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The pleasure of their number” Crisis, Conscription, and Revolutionary Soldiers’ Recollections (A Preliminary Study)

John U. Rees

Part II. "Fine, likely, tractable men." Levy Statistics and New Jersey Service Narratives


Andries Davis, 2 nd New York Regiment levy,

the British who was in Philadelphia moved off - we … pursued them, overtook them at Monmouth … when the rest of the Army was Engaged in the Battle, the [2 nd ] Regiment … was kept in reserve in the edge of the woods Major Fish came up and ordered us to prime and

Load as the Enemy were advancing - we did so

Lounsberry addressed [Private John] Van Demark (who was in his platoon and near him) and

asked him ‘How do you feel[?]’ he answered with great resolution ‘good’ …” 1

after laying at Valley Forge for some time,

when the order was given … Capt.



1. Jersey and North Carolina Individual and Group Data 2. LeviesPrior Service 3. Drafts and Substitutes 4. Mustering and Joining the Regiments. 5. The Monmouth Campaign, 19 to 27 June 1778

Regiments . 5. The Monmouth Campaign, 19 to 27 June 1778 Gen. George Washington confronts Maj.

Gen. George Washington confronts Maj. Gen. Charles Lee during the morning events at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, June 28, 1778.


Historian/philosopher Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) noted, “History is the essence of innumerable biographies," a truism that nicely reflects the nine-month levies’ contribution to the American experience, and old soldiers’ pension narratives in general. To emphasize this we will look at the larger events of 1778 through the microcosm of New Jersey levies’ personal data, and several states’ soldiers’ late-life accounts. 2 New Jersey provides an excellent 1778 levy case study, with comprehensive information including many men’s physical attributes, trades, places of birth, and former military service. For comparison, we have a small data set for North Carolina levies mustered at the same time. The picture thus afforded of the soldiers’ persona and societal status is invaluable, and largely available only by studying both descriptive lists and 19 th century pension accounts. To this can be added New Jersey muster roll data providing levies’ enlistments, discharges, extra duties, losses, desertions, and reenlistments.

Jersey and North Carolina Individual and Group Data. Levy Frederick Van Lew stated that “during the … nine months service, in the first place [he] was taken to Princeton and his name was taken down and he measured his height was then five feet eight inches …” All New Jersey and North Carolina levies were examined after mustering and details such as age, height, complexion, and race noted on descriptive rolls. One popular military manual described “Young, active Men, from seventeen to twenty-five years of age … [not] taller than six feet, nor lower than five feet, six inches and a half” as making “the most tractable soldiers.” Recruits should also be free of “ruptures, scald heads, convulsion-fits, or other extraordinary complaints …” One New Jersey man was rejected as "Unfitt for duty on acct. of an old wound Rec.d in the Late War." In other cases the examiners were not too particular. Twenty-year-old Abraham Harcourt was taken into the 2 nd Regiment despite a note that Brigadier General William Maxwell "objects too [him] as being to[o] small & Lookg unhealthy." Harcourt reenlisted for the war in March 1779, but deserted the next month. Another man, Nimeon Calder or Caldron, described as 40 years old and having "but one eye," joined the 3 rd New Jersey. 3 Compiled New Jersey physical data reveals the greatest numbers of levies were between the ages of sixteen and twenty (39 percent), and most were from five feet six to five feet eight inches tall (33.4 percent). For comparison, age and height for sixty-seven Granville County, North Carolina, levies were provided in twenty-five descriptive lists, all dated May 25 th 1778; 53.8 percent of the North Carolina men studied were under twenty-one years of age, and most (49.3.percent) were five feet nine to five feet eleven inches tall. 4

New Jersey Levy Age

Sample: 472 men (70.5 % of 670 levies)

North Carolina Levy Age

Sample: 68 men


men 16 to 20 years (39 % of sample)

36 men 16 to 20 years (53.8 % of sample)


men 21 to 25 years (29 %)

21 men 21 to 25 years (31.4 %)


men 26 to 35 years (18 %)

8 men 26 to 33 years (12 %)


men 36 to 53 years (12.5 %)

3 men 40 to 44 years (4.5 %)


New Jersey Levy Height

Sample: 469 men (70 % of 670 levies)

2 men 4’10” to 4’11” (.03 % of sample)

North Carolina Levy Height

Sample: 68 men

20 men 5’0”

to 5’2” (3 %)



men 5’3”

to 5’5”

(15.6 %)

5 men 5’3” to 5’5”

(7.5 % of sample)


men 5’6”

to 5’8”

(33.4 %)

27 men 5’6” to 5’8”

(40.3 %)


men 5’9”

to 5’11” (15.2 %)

33 men 5’9” to 5’11” (49.3 %)

17 men 6’0”

to 6’2”) (2.6 %)

3 men 6’0”

(4.5 %)

Occupations for sixty and race for sixty-four North Carolina levies were given:


planters* (including 4 blacks, 1 mulatto, and 1 half-Indian)






card maker



1 wheelwright 1 “possessed of several trades”

* farmer, possibly farm-worker

Of the North Carolina men fifty-four were white, five black (one with no trade), four mulattoes (three with no trade), and one half-Indian. Livelihoods of forty-seven New Jersey levies are also known,



10 shoemakers



4 weavers



2 carpenters



1 barber



1 cooper



1 "Marrine" [probably a seaman]


coach painter

1 schoolmaster

Race is noted, too, in New Jersey descriptions, revealing four mulatto and three Indian levies. These are in addition to two black soldiers enlisted for the war in the 2nd Jersey and approximately fifteen other blacks known to have served in other regiments of Maxwell's Brigade. 5 Another document lists birthplaces for 112 New Jersey levies. While 78.5 percent were American-born, the proportion of Jersey-born men was relatively high (64.4 percent). Similar studies of other states would likely reveal differing proportions. Pennsylvania, for example, would likely have a higher number of foreign-born men, while Massachusetts and Connecticut seem to have had more stable populations and may have mirrored the New Jersey case.


New Jersey Levies’ Birthplace (Out of 112 for whom statistics are available) 78.5 percent American-born 21.5 percent foreign-born


American-born (as follows)



in New Jersey


listed generally as being in America


in Pennsylvania (Including 2 from Philadelphia)


in New York (Including 2 from Long Island)


in New England


in Maryland


foreign-born (as follows)


in Ireland


in England


in Scotland


in Germany


in Holland


in France

Most levies who provided their place of birth also gave the location of their home in spring 1778; not surprisingly the majority resided in New Jersey, but nine men had out-of- state residences, eight in Pennsylvania (including two in Bucks County, one in Philadelphia, and one in Carlisle), and one in North Carolina.

LeviesPrior Service. The l778 levies’ prior military service depended somewhat upon their home state, but by and regardless, there was among the new men a leavening of men who had spent time as regular soldiers or in field service as militia. Since the draft was generally based on enrolled militia, most of that state’s nine-month men had served in the militia for brief terms, including some combat experience. An examination of 266 New Jersey levy pension depositions also reveals twenty-six former levies (9.5 percent) claiming prior service in the Continental Army. The breakdown of levies with pre-1778 non-militia military experience, including the men below, was nineteen men who served in the 1776 New Jersey battalions (eight in the 1 st Jersey, one with 2 nd Jersey, and ten with the 3 rd ), two with Thompson's Rifle Battalion in 1775 and 1776, one each with the 3 rd and 5 th Pennsylvania Battalions, and one with the 1 st New York Battalion, all in 1776, plus one as an artificer and one with the Pennsylvania State Navy. 6 Twenty-three year old weaver Frederick Van Lew was typical, joining the 2 nd Regiment as a substitute on 28 May 1778, listed as a deserter in November, returned the next month, and receiving his discharge on 28 February 1779. In 1775 Van Lew lived on Long Island and served one month in the New York militia. On a visit to his family in New Jersey he enlisted for five months in an unnamed regiment, claiming service at the Battle of Long Island where “we had a tight engagement and there we had to swim a tide mill pond and many of our men drowned in crossing the pond, [he] lost his rifle & coat in swimming the pond, after crossing the pond we went to Cobble hill Fort about half or three quarters of a


mile distant … and there joined the army again.” Van Lew described his participation in the Battle of White Plains, and of the Fort Lee evacuation he notes being on guard and discovering “the River full of the boats of Brittish and as they landed deponent with his men fired and immediately run for Fort Lee, when we came to the Fort [General] Washington

had left … with his Army, for Hackinsack in New Jersey, and only about seventy men remained at the Fort of str[a]ggling appearance drinking liquor that was left by the sutlers, deponent and his men filled their Cantines & left the Fort and went after the Army …” Also claiming service in the Trenton and Princeton actions Van Lew noted “after the [Princeton] battle was over, [he] left the Army and went to his Brothers in Montgomery Township

[Somerset County, New Jersey]

” During 1777 he “became attached to the Militia

which was Classed One half went out for one month and then was relieved by the other half, and so Alternately until the Close of the War, but deponent Enlisted for nine months [in1778] … in the State troops and joined Washingtons Army …” 7 Other men had interesting tales to tell. First New Jersey Regiment levy Joseph Stull said

his "first militia service … he thinks was in the year 1776

Capt. Ten Eyck [possibly Colonel Abraham Ten Eyck] and marched to Germantown in

Pennsylvania, was in the battle at Germantown. attacked a picket at Chestnut hill, near

Armitage tavern

side on the ground near the British picket

of the year 1778

enlisted for his class who had to furnish a man for the term by requisition." Twenty-eight

year old Elijah Holcomb (4 th New Jersey) enlisted in the 5 th Pennsylvania Battalion in February 1776, participated in the Battle of Long Island, and was captured at Fort

Washington in November, later making “his escape across the North River by swimming to a boat in the River …” Philip Hornbaker (a.k.a. Baker, 2 nd Jersey Regiment) "enlisted at Carlisle in the state of Pennsylvania in the spring or summer of … 1775 … in the rifle company commanded by Capt Wm. Hendrickson [Hendricks, Thompson’s Rifle Battalion] … marched in said company from Carlisle to Boston … remained a few months and then were marched for Quebeck in Canada under the command of Col

[Benedict] Arnold and [Daniel] Morgan

were joined by Genl. [Richard] Montgomery

captain was killed and him the said deponent received a shot in the neck and was taken prisoner and retained until the spring …” 8 At least one levy, 24-year-old George Sinclair, saw sea service. In September 1776

Sinclair "at Philadelphia … entered the service of the United States

Frigate Washington commanded by Captain Thomas Reed for … one year as a common


in the spring

Was another tour out under

Lieut. [John] Brokaw of the same Company was killed by deponent's

[He] enlisted for nine months

was enrolled at Somerville and joined the army at Valley Forge. He

after their arrival on Abrahams plains they

he was in the attack of Quebec when his

to serve on board the

after [receiving a]

discharge [he] entered

as a common sailor to serve during

one year on board the [Pennsylvania State Navy] fire ship called the Hell Cat commanded

by Captain Robert French / the Hell Cat was burnt at Mud Island fort [i.e., Fort Mifflin on

the Delaware River] … [he enlisted] a few weeks after [that]

board of the ship of war [Pennsylvania State Navy guard boat or half-galley] called the

Repulse at Mud Island fort … about two months after [he joined]

the remainder of the american fleet there situated were abandoned & burnt by the Americans

for one year as a steward on

this ship together with

…” 9


Drafts and Substitutes. Twenty-six New Jersey levies with known occupations served as substitutes for men who would not or could not serve. The New Jersey recruiting act stipulated that each militia regiment was to be divided into "Classes of eighteen Persons in each.” Each class was to furnish a volunteer; if none came forward the regiment’s officers were "to detach by Lot one Person out of the said Class to serve." The drafted man was given the option "to Serve himself or procure a Substitute to serve in his Stead." Fourteen of the New Jersey substitutes were laborers while the remainder worked at various skilled trades or professions, including the single schoolmaster. The preponderance of laborers may indicate a shortage of unskilled work, possibly due to the area economy or seasonal considerations, or merely that they were able to serve having no other obligations. 10 The status of substitutes, and the drafted men in general, merits further discussion. A system of substitutes for regular tours of militia duty had become commonplace by 1778, so much so that some men may have earned a good portion of their living from substitute bounties. The New Jersey General Assembly noted that the need to keep their militia constantly in the field “in very considerable Numbers … has introduced the Practice of giving such high Premiums to Substitutes that Recruiting is become almost impracticable in the State and must so continue as long as the Enemy maintain their present Posts and our Militia Constitute our Defense." Several states also had provisions whereby one or two men could provide a substitute to serve in a Continental regiment for three years or the war, thereby gaining exemption from militia service for the duration of his term. Drafted men could find their own substitutes, or pay a fine, which was then used for that purpose. In the case of New Jersey 1778 draftees, they needed to find their own stand-in within five days of the draft notification. Substitutes not only received the forty-dollar state bounty, soldier’s pay, and third of a dollar daily subsistence (this last until he joined his regiment), but also was paid a sum of money decided by negotiating with the drafted man. Many militia substitutes served in place of fathers, brothers, and other relatives; some of the nine-month substitutes may have done the same. 11 Substitutes and drafted men seem not to have been held in low esteem, Revolutionary veterans in their pension depositions at least had no compunction telling of service in either of those roles. Unfortunately we may never know how the long-term Continental soldiers viewed nine-month men, and the bounties they received for their brief service, but their Civil War counterparts’ attitude gives some indication. Union volunteer soldiers were mortified by the system of substitutes, men who received $300.00 and up for serving in a draftee’s stead. 12 Some troops took it out on the substitutes themselves but others waxed philosophical on the matter. Vermont Private Wilbur Fisk noted late in 1863, “Boys that have served so far through the war without any bounty or extra compensation whatever, are apt to be envious of those more favored, and to refuse that cordial sympathy to them in time of need, that they would cheerfully render to one of their own comrades … Perhaps this is wrong, but it is a fact nevertheless … 13 In June 1865, after hearing rumors that veteran volunteer soldiers would be kept in the post-war army, Fisk evinced a more sympathetic point of view,

The luckiest fellows in this war appear to be those who enlisted previous to October 1 st [1864] for one year. Many of these get enormous bounties as substitutes, reaching as high as $1500 in all, and in some instances that I have known to two thousand. Now these fellows happen to come among those who are to go home first, before they have hardly found out what real soldiering is, or become hardened to it. One of the clerks at Dr.


Parker’s headquarters was telling me … of one who got his discharge day before yesterday, and is now on his way rejoicing. He got sixteen hundred dollars bounty for coming out here, and was with his regiment only three weeks when he was taken sick and sent to the hospital, and here he has been ever since. By some clever diplomacy, which the rest of us cannot equal, he managed to get a bona fide discharge from the hospital, enabling him to go home at once. We don’t blame a man who intends to be a soldier for taking whatever of money may be given him as a bounty, for a man can’t live in this world without his bread and cheese, and it takes money to buy these; nor is a man’s good luck in getting his discharge and getting home a thing to be censured … 14

Continental soldiers may also have been lenient, especially since they likely knew numbers of the draftees and substitutes they served with. That likelihood was mitigated by the fact that soldiers who enlisted for three years or the war before February 1778 received a twenty dollar bounty plus 100 acres of land at war’s end, while New Jersey levies received forty dollars for their 1778 nine-months service, and North Carolina volunteers were given a one hundred dollar bounty, drafted men fifty. Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York levies received no bonus. 15

Mustering and Joining the Regiments. A short time after the New Jersey special recruiting law was passed on 3 April 1778 provisions for a draft were put into effect. Militia regiments were mustered the same month and divided into eighteen-man classes. The actual mechanics of the New Jersey draft lottery is unknown. Pennsylvania citizens chosen for militia service in 1777 were “Serv’d with notice according to Law”; in several instances notices were given to a man’s wife, “left at his lodging,” or “left with his Negro.” 16 Massachusetts men drafted in 1778 were sent notifications, as follows:

To Mr. James Cook 17

Sir. With the advice of the Military Officers Select men and Committee of this Town you are Draughted to do Eight months Sarvice in the Continantal Army from this Date; and you are to furnish your Self for Camp and be in reddiness forthwith to Muster and to March When and Where Ordered or otherwise you are to pay a fine fifteen pounds in Twenty four hours from the time of your being Draughted

New Salem April 17 th 1778

William Page

Historian Paul Lutz noted that some officials were sympathetic when men gave good reason for not serving. In one case drafted New York farmer Joseph Depuy explained his failure to serve as “solely owning to these Reasons, Viz.: He having Last Year Met with the Misfortune of Loosing his Barn by a Flash of Lightning, and with Much Difficulty and Hard Labour got the Timber for a New Barn which at the time of his being ordered out, wanted four Days work of a Carpenter … and said Carpenter Could by No Means Stay Longer with him and if did not imbrace the then oppertunity had Not the Least prospect of Having a Barn this Season and further Says that his Wife was very ill and himself very Subject to the Rheumetism …” Initially Depuy was fined fifteen pounds, but the court record states, “The Governor Considering the Case of Joseph Depuy & his late Misfortunes remits the Punishment.” 18 After the required number of volunteers, drafts, and substitutes were collected they were probably given a short time to put their affairs in order, after which small detachments were formed, descriptive lists compiled, and the men sent on to join their units. Militia officers


were appointed to conduct the New Jersey levies to camp where they were received and signed for by Jacob Dunn, state recruiting agent. Since half of the New Jersey Brigade was at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and the remainder stationed in New Jersey, state authorities decided that recruits could join at either location, and in any Jersey regiment they chose. Quite naturally, this meant that relatives, friends, and neighbors tended to join the same units. 19 Having enrolled in one of the four New Jersey regiments the new men were distributed among each unit’s eight companies in preparation for the upcoming campaign. The 1 st Regiment left Valley Forge for New Jersey on May 8 th to join the 2 nd Jersey Regiment, which had been in their home state since late March. The 3 rd and 4 th Regiments marched from Valley Forge on the 26 th , and the New Jersey Brigade was reunited at or near Mount Holly before month’s end. 20 These experiences were exciting for the men, so much so that in later years some former levy soldiers seeking pensions left vivid accounts of their 1778 service, several quite long, most brief vignettes, many giving details that would otherwise have been lost. One man, Benjamin Peachey, was "enlisted under a Capt [Jonathan] Beasley who was a recruiting officer, and from whom he was transfered to another Capt[ain] whose name he has now forgot and from whom he was transfered to Capt Wooling [Thomas Walling, New Jersey "

militia?] and all the time in the Regt. commanded by Col. Isreal Shreve

levy Joseph Stull “enlisted for his class who had to furnish a man for the term by requisition …”; he “was enrolled at Somerville and joined the army at Valley Forge." Philip Hornbaker

remembered “A man was drafted to serve in the Militia nine months but I cannot recollect his name, I went for this man as a substitute in a company commanded by Captain John


"about the last of April in the year 1778 being sixteen or seventeen years old

the service

eighteen, and was then living in Bernards town Somerset County, New Jersey. He joined

the [3 rd Jersey Regiment] … when it was stationed at Valley Forge

the American army began its march to English town N.J." John Ackerman recalled enlisting “on the 18 of May [1778] with Christopher Van Deventer, Garlin Ackerman, Enoch Dunham, John Overt, George Overt, John Freeland, Isaac Blanchard, Garret Nephis,

and served in the first Jersey Regiment

he first marched after enlisting from Brunswick to

Foster town near Mt Holly - from thence to English town where he arrived on Saturday

preceeding the Battle of Monmouth, and from thence to the Battle

While the new men began joining the New Jersey regiments in early May, the greatest number (530) arrived between 21 May and 14 June; one man reached the brigade on August 26 th 1778, and the last levy, William Strong, did not join until April 1779. 22

First New Jersey

and was in the battle at Monmouth Court House," and Cornelius Rickey stated that

[he] entered

as a substitute and a private soldier, hired for nine months by a class of

In about three weeks



New Jersey Brigade Tally for Joining from May to August 1778

(612 levies accounted for out of 670 total)

40 levies joined between 1 May to 20 May (inclusive) 533 levies joined between 21 May and 14 June 39 levies joined between 15 June to 26 August


Once assimilated the levies had to be clothed and equipped, 2 nd Regiment Colonel Israel Shreve noting on 29 May,

The Nine months Levys are Comeing in unarmed, 30 Arrived yesterday, 100 more on their march for the first Regt., 46 are on their way from the Cumberland. [The] Salem Quoto will join in six Days, part of [the] Burlington Quoto will join me in a few Days - so from the present appearance the first and second Regts. will soon be Nearly full. Colo. [Matthias] Ogden Waited upon Governor [William] Livingston for Arms, was inform'd by the Governor, those leavys Could not be armed by the State. At least 300 stand of Arms Compleat [are needed]. I would not

wish to Draw one Arm more than Can Immediately be put into Good mens hands

Neglect in provideing Cloathing for our Brigade has been such that our troops suffer Greatly on this Account … The Counties are provideing for the New Rais'd Leavys while the old soldiers Inlisted for the war Are Quite Neglected. If any such things [i.e., shirts] are in the Cloathier Gen. store, it would Oblige us to Obtain an order from your Excy. for at least one apeice which will be about 600 for both Regts. or a Less Number if so many Can't be had. I shall Watch the Motion of the Enemy and Endeavour to Give your Excy. the Earliest Intelligence." (For a detailed study of New Jersey levy clothing see, Rees, "'The Great Neglect in provideing Cloathing':Uniform Colors and Clothing in the New Jersey Brigade During the Monmouth Campaign of 1778" (part 2), 23

The Great

General George Washington notified General Maxwell on May 29 th concerning muskets

“I cannot supply you

from the Eastward." Five days later Maxwell replied, "I have

[and] is now divideing them out. I hope the Jersey Brigade will cut a good figure shortly." Some levies used their own clothing and equipment, for which the state reimbursed them. George Sinclair carried into service a musket and bayonet, cartridge box, knapsack, and blanket, and Captain Jonathan Phillips wrote Colonel Shreve that “Fredrick Van-Lew & three others who are with him are Compleat with armes and Acqutomets [accoutrements] " Equipment shortfalls continued to pose a problem, the Jersey Brigade commander writing on 5 June, “I have heard there was some Cartridge Boxes at Trenton and [have] sent for them if they have not been sent away. I expect them here today." Sufficient supplies still had not been procured by the 28 June Monmouth battle. Concerning the pre-battle planning

session Maxwell later testified that “General Washington … mentioned, that something

might be done by giving them a very brisk charge by some of the best troops

mentioned something about my troops, that some of them were new, and the want of cartouch boxes, and seemed to intimate that there were some troops fitter to make a charge than them." 25 The troops, old and new, had to be readied for the upcoming campaign in other ways. Training in the army’s new system of discipline, called "the Prussian Exercise” by Brigade

Inspector Major Joseph Bloomfield, had begun in April for the 1 st , 3 rd , and 4 th Jersey Regiments. Bloomfield noted that after the brigade was reunited in New Jersey he was


While some levies had seen previous Continental Army service, or had been in small-unit militia actions, for many their first experience of a large-scale military campaign occurred within a month of their joining the army. On the morning June 18 th General Sir Henry Clinton's British and German forces commenced their march across New Jersey, starting off from the Delaware River, opposite Philadelphia. Major Bloomfield noted in his journal for

All the unarmed Men are to march, as they will meet Arms coming

got the Arms from Easton,



in Exercising the Brigade & introducing the Baron de Steubens Instructions." 26


that day, "whilst the officers of the [Jersey] Brigade & Gentn. of the Town were feasting on Turtle & Punch &c. &c…. Information was brought that the Enemy were advancing." 27

was brou ght that the Enemy were advancing." 2 7 At least ninety of the New

At least ninety of the New Jersey levies are known to have worn their own clothing and equipment during their 1778 term of service. If civilian coats were accepted for use by the new levies, then at least some serving with Maxwell's Brigade wore clothing similar to that illustrated here. (Photo courtesy of Antoine Randolph Watts)

The Monmouth Campaign, 19 to 27 June 1778. The most intense experience for those levies who joined in time was the June 1778 Monmouth Campaign and its culminating battle. On May 26 General Washington had written Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates, "There are now at least 2500 Men, consisting of those whose Arms are out of repair, and the Levies of New York, New Jersey … and Maryland, who are unable to do duty for want of Arms.” Thus we know that levies from those three states served during the Monmouth campaign. It


is also likely that at least some Massachusetts levies joined their regiments in time for the 28 June battle. 28 Excepting perhaps New Jersey militia, the Jersey Continentals saw more action during the Monmouth Campaign than any other troops, especially during the eight days opposing the British march towards Freehold. Levy private Abraham Voorhies, 1 st New Jersey, noted “several skirmishes with the enemy toWitt at the draw Bridge at Mount Holly Crosswicks and several other places," while Peter Doty remarked that "they were constantly on the March and countermarch for three weeks after leaving Valley Forge …” David Cooper, also

with the 1 st Regiment, recalled “we joined the Jersey Brigade

remained about three weeks untill the British crossed the Delaware / we were then ordered

to march in their advance towards Bordentown throwing all possible obstructions in their way by tearing down Bridges felling trees &c &c When we crossed the Draw Bridge west of Bordentown & after cutting it almost down we entrenched on the West side of Crosswicks Creek & remained about 4 hours when we heard firing in another direction we then had orders to march & went on through the country to English Town where we stayed 3 days This was 3 Miles from the Battle ground at Monmouth …” Cornelius Rickey of the 3 rd Regiment told of marching towards Englishtown, that “While on this march [he], in a detachment of about 150 men, was in a skirmish with the Brittish at a bridge near

Heightstown intending to impede the progress of the enemy

provided the interesting detail that while two New Jersey regiments opposed the British march "Two regiments, of which his [the 4 th New Jersey] was one, marched around through

Trenton, [and] Maidenhead, [to] English Town & so forward to Monmouth …” 29 Second New Jersey levy James Jordan gave a vivid picture of the hurly burly of the British advance and small party harassment operations:

at Mt. Holly where we

" Levy Nathaniel Lyon

after entering the service he was marched from Valley Forge to Mount Holly / the British drove us out of Mount Holly and we retreated to the Black Horse ten Miles from Mt. Holly

and there encamped / this was

Meeting house for the purpose of staying all night the whole regiment was there / about the middle of the night the British came and surrounded the Meeting house … we retreated out of the Back door of the Meeting house and through the grave yard to a town in New Jersey called Crossicks four miles from the Black Horse / this retreat was performed in the night / In the morning there was a command [i.e., detachment] ordered to watch the motion of the enemy to see which way they would come he [Jordan] was included in this command / in the

morning following they were compelled to retreat from before the enemy in a swamp … they were chased by the enemy light horse for three days before the command which was

separated from the regiment

men lost in this flanking party … 30

about the first of June [1778] … they went into a Quaker

came up with the regiment / on this retreat there were three

Several levies made themselves useful in other ways, as General Maxwell informed

Washington on June 5 th : "There is two of the 9 months Men joyned me with their Horse and

Accoutriments, they expect something extraordinary for their Horse &ca

more would equip them selves and joyn the Brigade had they any encouragement." Along with some militia light horse these men served as Maxwell’s eyes and ears during the campaign. 31 The final section of this series will conclude New Jersey narratives of the Monmouth battle and subsequent service, and close with selections from Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, and North Carolina levy pension depositions.

I believe several


(Note: For an excellent account of the Monmouth Courthouse campaign and battle see, Mark Edward Lender and Garry Wheeler Stone, Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle (Norman, Ok.: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016) Pension accounts provide only a narrow view of the Monmouth Campaign, anyone wishing a detailed treatment of those events may examine, "’What is this you have been about to day?’: The New Jersey Brigade at the Battle of Monmouth” (narrative and appendices) )


1. Andries Davis deposition (S12742); Index of Revolutionary War Pension Applications in

the National Archives (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976), copies of

depositions and related materials in Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (National Archives Microfilm Publication M804), Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15, National Archives at Washington, D.C.

2. Thomas Carlyle, On History, quoted in Winston S. Churchill, Marlborough: His Life

and Times, Henry Steele Commager, ed. (New York, N.Y., 1968), xxvii-xxviii.

3. Frederick Van Lew deposition (S23035), Pension Files, Natl. Archives. " Bennett

Cuthbertson, Esq., System for the Compleat Interior Management and Oeconomy of a Battalion of Infantry (Dublin: Grierson, 1768), 56,57, 63. A List of Recruits Rais'd 1 st Regt. foot Militia Comded by Coll John Munson in Morris County … Who are to serve Nine months … June 5 th 1778," "A List of Recruits Recd from Coll Summers 3d. Regt. Of

Foot Militia of Gloucester County June 7 th 1778,” "

Hunterdon County

War Manuscripts (Numbered), Military Records, reel 5807861909, document 3638; reel 5798831908, documents 3602, 3609, 3610.

4. “A Descriptive List of the … men raised under the Present Act of Assembly in …

Company” (fifteen sheets), Granville County, N.C., 25 May 1778, Military Collection, War of the Revolution, North Carolina State Archives (Raleigh), Box 4, Continental Line, 1775- 1778, Folder 40. New Jersey levy data was compiled from the following documents:

1 st , 2 nd , 3 rd , and 4 th New Jersey (Continental) regiment muster rolls, 1778, Revolutionary War Rolls, National Archives Microfilm Publication M246, Record Group 93, reels 55- 62. "A list of Men Inlisted by the several Classes of the first Regiment of Monmouth Militia

to Serve as Soldiers during the Term of Nine Months

Jersey levy descriptive lists, 1778, NJ Archives, Revolutionary War Manuscripts:

Reel 5798831908: document nos. 3589, "

& 3593, "

James Delap and William Holmes as Indians; 3595, "


County & Township of Elizabeth

Glocester County Militia

men Raised in the third Battalion of Hunterdon Militia

Recruits raised in the third Regt of foot Militia

the Second Regt. of Foot Militia in

May 21, 1778," New Jersey State Archives [Trenton] Revolutionary


ibid., reel 63, section 60. New


the Cape May Battalion

8 May 1778; 3592

2 nd Battalion of Militia in the County of Cumberland

May 25 th 1778," lists

Second Regiment of Essex County

"; 3600, "

the first Regiment of Malitia in the State of New Jersey in Essex

May 2d: 1778"; 3601& 3602, "

3 Battalion of

29 day of May 1778"; 3607, "A Return of the Remaind[er] of

June 3d 1778."; 3606, "A List of

in Hunterdon County

May 27, 1778.";


3608, "

Samuel Peterson as mulattoes.

Reel 5807861909: document nos. 3609 & 3610, "

Hunterdon County

in Hunterdon County … Commanded by Col. Joseph Phillips who are to Serve Nine months

… May 28 1778," lists Thomas Case as a mulatto; 3615, "

Col. Joseph Phillips's Regiment

Coll. Taylor's [4 th ] Battalion of Hunterdon Militia


lists James Array and

Second Regt. of Foot Militia in

May 21, 1778"; 3614, "A List of Recruits from the 1 st Regt of Militia

of Hunterdon County

3619 & 3634, "

May 1778

of Monmouth Militia of Mon[mou]th Militia

Rais'd 1 st Regt. foot Militia Comded by Coll John Munson in Morris County … Who are to

serve Nine months … June 5 th 1778"; 3644 & 3646, "


Coll. Benj Helms in Salem County … June 2d 1778"; 3655, "

County of Somerset 10 th . 78"; 3660, " Sussex County

(Muster rolls listing levy occupations, bounties paid, etc.) Reel 5798831908, document no. 3587, "A List of Recruits rais'd for the Jersey Brigade in the first Regiment of the Militia of Burlington County, New Jersey, who have inlisted for 9

Months, agreeable to a late Act of the Legislature of said State," lists arms and equipment procured by each man, also lists Amos Thompson as a mulatto. Reel 5807861909, document nos.3617, "A Pay Roll of the Draughts from Col: David Chambers Battalion of the Hunterdon Millitia for the Nine Months Service," lists bounties, subsistence "to joining the regmt.," milage and "Value of Clothing" paid the men; 3620,

"List of Substitutes for 9 Months, belonging to the third Battalion Middlesex Militia of N.


Munson in Morris County State … June 5 th 1778"; 3655, "

"; 3616, "

3d Battalion of Hunterdon Militia

May 27 th . 1778"; this 11 th . Day of Third Battalion

Col. Websters [1 st ] Battallion of Middlesex Malitia

"; 3622, "

Second Battalion of Middlesex Militia"; 3625, "

the 3 rd Day of April 1778

"; 3634, "

Col. Samuel Forman's Regt.


lists William Cuffey as an Indian; 3638, "A List of Recruits

first Regiment of Salem County


3d Battal. of


3651, "A List of Recruits raisd in 2d Regiment of foot militia Comanded by


Second Battalion of the

May 1 st 1778"; 3652, "

first Regt of Salem County militia

Second Batalion of Sussex County Militia

"; 3663, "


3638, "A List of Recruits Rais'd 1 st Regt. Foot Militia Comded by Coll John

Second Battalion of the County

of Somerset

May 1 st 1778"; 3657, "Roll of two men from the 2 Battn of the County of


May 1 1778," actually lists three men and their occupations.

5. John U. Rees, “’An old colored man …’: Blacks, Mulattoes, and Indians Known to Have

Served in the 2nd New Jersey Regiment, 1778-79,” appendix in "I Expect to be stationed

in Jersey sometime

part I, December 1777 to June 1778 (1994), unpublished TMs, copy in the collections of

the David Library of the American Revolution, Washington Crossing, Pa

Richard S. Walling, Men of Color at the Battle of Monmouth June 28, 1778: The Role of African Americans and Native American at Monmouth (Hightstown, N.J.: Longstreet House, 1994)

An Account of the Services of the Second New Jersey Regiment:


See also,

6. John U. Rees, "`From thence to the Battle

of the Soldiers of the New Jersey Brigade for 1778," appendix in Rees, "I Expect to be

stationed in Jersey sometime …”

7. Frederick Van Lew deposition (S23035), Pension Files, Natl. Archives.

8. Elijah Holcomb (S41654), Philip Hornbaker (S2363), Joseph Stull (S23953), ibid.

9. George Sinclair (S40438), ibid. Thomas Reed was appointed captain on 6 June 1776 of

one of “four ships building in Philadelphia”; his appointment to the frigate Washington was

Gleanings from the Pension Depositions



confirmed on 12 June 1776. The Washington was launched August 7 th 1776. William James Morgan, ed., Naval Documents of the American Revolution, vol. 5 (Washington, D.C.:

Government Printing Office, 1970), 397-398, 497, 1020n. John W. Jackson, The Pennsylvania Navy, 1775-1781: The Defense of the Delaware (New Brunswick, N.J., 1974), 20, 197, 340, 343, 348.

10. “Act for the speedy and effectual recruiting of the four New-Jersey Regiments in the

Service of the United States," 3 April 1778, “Acts of the General Assembly of the State of


begun at Trenton on the 28th Day of October 1777

” (Burlington, N.J.,

1778), 64-71, William Sumner Jenkins, ed., Records of the States of the United States of

America: A Microfilm Compilation, (Washington: Library of Congress, 1949), A.3, reel

1, 1775-1776. "List of Substitutes for 9 Months, belonging to the third Battalion Middlesex

Militia of N. Jersey

document no.3620, lists twenty-eight substitutes and their occupations: sixteen laborers, one schoolmaster, four shoemakers, one gunsmith, one saddler, one taylor, one barber, one weaver, and one carpenter.


NJ Archives, Revolutionary War Manuscripts, reel 5807861909,

11. Statement of the New Jersey Legislative Council and General Assembly, 3 April 1778,

The Papers of the Continental Congress 1774-1789, National Archives Microfilm Publications M247 (Washington, DC, 1958), reel 82, April 3, 347-349.

In America Goes to War Charles Neimeyer discusses soldiers as wage earners and their view of bounties and pay. He noted “Washington stated that it was ‘fruitless’ to attempt to enlist soldiers on the bounty offered by Congress, ‘as the Sums given for substitutes in the Militia, induces all those, who would otherwise have gone into Continental service, to prefer a line in which neither duty nor discipline is severe; and which they have a chance of having the bounty repeated three or four times a year.’” General Washington wrote to the President of Congress in September 1776, regarding pay and bounties for short-service soldiers before the institution of long-term enlistments, “It is vain to expect, that any (or more than a trifling) part of this Army will again engage in the Service on the encouragement offered by Congress. When Men find that their Townsmen and Companions are receiving 20, 30, and more Dollars, for a few Months Service, (which is truly the case) it cannot be expected; without compulsion; and to force them into the Service would answer no valuable purpose.

Charles Patrick Neimeyer, America Goes to War: A Social History of the Continental Army (New York and London: New York University Press, 1996), 116-126, 129. "An Act for completing the four Battalions of this State in the Continental Service," passed at Haddonfield, New Jersey, 28 May 1777, stated that "any two of the Militia who shall enlist, or cause to be enlisted, one able-bodied healthy Recruit for any of the eight Companies of any of the four Battalions of this State in the Continental Army, shall be

exempted from actual Service in the Militia during the Term of such Enlistment

provided that their Freedom from actual service shall not be construed to extend to an Exemption from Trainings according to the Militia Act, or from doing Duty in case of an Alarm or Invasion within the several Counties in which they may respectively reside." These two persons "shall be discharged from the Payment of the Tax to which, by the aforesaid Militia Act, they are subject to on Account of their Exemption: And shall also,

should the Cause of their Exemption cease, be freed from actual Service as aforesaid, during the Term of the Enlistment of such Recruit, any Law to the contrary

notwithstanding." “Acts of the General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey At a Session

begun at Princeton on the 27th Day of August 1776

William Sumner Jenkins, ed., Records of the States of the United States of America: A


” (Burlington, N.J.,1777), 52,


Microfilm Compilation, (Washington: Library of Congress, 1949), B.2., reel 4, 1776- 1788. A February-March 1778 return of substitutes for the 2 nd New Jersey lists twelve pairs of men, each of which couple procured a substitute for Continental service, Jonathan Phillips, "A Return of those Persons for which I have received Substitutes, together with the Names of the Several Substitutes so received by me, & the time of their enlistment," February/March 1778, Israel Shreve Papers Alexander Library, New Jersey Room, Special Collections, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. A “General Return of the First Battalion [Philadelphia militia], when Called into Actual Service” included “Private Substitutes” who evidently were procured by the drafted citizens themselves. Thomas Lynch Montgomery, ed., Pennsylvania Archives, 6 th series, vol. I (Harrisburg: Harrisburg Publishing Co., State Printer, 1906), 35-52. Hannah Benner Roach, “The Pennsylvania Militia in 1777,” The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine,

vol. XXIII, no. 3 (1964), substitutes, 162, 163, 165. Samuel Woodruff (Connecticut), William Hutchinson (Pennsylvania), John Taylor (North Carolina), and John Suddarth (Virginia) all told of serving as substitutes, while Edward Elley of Virginia admitted to twice hiring a substitute to serve for him. Additionally, three of these men served in place of a brother or father. John C. Dann, ed., The Revolution Remembered: Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence (Chicago, 1980), 100, 151, 205, 234-238.

12. Eugene C. Murdock, One Million Men: The Civil War Draft in the North (Madison:

The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1971), 5-7. For the 1863-65 draft, bounties, and substitutes see also James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

(New York: Ballantine Books, 1988), 600-606.

13. Emil and Ruth Rosenblatt, eds., Hard Marching Every Day: The Civil War Letters of

Private Wilbur Fisk, 1861-1865 (Lawrence, Ka., 1992), 183.

14. Ibid., 331.

15. Carl Van Doren, Mutiny in January (New York: Viking Press, 1943), 16.

Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina draft statutes are cited in part one of this series, “’Filling the Regiments by drafts from the Militia.’ The 1778 Recruiting Acts,” ALHFAM Bulletin, vol. XXXIII, no. 3 (Winter 1999), 23-34.

16. Six 1777 Philadelphia militia returns noted “Proper Notices” delivered or attempted

to the men listed, Thomas Lynch Montgomery, ed., Pennsylvania Archives, 6 th series,

vol. I (Harrisburg: Harrisburg Publishing Co., State Printer, 1906), 53-56. Hannah Benner Roach, “The Pennsylvania Militia in 1777,” The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, vol. XXIII, no. 3 (1964), draft notifications, 165.

17. Paul V. Lutz, “Greetings, or, Do I Feel a Draught?,” American Heritage, vol. 17, no. 5

(August 1966), 112.




"A Descriptive Roll of Volunteers

from the first Regiment of Salem County Militia


NJ Archives, Revolutionary War Manuscripts, reel 5798831909, document #3646; this

roll of seventeen men was signed by Lieutenant Aaron Day, 3rd New Jersey Regiment, who stated that he had "Recd [at] Mount holly June 10th. 1778 in behalf of Major Dunn Agent For New Jersey State (for Recieving the Recruits raised by said State for Nine Months) all of the above men, except John Kelly Robert Campbill and John Grimes …” George Washington to Israel Shreve, 23 May 1778, John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources 1745-1799, vol. 11 (Washington: GPO, 1934), 436.


20. Locations of the four New Jersey regiments in May 1778 are discussed in the chapters

titled “Reinforcements and Alarms: The Actions of Brigadier General William Maxwell and the Remainder of the Jersey Brigade, May 7 to May 24, 1778” and “The Jersey Brigade is Reunited: May 28 to June 19, 1778,” in Rees, "I Expect to be stationed in

Jersey sometime …,” 50-55, 67-69.

21. Longstreet's Co., 1 st New Jersey, contained 27 Middlesex County levies, 17from

Monmouth County, 5 Somerset County, and 2 Hunterdon County. All the men who enlisted with John Ackerman served in Longstreet’s Company, viz.,

(1st Battalion Middlesex militia) John Ackerman, Enoch Dunham (2 nd Battalion Middlesex militia) Garlin Occerman (Garlin Ackerman), John OBart, George OBart (Overt), Garret Nafey (Garret Nephis) (Middlesex County militia) Christopher Drum, Christr. V. Deventer (Van Deventer) (1 st Regiment Monmouth militia) John Freland

One of the men, John Vreeland (Freland), stated in his pension papers "his parents were low

Dutch, that when he was in the Army

Freeland by the English people

Longstreet commanded the Company but being taken prisoner Capt. (or Lieut.) Vories

[Peter Van Voorhees] had Command - that he (Vorees) was inhumanly killed by a

detachment of the

was Cattridge maker …" 1 st New Jersey Regiment, Longstreet’s Company, 1778 muster

rolls, Revolutionary War Rolls, Natl. Archives, reels 55-57. John Vreeland (Freland) (S43216), Pension Files, Natl. Archives.

22. 1 st , 2 nd , 3 rd , and 4 th New Jersey (Continental) regiment muster rolls, 1778, Revolutionary

War Rolls, Natl. Archives, reels 55-62.

23. Israel Shreve to Washington, 29 May 1778, George Washington Papers, Presidential

Papers Microfilm (Washington, DC, 1961), series 4, reel 49.

24. Washington to William Maxwell, 29 May 1778, Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington,

vol. 11 (1934), 478-479. John U. Rees, "'The Great Neglect in provideing Cloathing':

Uniform Colors and Clothing in the New Jersey Brigade During the Monmouth Campaign of 1778," Military Collector & Historian, vol. XLVI, no. 4. (Winter 1994), 63- 170, and vol. XLVII, no. 1 (Spring 1995), 12-20.

25. William Maxwell to Washington, 5 June 1778, GW Papers, series 4, reel 49. Testimony

of Anthony Wayne, and William Maxwell, "Proceedings of a General Court Martial

for the Trial of Major General Lee. July 4th, 1778

he [Vreeland]

he was called Freland, and is usually called

he enlisted in the [1st New Jersey Regiment]


British light horse [actually Loyalists, 26 October 1779]


The Lee Papers, vol. III, 1778-

1782, Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1873 (New York, 1874), 4, 89-94.

26. Mark E. Lender and James Kirby Martin, eds., Citizen Soldier - The Revolutionary War

Journal of Joseph Bloomfield (Newark: New Jersey Historical Society, 1982), 133, 135.

27. Ibid., 135.

28. Washington to Horatio Gates, 26 May 1778, Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, vol.

11 (1934), 459.

29. Abraham Vorhies (S33864), David Cooper (S809), Cornelius Rickey (S4096),

Nathaniel Lyon (W9510), Pension Files, Natl. Archives.

30. James Jordan (W8225), ibid.

31. William Maxwell to Washington, 5 June 1778, GW Papers, series 4, reel 49.