are Negroes or mulattoes; but they are strong, robust men, and those I saw made a very good appearance.”186

January 10

An advertisement in the Providence Gazette announced the recruiting drive for an integrated Rhode Island Regiment. Major Ebenezer Flagg led the recruitment in East Greenwich, with Lieutenant Colonel Jeremiah Olney placing the advertisement and recruiting in Providence where
“…Negroes will not be received , nor any but able-bodied effective men- Preference should be given as much as possible to those who have served in the Continental Army, or in the State Battalions…”187
Recruitment would continue in the coming weeks and despite the proclamation in Olney’s advertisement, the Book of Returns188 shows that a considerable number of men of color did enlist, as well as the many soldiers of color who continued to serve in the State and Six Months Continental Battalions as they were raised through the remainder of the war.

January 18

A letter dictated to a medical assistant from Thomas Nichols, one of the men “on Command” to the Marquis de Chastellux’s entourage, is addressed to John Nichols, his former master in Warwick, Rhode Island:
“Onered Master & Mistress I take this opportunity to inform you of my citiation att this time & desire your ade = after I drove 3 waggons as far as Windham I hade waggoner tookaway my badge of driving & ordered me to gard ye waggons which I refused & turned back to colonel green att Covintree & ye wagoner sent back two men after me Ye Colonal did not blame me but told ye men and me to go on again & that I should take my waggon again but being over worried with this tramp I got but 3 miles further than where I left ye waggons in So. Windham att ye house of one Dan Murdock where I have been confined with my old fits But have good care taken of me But I have a desire to Return to you Not having any money Nor Clows fit to wair & all strangers to me makes it something difficult for me I have had a Doctor and a Surgans mate to me which advize me to go to xxx corps of invalids at Boston where I may be under half pay During Life Remaining in this poor State of Body But I ante able to go thether Neither do I incline to with out advice from you But I have a desire that Master or Mistress would go to Colonel Green & see if you cant git me Discharged from ye War it being very Disagreabell to my mind as well as Destructive to my helth I suppose I could ride on a horse or att least in a Slay if you could obtain a Discharge for me So that I may Return to my Master and his family again baring[?] the will of god & your pleasure So No more att this time But I Remain your humble & dutiful Thomas.
“N” His mark
December 31 1780 These lines I recv’d from ye Surgeon’s mate whereas Thomas Nickols a soldier belonging to ye first Regiment in Rhode Island State hath been for some time attended with fits in this place & still likely to Remain unfit for military life.”189

February

The consolidation of the remainder of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment and the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment took place during the first week of February. Several veteran officers, Colonel Israel Angell, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Ward Jr., Major Simeon Thayer, Captains William Tew and Elijah Lewis, and Surgeon’s Mate Elias Cornelius were chosen for retirement based on seniority.
Colonel Christopher Greene, Lt. Colonel Jeremiah Olney, and Major Ebenezer Flagg were appointed the commander and field officers of the Rhode Island Regiment.190
Detachments of regulars and recruits from Rhode Island arrived in stages at West Point. As noted by the Marquis de Chastellux, they were now well clothed and provided for the winter encampment. Their number would reach four hundred and thirty six men by late March.
The men of the Rhode Island regiment were assigned various garrison duties at West Point, including manning “boat service” under Major Samuel Darby of the 7th Massachusetts Regiment, or service as “water guard” under Capt. John Pray of the 1st Massachusetts Regiment to transport goods and troops, and patrol the Hudson River. Others of the regiment guarded “rhode Island Village” or were assigned guard duty along the Croton River, considered the “front line” of territory long fought over against Loyalist John Delancey’s Westchester County Militia.191
Nine enlisted men remained behind in Providence, guarding state and Continental stores, as well as patrolling the streets under Martial Law.

April

April 8

The Marquis de Lafayette received orders from General Washington to march his Light Infantry battalion south to meet up with General Nathanael Greene’s troops and contribute to the southern campaign. Lafayette penned a missive to the General relating a “Summary Account of the Measures I Have Lately taken…”
“On my arrival in Annapolis, I found our preparations were far from Promising A Speedy – The Difficulty of Getting Waggons and Horses Is Immense – No Boats Sufficient to cross over the ferries – the State very desirous to keep us as long as possible, As they were Scared by the Apparition of the Hope 20 guns and the Monk 18 guns who Blockaded the Harbour and Who were determined to Oppose our Movements…192
Before I left Annapolis…Hearing that General Greene was in Want of Ammunition I took the Liberty of Leaving for the Southern Army four 6 pounders with 300 Rounds Each, Near Hundred thousand cartridges And some small matters Which I left to the care of the Governor and General Smallwood, requesting them to Have Waggons and Horses Impressed and to send them to a place of Safety where they must Be By this time…
The troops I Have with Me Being taken from Every Northern Regiment, Have often (tho’ without Mentioning to me) Been Very Uneasy at the idea of joining the Southern Army – they want Cloathes, Shoes particularly. They Expect to receive cloathes and Monney from their States – this would Be a great Disappointment for Both officers and Men – Both thought at first they were Sent out for a few days and provided themselves Accordingly – Both Came Cheerfully to this Expedition, But Both Have Had Already their fears on the idea of Going to the South ward – They will Certainly obey, But they will be Unhappy and Some will desert.”193

April 10

In the early hours of the morning, the guard in the Providence barracks was woken by two men shouting “illiberal language” and throwing stones against the barrack walls. The city was under Martial Law, and the guard there were often challenged by late night carousers when they patrolled to enforce a midnight curfew.

Approaching One o’clock in the morning; it was undoubtably a night of drinking that led twenty-three year old Edward Allen, in the company of his friend John Pitcher to make the fateful decision to go to the barracks and harass the soldiers. The two kicked open the door of the barracks, where a voice in the darkness warned them to get out before they were fired upon. Particulars of the moment were not clear, but as the two men were fleeing the scene, Private Prince Greene stepped outside and fired his musket into the darkness. The ball fired struck Edward Allen in the back of the head, mortally wounding him.

The incident caused an uproar in the city, especially as a soldier of color had fired the shot that killed a white resident.

"The two kicked open the door of the barracks, where a voice in the darkness warned them to get out before they were fired upon. Particulars of the moment were not clear, but as the two men were fleeing the scene, Private Prince Greene stepped outside and fired his musket into the darkness. The ball fired struck Edward Allen in the back of the head, mortally wounding him."

April 14

As the state’s Supreme Court was sitting in Providence at the time of the shooting, Prince Greene was brought swiftly to trial. He was most ably defended by attorney David Howell, an acquaintance of commander Colonel Christopher Greene. As the city was under Martial Law, this figured prominently in the defense, as any soldier under guard in such a situation has the right to fire his weapon upon any person deemed a threat to the guard or the populace.

Prince Greene was found “not guilty of willful murder but manslaughter” and as was the punishment at the time, branded with an “M” on his hand. He would be sent back to the regiment for duty in New York.194

April 16

From a letter to Major Samuel Ward from Col. Christopher Greene, written from the Rhode Island encampment at Pines Bridge, N.Y.

“I very often agreeably reflect upon the toils and dangers we have passed through together during the course of this horrid war and nothing could have been more agreeable than to have had your company in command to its close – But this could not be…we must therefore for the present be separated.

I was overjoyed at the Major’s arrival and yesterday195 went with him to the lines at Pines Bridge where I left him in command. Shall join myself in a very few days…We have at present only about two hundred men including officers to guard twenty miles but expect as soon as the men get out of the small pox to have our force augmented to three or four hundred.”196

April 18

General Lafayette wrote to General Washington from Baltimore:

“…On my arrival…I made an order for the troops wherein I endeavored to throw a kind of infamy upon desertion, and to improve every particular affection of theirs. Since then, desertion has lessened. Two deserters have been taken up; one of whom has been hanged today, and the other (being an excellent soldier) will be forgiven, but dismissed from the corps, as well as another soldier who behaved amiss. To these measures, I have added of which my feelings to the suffering of the soldiers, and the peculiarity of their circumstances, have prompted me to adopt…”197

April 23

Ensign Jeremiah Greenman was given command of a small guard, which was part of the permanent guard at Pines Bridge, over the Croton River Among the guards duties were to check the passes of all coming and going over the bridge, as well as to receive deserters and flags of truce.

The small detachment on this place at the river lay in the woods beyond the bridge between the river and the Davenport house, where Commanders Greene and Flagg barracked some two miles distant.

May

May 14

At dawn, Colonel James Delancey led a detachment of the Westchester County Militia, consisting of some two hundred and sixty men that forded the Croton River and executed a lethal surprise attack on the Rhode Island encampment.

Military Surgeon James Thacher would record that Colonel Greene’s guard at Croton River kept “the greatest vigilance in the night time”. but that that the practice of “calling off his guards at sunrise, on the idea that the enemy would nor presume to cross in the daytime”198, gave the Loyalist troops the element of surprise.

Lieutenant of the guard Jeremiah Greenman was among the first to be taken prisoner, and would record that at dawn he and the guard were

“…alarmed by the appearance of a party of Cavalry supported by Infantry, which proved to be DeLancey’s Corps of Refugees / they soon surrounded me and being vastly superior in force – & having no prospect of escape, I thought it most advisable to surrender myself and Guard (as) prisoners of War.”199

Twenty-two men were taken prisoner by the river. Those in the encampment and beyond were not given that opportunity. As many were just waking in their tents, the attack caught them off guard, and many were slashed by the sabers of the horsemen riding roughshod over the Rhode Island camp. The commanders, Col. Greene and Major Flagg were also caught by surprise.

There were many accounts of the men’s death that were passed along in letters from commanders far from the scene, and later by historians that would perhaps place the ghastly encounter in too romantic a light. The most reliable seem to be those from local neighbors who told historians what they had been told by soldiers and the enemy as they boasted of their raid to neighboring farmers on their ride back to British lines.

Joshua Carpenter, who in 1845 lived in the house where the officers were killed, recounted

“some of the particulars of Colonel Greene’s disaster as I heard them from my Grandfather who lived here at the time…

A party of Delancey’s Refugees got to the house unperceived. They came upon the west side of the house where only a single sentinel was stationed, who did not see them until near him, but who then fired. Some soldiers lying on the stoop also fired. Greene and Flagg both sprang up, and the former encouraged the soldiers to defend themselves. Flagg advanced to the window, a pistol in each hand and fired upon the enemy. He was answered by a volley and fell dead, pierced by several balls. The Refugees then burst in the north door and fired in, thus making a cross-fire. Greene, a large, powerful man, met the enemy at the door, sword in hand.”200

David Brown, another resident would recall a similar story:

“The door of the Davenport house was forced in by throwing stones. Colonel Greene, a strong man, used his sword and struck at Captain Totten and would have killed him but that he was assaulted by others”. Greene then asked for parole, but it was refused.”

Perhaps the most graphic account of the extent of Colonel Greene’s injuries would be penned by Captain Thomas Hughes, a close friend of the Colonel’s daughter, who wrote to Job Greene, a son of the slain officer:

“I must my dear friend inform you of the unhappy fate that befell your father this morning. The Enemy made an attack on the Lines (which was a complete surprise), and he fell, a sacrifice to the cruel hand of tyranny, in defending himself against the strokes struck by Light Horsemen; he had his right wrist almost cut off in two places, his left in one; a severe cut in the left shoulder, a sword run through his body, his head cut to pieces in several places, his back and body cut and hacked in such a manner as gives me pain to inform you.”201

The Colonel’s wounded body was strapped to a horse and brought toward the Loyalist’ encampment, “but after only a mile or so, the refugees changed their minds, leaving the Rhode Islander’s bloody remains by the side of the road.”202

A handwritten account by an unknown author found among Col. Greene’s papers, sheds more detail on the death of Flagg, and the close quarters in which they had to defend themselves:

“The advanced guards of the American Army were on Croton river, which falls into the Hudson about thirty miles above York – over this were two bridges of at several miles distance from each other – Near that on the main road was stationed the principle part of the Guard; consisting in the whole of a Major’s command and a captain’s command being detached some miles on the right and left – Small parties patrolled below the bridge.

The quarters Major Flagg had taken were two or three miles from the bridge, where the dayly guard was mounted; but at no great distance from the River, which at that time was not supposed to be fordable – This was however a mistake, & proved fatal to the Party.

Col. Delancey, who stooped so far from the Dignity of a Gentleman as to commission a Regiment of freebooters, who subsisted on plunder gained without pay, marched a strong party of Horse & Foot into the vicinity of their poss(?), undiscovered – Getting information of the quarters occupied by Col. Greene, Major Flagg & several other officers, & finding a fordable place in the river not far off, he paused his troops – & dividing his force into two parties, sent one to the bridge, where they surprised and took a subaltern’s guard & with the other marched to Col. Greene’s quarters – As our officers had no idea of their passing the river except at the bridge, they had taken no precautions to prevent a surprise – In addition to this the quarter guard sentinel was asleep. By this means the house was surrounded by the enemy & all possibility of an escape cut off before the danger was discovered – the officers were all asleep in one room – On being awakened by the firing without, they sprung from their beds & seized their arms.

Near that in which Major Flagg lay was a window – He received a musket shot thro(ugh) this (if I am not mistaken) before he had time to reach his pistols which were placed at the foot of the bed – the ball passing through his head he fell prone upon the bed – and ther continued – The enemy breaking into the room found him in that situation & thinking him to be sullen gave him several cuts on his back, with their broadswords – but he was probably out of the reach of their unmanly rage – having expired the instant he received the ball – His remains were attended to the Churchyard in Company by the officers of the Regiment & a respectable number of inhabitants, & decently interred with the inhumanly mangled corpse of his Colonel…”203

The loss of Greene and Flagg meant a rapid change of command was needed to fortify the regiment. As Colonel Jeremiah Olney had returned to Providence before the attack, the requested change in command was written by the most senior officer present, Captain Coggeshall Olney:

From a letter written by Coggeshall Olney to Col. Alexander Scammel:

“I present to you a letter which I have just received from the lines – Colonel Greene’s waistcoat is found very bloody on his bed-the Enemy told the inhabitants that the Colonel was stripped naked and murdered in the woods. The Col. (before he had left camp) had given liberty for an Officer from the Regt. to go to Rhode Island on public business – I would wish to have your approbation as Commandant of the Brigade, as the situation as such of the Regiment…requires Colonel Olney to join as soon as possible.”204

May 17

In response to the attack on Pines Bridge, General Washington orders a new provisional Light Battalion created for patrols. The battalion, as stated in his General Orders, would be

“…a detachment of four hundred men immediately formed and held in readiness to march at an hour’s warning. This Corps is to consist of a Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel and Major, eight Captain Subalterns with staff and Non-commissioned officers proportioned.

Colonel Scammell will command it and. Till’ further orders may lay encamped contiguous to Kings Ferry and be ready to support the Party on the lines. The Detachment on the lines to be immediately relieved by Detail from the Army at large; the Relief to consist of a number equal to the detachment previous to the disaster of the 14th inst.”205

May 24

The Rhode Island regiment contributed a small detachment to Colonel Alexander Scammel’s Light Infantry Battalion, consisting of one Sergeant, and twenty-one rank and file.206

May 27-28

During a strategic meeting at the house of Joseph Webb Jr. in Wethersfield, Connecticut, Generals Washington and Rochambeau determine to gather the forces of the Grand Army with the French in Peekskill, New York. On his return to Newport, Rochambeau prepared to march his troops.

Washington laid out the plan in his general orders over the next two days:
“The Commander in Chief is pleased to order that in future only such Men as are not expected to do duty with arms vizt. General, Field and Staff Officers servants, Waggoners, butchers, bakers, Commissaries, Quarter masters and Forage masters assistants and one armourer for each regiment in every brigade to which a travelling Forge is attach’d, be returned on Extra Service.
That all others on duty in Camp or Garrison, whether with arms, on Fatigue or occasionally employed as Artificers (except guards placed for the security of Magazines of Ammunition cloathing or provisions not in Garrison be returned Present on duty, and comprized in the number fit for Action.
That men detached beyond the ordinary limits of camp or garrison duty whether the service they are ordered on is to be perform’d with or without arms and all guards for Magazines not in Garrison be returned on Command.
That the men On duty, Command and Extra service be accounted for with the utmost precision specifying where they are; what duty they are on; Time of absence; and by whose order.
That the troops on the lines and such as are on duty from the Continental Village to Fishkill and from Fort Montgomery to Newburgh inclusive except Magazine guards be considered fit for Action.
That as the regulated camp and garrison duty of every Brigade will in ordinary cases be comparatively the same…..
That the commanding officers of regiments and Corps cause Advertisements to be immediately inserted in the public newspapers requiring such of their men as are sick absent in different parts of the Country where military Hospitals are not established, or return’d absent under other heads and cannot be particularly accounted for to join their respective corps or give information where they are and the cause of their detention within a reasonable limited time on pain of being treated as deserters…

All absent officers not on public duty by order of the Commander in Chief or not appointed by proper authority under him to receive and forward on the recruits are to join their respective corps immediately, no other excuse can be admitted.
No more furloughs are to be given ’till the end of the Campaign, but in very extraordinary cases of which the General officer commanding the corps is to be the judge.
All soldiers upon Furlough are to be immediately order’d to join their respective regiments.
The Commander in Chief does in pointed and positive terms forbid under any pretence whatever commanding officers of regiments discharging soldiers before the term for which they are engaged is expired and he is equally pointed in forbidding the exchanging of men unless both are produced to the General officer commanding and his approbation obtained which is to be certified in the discharge.
No more recruits are to be discharged such as are thought unfit for Service by the Inspectors of the different State lines with the army are to be sent to the Adjutant General for further examination.”207

In addition, the regiments of the Grand Army were
“ordered to furnish two able bodied men (engaged for three years or during the war) from the first recruits that join them, to be incorporated with the Corps of Sappers and Miners on the same principles with those already draughted for that corps.
That part of Colonel Van Schaick’s regiment stationed at West Point is to be held in readiness to move on the shortest notice; all detachment, or men on other duty from it are to be immediately relieved and called in.”208

June

During the month following the attack at Pines Bridge, the Rhode Island Regiment remained in the “Rhode Island Village” at Robinson Mills, with some detachments continuing to patrol the lines around Pines Bridge, and others serving guard duties at West Point and the nearby Continental Village.
The first week of June, a contingent of 32 soldiers from the Rhode Island Regiment travelled into Connecticut to collect a large shipment of clothing and tents to dispense to the troops in New York.209

June 11

Soldiers of the regiment each received one rifle frock210, two linen overalls, and one leather cap. Some soldiers also received knapsacks, blankets, and pairs of shoes.211
The Rhode Island Regiment soon became known for their headgear, as the “leather-cap battalion”, the front shield bearing the anchor that also adorned their standard, with the letters “R.I.R” underneath. The caps of this distinct design had first been issued to troops of the Continental Congress early in the war, then been adapted for use by Artillery Corps, including the Newport Train of Artillery.

June 12

Privates Charles Stevens of the 4th Company and Prince Ingraham of the 6th Company, a former enslaved man who had labored as a blacksmith before the war, were transferred to the Corps of Sappers and Miners.

June 18

The Rhode Island regiment was brigaded with the 2nd Connecticut Regiment under command of Colonel Hemen Swift, and the 4th Connecticut Regiment under command of Colonel Zebulon Butler into one division of the American Grand Army under the command of Major General Samuel Parsons.212
Within the Rhode Island Regiment, Captains Coggeshall Olney and John S. Dexter were promoted to the rank of majors.213
On this day, the French Regiments also began their march from Providence, Rhode Island to New York.

June 28

The Rhode Island Regiment arrived in Peekskill, New York with much of the Grand Army already assembled. General Washington’s plan, as outlined to Major General Benjamin Lincoln, was to send two regiments, a detachment of Artillery, and the Water Guard “to attempt the surprise of the enemy’s posts upon the North End of York Island (Manhatten).214

July

July 2

General Benjamin Lincoln’s detachment departed in boats with the Water Guard in the first phase of the assault. The detachment floated down the Hudson River under cover of darkness and by morning had landed north of the Harlem River, and quickly occupied the area around Fort Independence.

July 3

In the early morning, Washington’s Grand Army, including members of the Rhode Island Regiment marched to within supporting distance of the assault to a height known as Valentine Hill.
The Americans however were in a tempestuous area of the country that housed and supported many loyalists such as Delancey’s infamous Westchester County Militia. Word of movement by the Americans was carried to the Phillipse Manor House overlooking the Hudson215, where a battalion of Hessian Jaegers were encamped to cover a foraging party. The Hessians on receiving word, marched to Kingsbridge, New York to investigate and there encountered the men of Lincoln’s Detachment.
Initially driven back to the Harlem River by Lincoln’s troops, the Hessians regrouped and drove the Americans back. They were driven in retreat towards the oncoming soldiers of Washington’s Army and the cavalry of the Duke of Lauzon’s Legion, and when the enemy gauged the size of the oncoming forces, they retreated; disengaging from battle and withdrawing their troops back to the river and from the Phillipse House itself. Late in the afternoon, Washington rode on horseback to reconnoiter the northern end of the Island. He ordered the Americans back to Valentine Hill.

From the Reminiscences of Private Asa Redington of Scammel’s Battalion:
“We…took post on a high swell of land, perhaps ¾ of a mile from the bridge, where we could plainly see all the enemy on the other side of the East River, which the bridge crossed. By this time we were joined by Col. Sprout’s Regiment of 400 men, making on the whole 900 men. These men also came down the river in boats.
At about 8 o’clock in the morning the enemy let down their (draw) bridge and a large body of Calvary and Infantry advanced upon us and a severe action ensued. ..We were overpowered by numbers, and retreated from the ground, getting however behind double walls, and keeping up a fire on them, retarding their advance. We were kept in close order to prevent the Calvary from charging us, whom we most dreaded…
After retreating about a mile, hard driven by the enemy, to our great joy a large body of French Calvary hove in sight, and immediately after the front of the main army under Washington appeared. On the discovery of this large force, the enemy gave up the pursuit and retired over the bridge…”216

Known as the Battle of Kingsbridge, the skirmish had inflicted real casualties. One ensign and nine privates were killed in action. Of the wounded, were one captain, two lieutenants, 1 volunteer, 4 sergeants, 2 corporals, and 65 privates.”217
Colonel Alexander Scammel’s Light Infantry Battalion paid the heaviest cost, losing an ensign and five privates. Among them were Privates John Exceen and Patt Hackmitt of the Rhode Island platoon under command of Lieutenant Benjamin Sherburne. Of the Rhode Islanders wounded were Privates Robert Cars, John Hany, and Nathan Jacques; all white veterans of Col. Israel Angell’s 2nd Rhode Island Regiment.218
That same day, Rochambeau’s Army arrived at North Castle, New York.

July 4

Captain Hans Christoph Friedrich Ignatz Ludwig von Closen-Haydenburg of the French Army arrived at White Plains to report to Washington. Being among the first French officers to observe the condition of the American Army, including those of the Rhode Island Regiment. He would observe in his journal:

"It was really painful to see these brave men, almost naked, with only some trousers and little linen jackets, most of them without stockings, but, would you believe it ? very cheerful and healthy in appearance. A quarter of them were negroes, merry, confident and sturdy."219

July 8

The American Grand Army is reviewed by the Counte de Rochambeau and his legion of French officers including Closen, who would record his impression of the Rhode Islanders:

"Three quarters of the Rhode Island Regiment consists of negroes220, and that regiment is the most neatly dressed, the best under arms, and the most precise in its maneuvers"221

Another officer in attendance, Marie Francois Maxime, Baron Cromot du Bourge; recorded “We went first to the American Army which may have amounted to four thousand and some hundred men at the most. It seemed to me to be in as good order as possible for an army composed of men without uniforms and with narrow resources. The Rhode Island Regiment, among others, is extremely fine. We went thence to the French army, which, though unpretending, has quite another style. The Americans admit it; they all seemed to be delighted, as well as their General.”222

The French Army, under command of Count de Rochambeau was in turn, paraded before Washington and the Officers of the American Grand Army. Rochambeau’s army consisting of four regular French Army infantry regiments, each regiment made up of two companies, totaling one hundred and sixteen men, one light infantry company of one hundred men, and one grenadier company. In addition, the French contributed the Duke de Lauzon’s Legion and a battalion of the Auxonne Artillery Regiment.

July 12

The Return of the Rhode Island Regiment on this day shows that one hundred and fifty-four rank and file from the regiment were still detached: thirty-eight rank and file were serving in the Light Infantry Company in Virginia under Col. Stephen Olney, another twenty were with Scammel’s Light Horse battalion, and ninety-six men remained on garrison duty at West Point. This left three hundred and seventy-eight rank and file in the regiment.223

After meeting with the Commander-in-Chief and Lieutenant Colonel Jeremiah Olney, Captain Stephen Olney would be sent by Washington to Virginia to bring instructions to Lafayette whose Light Infantry Battalion included Sherburne’s platoon of Rhode Islanders. Among the instructions in the letter were, that

“The Rhode Island Regt. is so thinly officered that Col. [Jeremiah] Olney wishes one of the subs of the light may be suffered to return when Capt. [Stephen] Olney joins. You will act in this as circumstances permit…”224

July 21

Led by Generals Washington and Rochambeau, some five thousand French and American soldiers conducted a reconnaissance-in-force overlooking the northern end of Manhattan Island.225

For two days American officers studied the state of British fortifications and the French engineers drew maps of the enemy works as they were occasionally fired upon by British artillery. The reconnaissance determined that an attack on New York at present would prove too costly to the Armies, but it did have the effect of alarming the enemy as to American plans.

Washington’s order sent Lieutenant Benjamin L. Peckham who had commanded the Light Infantry company in Olney’s absence, back to the Rhode Island Regiment encamped in New York. Scammel’s Light Infantry with its platoon of Rhode Islanders continued to patrol the Croton River.

July 22

From the Diary of Compte de Lauberdière:

“The French army marched to King’s Ferry on the 22nd, 16 miles. The headquarters halted at Peekskill. The American army was already on the other side of the river. The artillery and Lauzun’s Legion crossed the same day…The enemy should have tried to prevent our crossing by sending one or more vessels to block it. They could have also sent some troops to harass us during the division of our forces. To defend against these nuisances, as soon as the American artillery crossed the river, General Washington placed them along the shore on a hill where they could fire with advantage on any vessel which might appear…

We sent off everything that we could, in great haste, to King’s Ferry. The Rhode Island Regiment was very useful to us. Almost every soldier in this corps is a good sailor. They divided our soldiers aboard their boats, which we know our soldiers would not have been able to maneuver without risk for the passengers and whatever cargo. Some platforms were built of good beams on two flatboats which could carry across two cannons on their carriages or a loaded wagon. A small sail oriented and some men in each boat ferried everything. Most of the horses and the cattle swam across. The troops boarded specially made longboats capable of carrying 60 or 80 men at a time…”226

July 23

“…the wind became very strong and almost standing to cross the river. Only the munitions and provision wagons crossed that day. The bad weather did not prevent Mr. de Rochambeau, who had never seen West Point, from boarding a boat to go visit this Boulevard of American freedom.
General Washington came to Peekskill landing to accompany Mr. de Rochambeau. I also followed him along with the Count de Vauban.”227

July 31

On this day the veteran Rhode Islanders of the Light Infantry were paid a quarter part of the depreciation of their back wages from 1777-1780. Two lieutenants, five sergeants, one corporal, one fifer and thirty privates signed or marked the receipt.

The greater body of the Rhode Island Regiment remained on the east bank of the Hudson River near Dobbs Ferry.228

August

From the Dairy of Comte de Lauberdière,

“A few miles upriver from Peekskill, there is a large hill called Anthony’s nose. A short distance from there, still upriver we can see the ruins of Fort Montgomery…the Americans who now dominate the river, have only a very weak guard with one fieldpiece to warn about what is happening on the river which is more than one league wide here. It is very well directed and its course often winding because of the mountains above…There is a very high one called Sugarloaf on the left bank. It effectively forms a scarp. Mr. Washington… made us observe the uniqueness which nature was pleased to accumulate and to vary in this area…We travelled 4 more miles and arrived at West Point.

As I already mentioned, the course of the North or Hudson river is North and South. An enormous mass of rock forms the right bank at this location…This wild place which was only inhabited by wild beasts seemed to the Americans suitable for the defense of the river. They found a superb esplanade at the top of the boulder where eight battalions would drill, where the main works are constructed today. That’s where the garrison is camped, where the magazines are built, where the reserve artillery is located.”229

Once word was received that a fleet under French Admiral Compte Francois Joseph Paul de Grasse would soon be under sail, Generals Washington and Rochambeau prepared to march a large detachment of the Army overland to Chesapeake Bay. These troops would join forces with those of Lafayette and the 3,000 soldiers of the French Army brought by de Grasse to attack the forces of Lord Charles Cornwallis, commander of the British army in the southern colonies, who had begun to build redoubts and improve fortifications at Yorktown on the York River.

August 15

From a Letter written by George Washington to General Lafayette:

“Whether the enemy remain in full force, or whether they have only a detachment left, you will immediately take such a position as will best enable you to prevent their sudden retreat thro North Carolina… Should General Wayne with the troops destined for South Carolina still remain in the neighborhood of the James River and the enemy should have made no detachment to the southward, you will detain those troops until you hear from me again, and inform General Greene of the cause of their delay…

You shall hear further from me as soon as I have concerted plans and formed dispositions for sending a reinforcement from hence…”230

August 19

After making strategic changes in the Connecticut and Massachusetts forces, and forming of two additional provisional companies of light infantry; Washington and Rochambeau began the march southward. The troops were marched rapidly to King’s Ferry, and crossed the river into New Jersey.

From accounts of soldiers and officers who participated, it was the beginning of a “long and fatiguing march.”231

August 20

While on guard duty at a New Jersey cornfield, Private John Lewis, an Indigenous soldier of the 6th Company of the Rhode Island Regiment, shot and wounded Corporal Matthew Adams of Col. Alexander Hamilton’s Light Infantry. Lewis had noticed Adams walking through the cornfield around 9:00 o’clock in the evening and ordered him to halt. After questioning, Adams admitted to stealing corn. Private Lewis ordered the soldier to remain where he was as Lewis summoned the Sergeant of the Guard, and in response Adams took off running through the cornfield. Private Lewis gave chase and ordered him to halt again. When there was no response he fired his gun.

Corporal Adams was taken from the cornfield and thought to be near dead. The pockets of his coat were filled with corn.

August 22

A Military Court of Inquiry held by order of General Benjamin Lincoln, exonerated Private John Lewis of any wrongdoing in the shooting of Corporal Matthew Adams. Among the witnesses in his defense were Sergeant Michael DePlumengat, Corporal William Thomas, and Drummer Henry Turner, all eyewitnesses and members of the 3rd Company of the Rhode Island Regiment.232

August 28

On this day the American and French forces encamped near Springfield, New Jersey.

In Rhode Island, deserters continued to be rounded up and either expelled, or returned to the army. In one case the capture proved to be unexpectedly profitable to the coffers of the State’s General Treasury:

From the Council of War: “Whereas there is on Ezekiel, alias Ezekal Gas, a Negro, a deserter from Lt. Colonel Olney’s Regiment that went a Cruise in the Privateer, Ship of War Marquis (?) Captain Meredith; and as there is a considerable sum of money due to the said Ezekiel from his divisible part of the Prizes taken…It is therefore Resolved that the Hon. Jabez Bowen Esq. be, and is hereby Impowered to Receive of Mr. Christian Sherry, the Agent, all the money that shall be due the said Ezekiel Gas, and that he pay the same into the General Treasury…”233

September

September 1

After months of languishing in prisons in Manhattan, seventeen enlisted soldiers who had been captured in Delancey’s raid on the Rhode Island encampment on May 14th, were exchanged by the British. Four POW’s remained in captivity, one, Philip Morris, had died in prison.234

Within a week, the Council of War had heard of the many more that remained behind…

From the Council of War: “Whereas a representative from New York has (sent note) to this Council that there is now upwards of Several Hundred of our Country Men on Board the Prison Ship at New York in a Deplorable condition, many of whom belong to this State.235 And Whereas the General Assembly in their last Session and did approve the Deputy Commissary of Prisoners to furnish a vessel, and did appoint General Miller to proceed in her to New York, if there be any means in his power to obtain the Liberty of the Prisoners of War.”236

September 2

The greater body of the American and French forces were ferried on this day across the Delaware River and marched to Philadelphia where they were reviewed and welcomed with ceremony.

September 6

The American and French armies arrived at Head of Elk, Maryland. They immediately began a week long effort to load the artillery, ammunition, and the other supplies onto whatever vessels were at hand to transport them on the Chesapeake. Boats were used to transport some troops as well, including the Rhode Island Regiment.

From the journal of Capt. James Duncan:

“…we were delayed 6 or 7 days, being busily employed in embarking ordnance stores of all kinds on board the vessels. In the meantime the French troops with some other corps of our army proceeded by land for Baltimore. The bay not being able to furnish a sufficient number of vessels, the Rhode Island regiment with ours [Hazen’s Regiment] was obliged to embark on a number of flat-bottomed boats, which had been constructed at Albany and brought to this place. We set out on this arduous and very hazardous undertaking about September 15, and arrived at Williamsburg the 26th. On our passage we hugged close to the western shore, but the many bays and mouths of rivers we were obliged to cross rendered it exceedingly dangerous…”237

September 9

Private Antony Griffith of the 6th Company of the Rhode Island Regiment was discharged and returned to his owner, Luke Griffith of Cecil County, Maryland. Griffith had recognized his former enslaved man while the private was encamped at Head of Elk.

Luke Griffith filed an affidavit at the Cecil County courthouse in which he deposed that his enslaved man had first run away to join British forces upon their landing nearby his farm near Head of Elk in August 1777 and was with them when British forces captured Philadelphia. He then left the British for unknown reasons and enlisted with the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment in February 1778 at Valley Forge.

On this day, Major General Benjamin Lincoln ordered that Griffith be discharged and returned “as a slave” to his master.238

September 15

From his headquarters in Williamsburg, Virginia, General Washington’s issued stirring news within his General Orders:
“The arrival of a powerful Fleet and Army under the Command of His Excellency the Count de Grasse and the Marquis de St Simon desplays a new and striking instance of the generous attention of his most Christian Majesty to the interests of the United States.
In addition to the force already assembled a very respectable body of troops both French and Americans are now on their March from the Eastward and may soon be expected to aid our Operations in this quarter. The Zeal and celerity with which Major General the Marquis de St Simond debarked his troops and Joined the Army under the Command of the Marquis de la Fayette at so critical a Juncture demand his most grateful acknowledgements, which he intreats the Marquis to Accept.”239

September 16

Facing a growing problem from the scarcity of provisions the Army had endured all summer, and possibly influenced as well by the shooting incident in New Jersey, Washington issued a strict order:
“As during the present scarcity of Provisions the Quarter Master will take care that a sufficient number of Cornfields be appropriated to the use of the Troops, the Commander in Chief in the most Pointed manner forbids the soldiers entering or taking Corn in any field but those pointed out by the Quarter Master, and hopes that every Officer will exert himself to see this order attended to.”240

September 25-26

From Washington’s General Orders:
“The several issuing Commissaries will be particularly careful in preserving all the sheep skinns, for the use of the Artillery.241 They will be delivered on application to Mr. Thomas Jones, Deputy field Commissary of Military stores…
The first Brigade of Light Infantry, Waynes Brigade and the third Maryland Regiment are to remove at eight oClock Tomorrow Morning to the encampment advanced of the city.
The field Artillery attached to the Brigades are to be provided with Horses Tomorrow without fail….
General Du Portail will direct the Number of intrenching and other tools necessary to be taken with the Army in the first instance and fix the mode of Transportation with the Quarter Master General”.242

September 28

Marching in a single column243 to a distance of two miles from the enemy’s fortifications at Yorktown, a few shots were fired from French cannon at a reconnoitering party from the British Legion commanded by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton. As darkness fell, the troops advanced another half mile and encamped.

September 29

Ordered to march again toward the enemy’s works, the troops were halted after a short distance, ordered to load their weapons, and then resumed the march to within half a mile
“of the enemy’s works on the left. One brigade was halted, while the first brigade [Light Infantry] commanded by General Muhlenburg, crossed a small morass and paraded in order of battle, marched a small distance in front; but the enemy, not firing, they wheeled to the right and took their post in the line; a picket was now turned out (the better to favor reconnoitering parties) which advanced in front nearly halfway to the enemy, until they were obliged to retreat by the fire of a field piece from the enemy’s works…”244
The Rhode Island regiment arrived with this day at Williamsburg, Virginia with 438 rank and file soldiers. Twenty-four soldiers lay in sick beds scattered in hospitals across the states: in New York, New Jersey, Head of Elk, and in Rhode Island. On arrival, per Washington’s order two days previous, the Rhode Island regiment was placed in a Continental battalion with the First and Second New Jersey regiments under overall command of Colonel Elias Dayton.245

September 30

At dawn, finding that the British had abandoned some of the outer works, a reconnaissance party led by Colonel Alexander Scammel were surprised by a small group of enemy cavalry. Scammel surrendered himself as a prisoner, but was almost immediately shot by an enemy trooper, and brought inside British lines.246
That evening, American forces began digging the first siege parallel, a long trench about a half-mile from the British defensive lines. A redoubt to support the large French Artillery guns was constructed, even as boatmen steered the large cannons ashore to the landing on the James River, where horses waited to haul the carriages up the hillside. This extensive operation would be divided among American troops as they rotated between constructing earthworks and firing artillery to cover the soldiers working.

The French also began construction of earthworks north of Yorktown Creek, where British troops had constructed a redoubt.

From the Diary of the Count de Laurendière:

“During the night of September 30 to October 1, a French detachment and most of the American militiamen were busy constructing communication trenches between the redoubts and other works to prevent sorties and to facilitate the approaches. Until now, the enemy only fired upon those who advanced near their location out of curiosity or out of duty. They began to make a continuous fire on the workers but fortunately without effect. They only killed one man that day…

We almost lost Mr. de Rochambeau who, during the reconnaissance, took a map from his pocket. He was on foot on a small hill, his legs spread apart. A ball was fired which buried itself more than 2 feet in the ground between his legs. The Baron de Closen and I were holding the map.”247

For the next few days, the British rained a constant barrage of fire on the workers Nonetheless, wrote de Lauendièr, “Our artillery had exerted an untiring effort in landing its pieces and ammunition and soon had everything brought to the park”.248

Almost immediately after arriving in York, the French General Count de Rochambeau fell ill. He received reports at his bedside and communicated orders from there as well. Several times during the week, as noted, he managed to get outside and review the constructed earthworks.

Americans were also falling ill, including a number from the Rhode Island Regiment who were “sick/absent” in the Williamsburg hospital that first week of October.249

October

October 4

Sickness was also affecting the British encampment as they endured the siege, as was the lack of provisions. As Surgeon James Thacher recorded

“The enemy from the want of forage are killing off their horses in great numbers; six or seven hundreds of these valuable animals have been killed, and their carcases are almost continually floating down the river…”250

Most egregious, was the act of the British as the crucial moments of the siege drew near.

From the Diary of Count de Lauberdière:

"Lord Cornwallis, seeing his hour had come, so to speak, no longer wanted useless mouths in his place. He sent away more than 300 Negroes, negresses, or little Negroes (who had been stolen) all naked and without a piece of bread…the British captured many of their Negroes whom they inoculated and let them run throughout the region in this condition. Many died as well as whites who were infected with the disease."251

In the meantime, the work continued on the earthworks and trenches.

October 4

From the journal of Dr. Thacher:

“A Large detachment of the allied army, under command of Major General Lincoln were ordered out last evening, for the purpose of opening entrenchments near the enemy’s lines. The business was conducted in great silence and secrecy, and we were favored by Providence with a night of extreme darkness, and were not discovered before daylight. The working party carried on their shoulders fascines and intrenching tools, while a large part of the detachment were armed with the implements of death. Horses, drawing cannon and ordnance, and wagons loaded with bags filled with sand for constructing breastworks, followed in the rear. Thus arranged, every officer and soldier knowing his particular station, orders were given to advance in perfect silence, the distance about one mile…

Our troops were indefatigable in their labors during the night, and before daylight they had nearly completed the first parallel line of nearly two miles in extent, besides laying a foundation for two redoubts, within about six hundred yards of the enemy’s lines. At daylight the enemy discovered our works, commenced a severe cannonade but our men being under cover received no injury.”252

October 8

In his general orders, Washington divided Col. Alexanders Scammel’s old battalion into two smaller light infantry battalions. The Rhode Island detachment under Lieutenant Benjamin Sherburne was now placed under command of Lieutenant Colonel Ebenezer Huntington, while a second battalion was formed under command of Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens.253

October 9

The newly constructed battery on the first siege parallel opened fire upon the British fortifications. The allied artillery consisted of eighteen and twenty-four pound heavy cannons, twelve pound howitzers, and ten inch mortars.254

October 10-15

From the Journal of Dr. James Thacher:

“From the 10th to the 15th, a tremendous and incessant firing from the American and French batteries is kept up, and the enemy return fire, but with little effect. A red hot shell from the French battery set fire to the Charon, a British 44 gun ship, and two or three smaller vessels at anchor in the river, which were consumed in the night. From the bank of the river, I had a fine view of this splendid conflagration. The ships were enwrapped in a torrent of fire, which spreading with vivid brightness among the combustible rigging, and running with amazing rapidity to the tops of the several masts, while all around was thunder and lightening from our numerous canon and mortars, and in the darkness of night, presented one of the most sublime and magnificent spectacles which can be imagined…

The enemy having two redoubts, about three hundred yards in front of our principle works, which enfiladed our entrenchment and impeded our approaches, it was resolved to take possession of them both by assault…”255

The Rhode Islanders under Captain Stephen Olney would play a critical role in the assault. As the Rhode Islanders were veterans of the Light Infantry battalions, it was only be natural that the Marquis de Lafayette would choose this veteran company that had been with him in Virginia. The Rhode Island Light Infantry fell under command of Lieutenant Colonel James Gimat, who also commanded the five Connecticut Infantry companies, as well as the 9th and 10th Massachusetts companies.256

Perhaps the most compelling eyewitness account came from the pen of Capt. Stephen Olney himself:

“After forming our [first] parallel within cannon shot, it was thought necessary to get possession of two of the enemy’s redoubts, which projected from their main works, and were situated where it was thought proper to erect our second parallel, in order to level the way, cut off palisades, and beat down other obstructions…The Marquis [de Lafayette] had orders to storm the redoubt on our right, commanded by a British Major, while the French troops attacked that on our left, which was of greater force, and in their front. Our regiment of light infantry, commanded by Colonel Gimat, a bold Frenchman, was selected for the assault, and was paraded just before daylight…”257

“The column marched in silence, with guns unloaded, and in good order….when we had got about half way to the redoubt we were ordered to halt, and detach one man from each company for the forlorn hope. My men all seemed ready to go. The column then moved on; six or eight pioneers258 in front, as many as the forlorn hope next, then Colonel Gimat, with five or six volunteers by his side, then my platoon [company] being the front of the column. When we came near the front of the abatis, the enemy fired a full volley of musketry. At this, our men broke silence and huzzaed;…the pioneers began to cut off the abatis259…this seemed tedious work, in the dark, within three rods of the enemy; and I ran to the right to look for a place to crawl through, but returned in a hurry, without success, fearing the men would get through first; as it happened, I made to get out through the first…when I found my men to the number of ten or twelve had arrived, I stepped through between two palisades (one having been shot off to make room), on to the parapet, and called out in a tone as if there were no danger ‘Captain Olney’s Company, form here!’ On this I had not less than six or eight bayonets pushed at me; I parried as well as I could with my espontoon, but they broke off the blade part, and their bayonets slid along the handle…and scaled my fingers; one bayonet pierced by thigh, another stabbed me in the abdomen just above the hip bone. One fellow fired at me, and though I thought the ball took effect in my arm; by the light of his gun I made a trust with the remains of my espontoon, in order to injure the sight of his eyes; but as it happened, I only made a hard stroke at his forehead. At this instant, two of my men, [Privates] John Strange and Benjamin Bennett, who had loaded their gums while they were in the ditch, came up and fired upon the enemy, who part ran away and some surrendered; so that we entered the redoubt without further opposition.”260

Olney quickly formed his company into order within the redoubt before he was carried away with the rest of the wounded.

With the Baron de Vioménil given command of the Gâtinais regiment under the Baron de L’Estrade, as well as the companies of the grenadiers and light infantry of the Compte de Lauberdièr’s regiment, and that of the Royal Deaux Ponts; the French overtook the redoubt assigned them with relative ease as well.

From the Diary of Count de Lauberdière:

“The Baron de Vioménil put a few sappers at the head…to open a passage in the abatis and to cut the fraises. The enemy began firing at a distance of 150 toises. We did not respond with a single musket shot. The march was rapid. The Baron had the charge beaten and penetrated the redoubt. We did not have any need for ladders. The same zeal, the same bravery animated the commander and the soldiers and we took the work sword in hand…”261

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton wrote immediately to General Lafayette in his report the following day:

October 15

“Sir,
I have the honor to render you an account of the corps under my command in your attack of last night, upon the redoubt on the left of the enemy’s lines.
Agreeable to your orders we advanced in two columns with unloaded arms, the right composed of Lt. Col Gimat’s batalion and my own commanded by Major Fish, the left of a detachment commanded by Lt Col Laurens, destined to take the enemy in reverse, and intercept their retreat. The column on the right was preceded by a van guard of twenty men let by Lt. Mansfield, and a detachment of sappers and miners, commanded by Capt Gilliland for the purpose of removing obstructions.
The redoubt was commanded by Major Campbell, with a detachment of British and German troops, and was completely in a state of defense.

The rapidity and immediate success of the assault are the best comment on the behaviour of the troops. Lt Col Laurens distinguished himself by an exact and vigorous execution of his part of the plan, by entering the enemy’s work with his corps among the foremost, and making prisoner the commanding officer of the redoubt. Lt Col Gimat’s batalion which formed the van of the right attack and which fell under my immediate observation, encouraged by the decisive and animated example of their leader, advanced with an ardor and resolution superior to every obstacle. They were well seconded by Major Fish with the batalion under his command, who when the front of the column reached the abatis, unlocking his corps to the left, as he had been directed, advanced with such celerity, as to arrive in time to participate in the assault….

I do but justice to the several corps when I have the pleasure to assure you, there was not an officer nor soldier whose behaviour, if it could be particularized, would not have a claim to the warmest approbation. As it would have been attended with delay and loss to wait for the removal of the abatis and palisades the ardor of the troops was indulged in passing over them.
There was a happy coincidence of movements. The redoubt was in the same moment invelopped and carried on every part. The enemy are intitled to the acknowlegement of an honorable defence.
Permit me to have the satisfaction of expressing our obligations to Col Armand, Capt Segongné, The Chevalier De Fontevieux and Captain Bedkin officers of his corps, who acting upon this occasion as volunteers, proceeded at the head of the right column, and entering the redoubt among the first, by their gallant example contributed to the success of the enterprise.

Our killed and wounded you will perceive by the inclosed return. I sensibly felt at a critical period the loss of the assistance of Lt. Col Gimat, who received a musket ball in his foot, which obliged him to retire from the field. Capt Bets of Lauren’s corps, Capt Hunt and Lt. Mansfield of Gimats were wounded with the bayonet in gallantly entering the work. Capt Lt. Kirkpatrick of the corps of sappers and miners received a wound in the ditch.
Inclosed is a return of the prisoners. The killed and wounded of the enemy did not exceed eight. Incapable of imitating examples of barbarity, and forgetting recent provocations, the soldiery spared every man, who ceased to resist.”262

The allied forces soon incorporated the taken redoubts into the second siege line. The Rhode Island Regiment, which had played a reserve role in the previous action, was utilized to man the trenches as part of Major General Benjamin Lincoln’s division.

October 16

That evening, a sortie of some 400 British soldiers under Colonel Robert Abercromby assaulted the unfinished French redoubts on the 2nd parallel line.

From the Diary of Count de Laurberdière:

“At nightfall, we questioned an enemy deserter about what was happening at the place. He told us that he had seen preparations for a sortie. The commander of the trench thought this was false information and did not make any new arrangements to welcome them. The enemy, numbering 400 men, appeared about midnight. They fell upon a picket from the Agenois Regiment. Overconfidence doomed the captain. The British passed themselves off as Americans, captured the captain and fell upon his detachment which they didn’t spare. They then entered a battery and spiked four 16 pounders. The Count de Saint Maisme- Dumay approached the battery with his grenadiers and a few companions of his regiment from the trench. The Chevalier de Chastellux hastened there with his reserve and repulsed the enemy with loss. They also spiked two pieces in the American battery but were repulsed…”263

October 17

From the Journal of Dr. James Thacher:

“The whole of our works are now mounted with cannon and mortars, not less than one hundred pieces of heavy ordnance have been in continual operation during the last twenty-four hours. The whole peninsula trembles under the incessant thunderings of our infernal machines, we have levelled some of their works in ruins and silenced their guns; they have almost ceased firing.”264

This day Cornwallis sent out a flag from British lines, requesting a cessation of hostilities for twenty-four hours, “that commissioners might be appointed to prepare and adjust the terms of capitulation”. After several communiques were delivered back and forth, General Washington consented to a cessation of hostilities for two hours only, that he might hear “his proposals as a basis for a treaty.”265

The day also saw the first fatality suffered by the Rhode Island Regiment when Private London Slocum was killed by Artillery fire.

October 18

Letter from General George Washington to General Cornwallis

“Sir,

To avoid unnecessary discussions and delays, I shall, at once, in answer to your Lordships letters of yesterday, declare the general Basis upon which a definitive Treaty and Capitulation may take place.

The Garrisons of York & Gloucester, including the Seaman, as you propose, will be received prisoners of War. The condition annexed, of sending the British and German Troops, to the parts of Europe to which they respectively belong is inadmissible. Instead of this, they will be marched to such parts of the Country as can most conveniently provide for their subsistence, and the benevolent treatment of Prisoners, which is invaribly observed by the Americans, will be extended to them. The same honours will be granted to the surrendering Army as were granted to the Garrison of Charlestown.

The Shipping and Boats in the two Harbours with all their Guns, Stores Tackling, Furniture and Apparel, shall be delivered in their present State, to an Officer of the Navy, appointed to take possession of them.

The Artillery Arms, Accoutrements Military Chest, and public Stores of every denomination, shall be delivered, unimpaired to the Heads of departments to which they respectively belong.

The Officers will be indulged in retaining their side Arms of the Officers & Soldiers may preserve their Baggage and Effects with this reserve, that property taken in the Country, will be reclaimed.

With regard to the Individuals in civil Capacities whose interest your Lordship wishes may be attended to; untill they are more particularly described, nothing definitive can be settled.
I have to add that I expect the sick and wounded will be supplied with their own Hospital Stores, and be tended by British Surgeons, particularly charged with the care of them.

Your Lordship will be pleased to signify your determination either to accept or reject the proposals now offered, in the course of two Hours from the delivery of this letter, that Commissioners may be appointed to digest the Articles of Capitulation, or a renewal of Hostilities may take place. I have the honor to be My Lord Your Lordships Most obedient and humble servant.”266

October 19

The formal surrender of Yorktown was held with great ceremony.

From the journal of Surgeon James Thacher:

“At about twelve o’clock the combined army was arranged and drawn up in two lines extending more than a mile in length. The Americans were drawn up in a line on the right side of the road, and the French occupied the left. At the head of the former the great American commander, mounted on his noble courser, took his station, attended by his aids. At the head of the latter was posted the excellent Count Rochambeau and his suite. The French troops in complete uniform, displayed a martial and noble appearance, their band of music, of which the timbrel formed a part, is a delightful novelty, and produced while marching to the ground, a most enchanting effect. The Americans though not all in uniform nor their dress so neat, yet exhibited an erect, soldierly air, and every countenance beamed with satisfaction and joy.”267

The surrendering army appeared around two o’clock, though Cornwallis was not present among them, sending his apologies for being to ill to attend. The British troops grounded their arms and were taken captive and “conducted back to Yorktown and guarded by our troops till they could be removed to the place of their destination.”268

October 24

While the Rhode Island Light Infantry company under Capt. Stephen Olney and the platoon of Light Infantry soldiers detached to Lafayette’s brigade remained on garrison duty in Yorktown, the larger body of the regiment were given orders this day to move to Gloucester Point and assist with guarding the prisoners there. On arrival they were to be placed under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Jeremiah Olney.

October 25

While drilling and guarding the prisoners over the next few days, the Rhode Island Regiment left quite the impression on at least one of the enemy officers. Captain Johann Ewald of the prestigious Hessian Jaeger Corps would record:

“…I have seen the Rhode Island Regiment march and perform several mountings of the guard… The men were complete masters of their legs, carried their weapons well, held their heads straight, faced right without moving an eye, and wheeled so excellently without their officers having to shout much, the at the regiment looked like it was dressed in line with a string. I was greatly surprised that the men were not in close formation, arm to arm, but had consistently left a place for a man between every two men which is a very good thing in penetrating a thick wood or underbrush with entire battalions…”269

The removal of prisoners was but one of the concerns of the Army as it secured Yorktown and its harbor after the victory.

From Washington’s after orders:

“It having been represented that many Negroes and Mulattoes the property of Citizens of these States have concealed themselves on board the Ships in the harbor, that some still continue to attach themselves to British Officers and that others have attempted to impose themselves upon the officers of the French and American Armies as Freemen and to make their escapes in that manner. In order to prevent their succeeding in such practices All Officers of the Allied Army and other persons of every denomination concerned are directed not to suffer any such negroes or mulattoes to be retained in their Service but on the contrary to cause them to be delivered to the Guards which will be establish’d for their reception at one of the Redoubts in York and another in Gloucester…Any Negroes or mulattoes who are free upon proving the same will be left to their own disposal.
The Gentlemen of the American Army who have made return to the Orderly Office of negroes in their possession agreeably to the Order of the 9th instant are desired to deliver them… this day or tomorrow.

The General Officer of the day is requested to establish a Guard in York and the Commandant of Gloucester another at that post for the reception of negroes agreeably to the above order.

Discharging of fire arms in the vicinity of Camp is prohibited on pain of immediate and exemplary Punishment.”270

November

The month began with the death of Private Matthew Hart of Captain Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry company. It was a harbinger of the grim months ahead, as historian Daniel Popek would note:

“November 1781 began the greatest of two significant “dying events” that the Rhode Island Continental Line suffered through the long war. The Valley Forge death event had been brought about by malnutrition and severe field conditions, but the post-Yorktown episode was caused primarily by infectious disease.”271

November 12

The Rhode Island regiment at Gloucester Point received orders to embark on vessels to Head of Elk, Maryland from where the soldiers would march overland and garrison the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The journey proved to be a long and harrowing voyage. A total of ten soldiers of the regiment died in the month of November, but it was not until the men finally reached their destination on December 6th, that the true extent of the loss to the regiment was recorded.

General Ezekiel Cornell and William Ellery, then the Rhode Island delegates to the Continental Congress, wrote to Governor William Greene of the regiment’s condition.

December

December 6

“…We apprehend you will be a little surprised at the deficiency that will appear to be in our regiment when Col. Olney’s returns come to hand. The Colonel is arrived at the Head of Elk with his regiment, after having experienced almost every kind of distress in a long passage by water from Yorktown. The regiment is very sickly; the small pox has got among the last recruits. In this case they are not alone, many from other regiments being down with it.”272

Death continued to plague the regiment through the month of December 1781, as they lost another forty-three soldiers to illness. On arrival, the regiment took barracks in a large facility called the Philadelphia Barracks. The barracks had been constructed during the French and Indian War, and took up an entire city block, and were described as “very commodious;… two stories high, with a gallery their whole length, and an ample parade in front;… capable of sheltering two or three thousand men.”273

The barracks were shared with other military units, and passing soldiers would often stay overnight enroute to their destinations.

December 10

Facing the expiration of hundreds of soldiers enlistments at the close of the year, the Congress pressed forward with plans for recruitment, with much of the oversight and obligations falling upon the Commanders of Continental Regiments lobbying their State Assemblies.
By the United States in Congress assembled
“Resolved, That the legislature of each State raise, at the expence thereof, in the first instance, to be reimbursed by the United States, so many men as may be necessary to complete the quota assigned to such State, out of the number of land forces agreed upon in the resolution of the 3d and 21 days of October, 1780, calculating the deficiency upon the number of men whose times of service will expire on or before the first day of March, 1782.
Resolved, That the legislature of each State be called upon in the most pressing manner, to cause the quota thereof of land forces to be compleated and in the field by the first day of March next, and to provide for replacing those men whose time of service shall expire between the said first day of March, 1782, and the last day of November in the said year.”274

December 22

Private Fortune Stoddard, a Black veteran of the 8th company of the Rhode Island Regiment was confined to jail in Mercer County, Virginia and charged with murder after an unfortunate series of events that began the previous evening.

Stoddard and other soldiers (some of them likely ill) were housed on the first floor of the Jane Clark House in Head of Elk. On the evening of the 21st, a party of sailors from a local sailing vessel under Captain James Cunningham began celebrating on the second floor. None of the regiment attempted to go upstairs and quiet the gathering, but at some point, Captain Cunningham came downstairs and began insulting the soldiers.

A quarrel ensued and Cunningham began to assault Private Stoddard with his fists, and then with a chair. Stoddard informed the Captain that if he could not be civil, that he would complain to his commanding officer. The drunken Captain returned upstairs to continue the revelry. Shortly after 9:00 p.m. Lieutenant Ebenezer Wales of the First Connecticut Continental Regiment entered the house to investigate the incident. He observed the party and confronted Cunningham and the Captain once again became violent and challenged the Lieutenant to a fight with “fists, swords, or pistols”.

Lieutenant Wales ordered the able-bodied soldiers quartered downstairs to arm themselves against the sailors and “turn them out doors”. On seeing the soldiers with their muskets and fixed bayonets, the sailors left without incident.

They returned the next morning however, hurling insults from the street and breaking into the house to demand liquor from the landlady. When it was refused, the Captain went on a rampage breaking a chair and floorboards before being confronted by two of the soldiers quartered downstairs who had come up unarmed, hearing the commotion.

One of the soldiers was almost immediately struck with a board, knocking him to the floor, the other, Private Benjamin Blanchard of the Light Infantry company retreated back downstairs where the armed soldiers were waiting.

Private Robert Piper of the 3rd Company stepped forward as Cunningham and others came down the stairs. He presented his musket to the captain’s breast, only to have the weapon grabbed from him by Cunningham and another sailor. The captain then swung the butt of the musket against the head of Private Piper.

It was then that Private Stoddard fired his musket at the Captain, striking him in the groin. He reloaded his musket, and the sailors dragged their wounded Captain to another room where he died within two hours of the incident.

Private Stoddard was taken into custody and confined to await trial.

This same day, the Rhode Island Regiment was ordered to assume the guard duties in Philadelphia, which had previously been kept by local militia:

“Olney’s Regiment will tomorrow take the Guards at present mounted by the Militia in this City and keep them up untill further orders.”275

December 23

Assuming the guard, the Rhode Island Regiment posted details at the barracks, the city powder magazine, and the large stone jail at the intersection of Walnut and Sixth street, located just south of the famous Pennsylvania State House. Since the British evacuation of Philadelphia in June 1778, the prison had been used to house British and German prisoners of war, as well as convicted Tories.

The command of the regiment was turned over to Col. Coggeshall Olney, as Lieutenant Jeremiah Olney returned to Rhode Island to prepare for recruitment.

Death continued to take its toll on the regiment. Another thirty-nine soldiers died in December, some housed in the hospital in Wilmington Delaware, the others in the Philadelphia hospital. A small ceremony was held to bury the Rhode Islanders who had died in the city. Their bodies were placed in plain wooden coffins constructed by members of their regiment, and carried to an open trench to be interred, as were over two thousand soldiers of the Revolution before them in the Potter’s Field, close by what is now Washington Square.276

Resources:

(185) Letter from George Washington to Christopher Greene, 2 January 1781, Founders Online, National Archives

(186) Chastellux, Travels in North America, p.    this detachment was recorded on arrival at Robinson’s Mills winter encampment as “Detachment of Greene’s regt.’ 2 Sergeants, 6 Drums and Fifes, 66 Rank and File”, of whom 26 were present Fit for Duty, 28 were On Command, and 12 were sick. (Popek, p. 354)

(187) Providence Gazette, June 10, 1781, p. 3 RIHS Microfilm

(188) Book of Returns, Second Rhode Island Regiment/Rhode Island Regiment “List of the NCO’s and Privates in the R.I.R. after ye 1st of February 1781 with those who joined after that Period…”. RIHS MSS

(189) From the Archives of the James Mitchell Varnum Museum, East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Nichols had apparently been bed -ridden since December as the addendum shows that he was examined on December 30, 1780. The stricken soldier did not receive his request, but was transferred to the Corps of Invalids where he remained in service for the duration of the war. It may be assumed then that the letter did reach Nichols, and that as requested, his former master did reach out to Colonel Christopher Greene, if only to have the letter delivered to his hands.

(190) Returns Book, Second Rhode Island Regiment/Rhode Island Regiment February 9, 1781 RIHS MSS

(191) Popek, p. 486

(192) Lafayette refers to the British vessels and their guns patrolling the Maryland shoreline. On the morning of April 6th, Lafayette sent a small sloop which he had loaded with two 18 pounders which “Proved to be of great service” in dispersing the attempted blockade.

(193) Letter from General Lafayette to General Washington, Head of Elk, Maryland 8 April 1781https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-05335

(194) Geake/Spears From Slaves to Soldiers pp. 105-106. Allen’s mother was so outraged by what she deemed a miscarriage of justice, that when she commissioned his gravestone, she paid to have the cause of his death as from the ‘misfortune of being shot by a negro soldier” etched upon the stone, an act “Most barbarously done’. The trial was covered extensively by the Providence Gazette. Popek has included a segment of that article in his work.

(195) Major Ebenezer Flagg, who arrived April 15, 1781

(196) Letter from Col. Christopher Greene to Major Samuel. Ward, 16 April 1781transcribed by Henry A.L. Brown from the papers of Thomas E. Greene. See also Geake/Spears, p. 68

(197) Letter from Lafayette to Washington, 18 April 1781 https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-05335 Lafayette’s response to the soldiers suffering was to borrow the sum of 2,000 pounds from Baltimore merchants which would “procure some shirts, linens, overalls, shoes, and a few hats. The ladies will make up the shirts, and the overalls will be made by the detachment, so that out soldiers have a chance of being a little more comfortable…”

(198) Thatcher, James A Military Journal p.255

(199) Greenman, Diary of a Common Soldier in the American Revolution p.208

(200) This letter was first published in Marcius S. Raymond’s biographical article “Colonel Christopher Greene in the Magazine of History Issue 23, September-October 1916. It was resurrected in Popek’s work to counter some of the mythology that had grown around Greene’s death.

(201) Captain Hughes would marry Welthian Greene at Warwick early the following year. Their notice of marriage was published in the Providence Gazette March 2, 1782 p. 3

(202) Walker, Anthony So Few The Brave Seafield Press, 1981 p. 78

(203) RIHS MSS 455 , An account of the death of Col. Greene, May 1781

(204) Letter of Captain Coggeshall Olney to Colonel Alexander Scammel, 14 May 1781 Library of Congress Manuscripts Division, “American Memory, George Washington Papers 1741-1799” http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/gwhome.html.

(205) George Washington Papers, Series 3, Varick Transcripts, 1775-1785, Subseries 3G, General Orders, 1775-1783, Letterbook 5: April 11, 1780 – Sept. 5, 1781

(206) Return of May 24, 1781 Returns Book, Second RI Regiment/Rhode Island Regiment. RIHS MSS

(207) Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 3, Varick Transcripts, 1775-1785, Subseries 3G, General Orders, 1775-1783, Letterbook 5: April 11, 1780 – Sept. 5, 1781

(208) General Orders, May 28, 1781 Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 3, Varick Transcripts, 1775-1785, Subseries 3G, General Orders, 1775-1783, Letterbook 5: April 11, 1780 – Sept. 5, 1781

(209) Popek, p. 498

(210) A rifle or hunter’s “frock” was a linen, fringed shirt designed to wick water away from the wearer and be durable enough for long wear in the wilderness. The type of shirt was widely favored by the “Rifle Brigades” of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia during the war.

(211) RIHS Manuscript Collections, Receipt roll for Capt. Thomas Cole’s Co., Revolutionary War Military Records, MSS 673, Subgroup 2, Series 1, Sub-series A, Box 7, Folder 10

(212) “General Orders, 18 June 1781,” Founders Online, National Archives, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-06092.

(213) Dexter had previously served as Assistant Adjutant General. On his return to the regiment as a field officer, it was determined out of respect for the late Col. Christopher Greene that the Lieutenant Colonel would command the regiment with two Majors to assist with command, completing the standard three field officers per battalion. This arrangement of officers for the Rhode Island Regiment would be kept for the duration of the war. (Walker, pp.155-156, Popek, p. 825 fn 96)

(214) Instructions to Major General Benjamin Lincoln, July 1, 1781, Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, Vol. 22, pp. 301-304

(215) The grand brick house of the family seat dates back to the 1600’s and still stands as the Philipse Manor Hall House Museum, a National Historic Site.

(216) Redington, Reminiscences: Short Sketch of the Life of Asa Redington pp. 12-16. Popek reprints a larger portion of this memoir in his work, pp. 501-503

(217) Popek, p. 503

(218) Nearly all of the Rhode Island detachments to the Light Infantry Battalions were white veterans, the exceptions being Privates James Niles of indigenous descent, and another soldier of color Charles Schuyler. Both of these men as Popek points out, were under the required height to serve in such a battalion. They were likely then, secured from the Rhode Island Regiment to care for the horses of the Light Infantry Battalion.

(219) Acomb, The Revolutionary Journal of Baron von Closen 1780-1783 Chapel Hill, 1958 p.89.

(220) Critics of the formation of the “Black Regiment” have used quotes such as these from this time period to repeat ad nauseum that a significant number of white veterans of the Rhode Island Regiment were On Command with the Light Horse brigades, as well as at West Point and the Continental Village. This meant of course, that the percentage of soldiers of color in the regiment was smaller than it appeared to these misguided observers. What these critics miss is the impression these soldiers made upon the French officers and American soldiers, many of whom had never seen a person of color in a Continental uniform. The praise of their dress, handling of arms, and maneuvers; their behavior within camp, and performance on the field as equals in rank and duty was transforming for many of those who were soldiers of the revolution. I am among those who believe that their service and the service of people of color throughout the colonies was a sea change in how people of color were viewed by American society, and that this, with other factors moved communities to emancipate those who had not already been freed after the war.

(221) Ibid.

(222) De Bourg, Diary of A French Officer 1781 as printed in Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries,#296 October 1880 See https://washingtonpapers.org/french-officers-first-impressions-of-washington-and-the-continental-soldiers/

(223) July 12, 1781 Return, Returns Book, Second Rhode Island Regiment/Rhode Island Regiment RIHS Mss

(224) Letter of George Washington to General Lafayette, July 13, 1781 from Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington Vol. 22, pp. 367-369

(225) Popek, p. 509

(226) Desmarais, The Road to Yorktown, pp. 65-66

(227) Ibid. p. 67

(228) Payroll of Captain Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company, Revolutionary War Military Records, MSS 673, Subgroup 2, Series 1, Sub-series A, Box 7, Folder 16

(229) Desmarais, The Road to Yorktown, pp. 128-129

(230) Letter from George Washington to General Lafayette, 15 August 1781

(231) Private Asa Redington of Scammel’s Light Infantry would record in his journal During the march the weather was very warm, our provisions were poor and scant,…and without any other earthly thing during this long and fatiguing march, and having no other drink tan such as the brooks and streams offered over which we passed. (Redington, Reminiscences: Short Sketch of the Life of Asa Redington, pp. 16-17 courtesy of Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.

(232) Popek, p. 512

(233) RI Archives, Council of War, Unbound Records 1779-1781

(234) Returns Book, Second Rhode Island Regiment/Rhode Island Regiment RIHS MSS. The returns of September 7th and 26th list the enlisted prisoners of war released on September 1, 1781. They also list those released sick and their subsequent locations. These included soldiers of color John Antony, Bristol Arnold, James Clark, Windsor Fry, and Pharoah Hazard, along with a dozen of the white Privates taken that morning.

(235) These were prisoners captured aboard privateers or other such prisoners captured at sea by the Royal Navy.

(236) Ri Archives, Council of War, Unbound Records 1779-1781

(237) Egle, ed. Diary of Captain James Duncan of Colonel Moses Hazard’s Regiment in the Yorktown Campaign 1781 Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Vol. 15 (Harrisburg, E.K. Meyers 1890) pp. 745-746. Portions of this diary are also reprinted in Popek’s work.

(238) Letter of Major General Benjamin Lincoln to Lieutenant Colonel Jeremiah Olney, September 9, 1781 RIHS Manuscripts, Lieutenant Colonel Jeremiah Olney Papers MSS 18 Box 3, Folder 18

(239) General Orders, September 15, 1781 George Washington Papers, Series 3, Varick Transcripts, 1775-1785, Subseries 3G, General Orders, 1775-1783, Letterbook 6: Sept. 6, 1781 – Dec. 31, 1782

(240) General Orders, 16 September 1781 George Washington Papers, Subseries 3G, Varick Transcripts, Letterbook 6 http://www.loc.gov/resource/mgw3g.006

(241) These, wrapped and tied upon poles, would be used as the “sponges” for the artillery pieces, used to cool down the cannon as well as clean the gun before the next firing, an all important task; as any residue could cause he next charge to go off prematurely, injuring the gun crew.

(242) General Orders, September 25 & 26, 1781 George Washington Papers, Series 3, Varick Transcripts, 1775-1785, Subseries 3G, General Orders, 1775-1783, Letterbook 6: Sept. 6, 1781 – Dec. 31, 1782

(243) Washington’s General orders read in part as follows: The whole Army will March by the right in one Column at 5 o’clock tomorrow Morning precisely. The particular order of March for the right wing will be distributed by the Quarter Master General. General Orders, September 27, 1781 https://www.loc.gov/resource/mgw3g.006/?sp=8&st=text

(244) Egle, ed. Diary of Captain James Duncan pp. 746-747

(245) Return of September 26, 1781 Williamsburg, Va. Returns Book, Second Rhode Island Regiment/Rhode Island Regiment RIHS MSS

(246) Popek, p. 518

(247) Desmarais, The Road to Yorktown, p.158

(248) Ibid.

(249) Return, October 1, 1781 Returns Book, Second Rhode Island Regiment/Rhode Island Regiment, RIHS MSS

(250) Thatcher, James A Military Journal During the American Revolutionary War 1775-1783 Plymouth, 1827 2nd ed. p. 271

(251) Desmarais, The Road to Yorktown, p. 160. The disease of smallpox would affect the surrounding community as well as soldiers who attempted to assist the abandoned refugees. Washington’s General Orders of September 27, 1781 expressly forbade American soldiers having any interaction with these former enslaved people or with any homeowners in town.

(252) Thacher, Military Journal pp. 272-273

(253) General Orders, October 8, 1781 https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-07210

(254) Popek, p.

(255) Thatcher, A Military Journal, p. 274

(256) Popek, p. 522

(257) Memoirs of Capt. Stephen Olney copied by Sanford B. Smith (C.W. Parsons 1889) RIHS Manuscript collection Sanford Smith Papers, MSS 9001-S, Box 9

(258) These were men with axes, spades and fascine-cutting knives that would cut a path through the abatis and fascines thrown up before a redoubt in order for the troops to penetrate the fortification.

(259) The abatis being an entanglement of upturned tree trunks, sharpened branches, earth, and roots that were thrown around an artillery battery in order to prevent or delay an enemy assault.

(260) Ibid.

(261) Desmarais, The Road to Yorktown, p.166

(262) Letter from Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton to General Lafayette, October 15, 1781 https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-02-02-1200-0001

(263) Desmarais, The Road to Yorktown, p. 167

(264) Thatcher, A Military Journal, p. 277

(265) Ibid.

(266) Letter from George Washington to General Cornwallis, October 18, 1781 https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-07192

(267) Thatcher, A Military Journal, p. 279

(268) Ibid., p. 280

(269) Popek, p. 532

(270) General Orders, September 25, 1781 https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-07264

(271) Popek, p. 533

(272) Letter of Ezekiel Cornell and William Ellery to Governor Greene, Dec. 6, 1781 as printed in Staples, Rhode Island in the Continental Congress.

(273) Martin, Joseph Plumb Private Yankee Doodle Boston, Little, Brown & Co. 1962 p. 246

(274) https://www.loc.gov/resource/mgw3g.006/?sp=109&st=text

(275) General Orders, December 22, 1781 https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-07570

(276) Popek, p. 538

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