Volume 2, Number 1 January/February/March 2001
In this issue:
Congratulations to Walter Dornfest, the winner of our February, 2001 one year anniversary contest!
Walter correctly identified seven of the ten regiments for which we provided clues and received a copy of Lieut. James Moody's Narrative of His Exertions and Sufferings in the Cause of Government, originally published in London in 1783.
Moody, who was a member of the New Jersey Volunteers, is probably best remembered for his involvement in a plan to steal the papers of the Continental Congress, an escapade that cost the life of his younger brother.
As usual, we are a little tardy with this issue of the newsletter, so we have a great many new things to tell you about. Here is what is new by section.
We are very excited about some of the newest additions to the Battles and Campaigns area.
One of our regular visitors, Ron Stevenson, of Monroe, NC has been making the rounds of a number of the southern battlefields taking photographs, and he has been kind enough to share them with us.
We think that you are really going to enjoy this series of pictures, especially if you have never had the opportunity to visit some of these places in person.
Best of all, there are more yet to come! Thank you, Ron!!
Waxhaws Battlefield. It was at Waxhaws where Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion caught the retreating Virginia Continentals under Colonel Abraham Buford. The Rebel force, superior in numbers to Tarleton, was almost entirely destroyed.
In addition to Ron's wonderful photographs, we have also added a few other new documents in this area.
Skirmish at Mantua Creek, NJ. Two new documents on this little example of petit guerre outside of Philadelphia in 1778.
At long last, we can also announce that we have opened the Maps & Gazetteer area of the site and taken down the construction sign.
Granted, the only thing we have added so far is a map of the Loyal Refugee Volunteers post at Bergen Point, NJ. But we are working on the gazetteer and hope to have the first entries for that online shortly as well.
Lots and lots of new things to tell you about here!
While we have only one totally new regiment in the Regimental History area this time around, we have supplemented a number of the other regiments already online.
Black Pioneers. This is a very brief history, taken from Todd's February lecture in our chat room., which offers a terrific selection of period newspaper accounts and documents with a particular emphasis on Northeastern Pennsylvania. It is well worth a look!
Loyal Refugee Volunteers. A number of excellent new documents here, including a 1779 recruiting notice; orders for the corps to establish themselves at the soon to be famous Bull's Ferry Blockhouse; orders to raid into Bergen County; an engineer's report of both the Bull's Ferry Blockhouse, and the later post of Fort DeLancey, including a map; numerous correspondences on the corps from Governor William Franklin; the gathering of intelligence data; and a farewell address to the corps' commander, Abraham Cuyler.
New Jersey Volunteers. We have added several items concerning perhaps the most famous New Jersey Volunteer of them all, Lieutenant James Moody. Moody was the subject of the March lecture by Todd, and it is presented here for anyone who may have missed it. In addition there are a pair of documents concerning Moody's imprisonment at West Point, including a letter from the partisan himself. Finally, thanks to our friend Kevin Wright, for an engraving of Moody freeing the prisoners from the Sussex County Jail/Courthouse.
Royal Fencible Americans. Another contribution by our friend, Alan Shields. This return for batt, baggage, and forage money to the officers is interesting as much for the time period as for the content itself. There is just one set of muster rolls for this regiment, dating from 1777. This document, though, is related to muster rolls in that it needed to be passed through either the Muster Master or Inspector General's office. Apparently it went through the latter in New York City, based on the signature of Ebenezer Bridgham.
We have another one of our visitors to thank for our latest addition to the Courts Martial area.
Steve Mabie has donated a copy of the transcript from the trial of his ancestor, Simon Mabee, by a rebel court. Mabee was captured in White Plains, NY in early 1777 with papers authorizing him to recruit men for the Guides & Pioneers. Needless to say, that is a charge that resulted in a sentence of death. Thanks, Steve!
It has been a while since we added to the Regular Army/Navy area, so we have several new things there. Among the more interesting items is a memorial of a Virginia Loyalist serving in the 9th Regiment of Foot, plus the memorial of an officer in the 43rd Regiment looking to be reimbursed for money he spent assisting imprisoned Loyalists, and two new letters for the 60th (or Royal American) Regiment.
The memorial of William Nisbett of the Barrack Master General's Department has been added to the Civil Branches area.
Two of our favorites have been added to the Spies & Intelligence area.
One of these is a very rare item indeed. It was prepared by a British Army sergeant who had escaped from prison and made his way safely back to the British lines, thanks to dozens of civilian Loyalists in the countryside. This is a list of those families that helped along his way in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Strangely, New Jersey is not mentioned. The second is a nifty letter in secret code from Nisbet Balfour destined for Lord Cornwallis.
The Clothing & Supplies area features two new documents. While short in length, these are very important items from 1780. They usher in the change from tin to wood canteens for the British and Provincial forces serving in America, plus advocating the use of trousers and tin cartridge boxes.
Although we never managed to pull together an intended feature for Black History Month, we did add many new documents to the Claims & Memorials area for the occasion.
These memorials offer a fascinating glimpse into the difficulties Blacks had in proving their circumstances, and into the possibility of their being used by unscrupulous people looking to capitalize monetarily off of them. Being 215+ years removed from fact, it is difficult, though, to determine the validity of some of the claims.
Following is a list of the memorials that were added:
Connecticut: Prince Prince
These past few months have been a real bonanza for visitor contributions!
Elizabeth Lanord, descendant of James P. Chase and his wife, Elizabeth Douglass, originally of Bristol County, Massachusetts, has donated a series of photographs of their gravestones taken in Burton Parish, Sunbury County, New Brunswick, which we have added to the Massachusetts claims along with a copy of James' claim for losses. Our thanks to Beth for this very nice donation.
In addition, we received a copy of the memorial of Lieutenant Lachlan McDonald of the British Legion from another of our visitors, F. Cleary and have added it to the New York claims. Thank you so much!
Slowly, but surely, we are transferring the transcripts of our monthly chat lectures onto the site. The Other Facts & Records area now contains the August, 2000 lecture entitled "Rebel Deserters to the Loyalist Cause" and the November, 2000 lecture entitled "Profile of the Common Loyalist Soldier".
We are pleased to welcome the 1st Battalion, Maryland Loyalists to our Reenactment Groups area. Founded in 1991, this group is based in central Maryland. They also have a newly designed website of their own that we invite you check out at http://www.marylandloyalists.org/.
&c &c &c Section:
We continue to subdivide and organize our Internet Links area. This time around, we have broken out the genealogy pages devoted to specific family lines and created a separate Family Surnames page. If you have a Loyalist family page that you would like to have added, please just drop us a note and let us know.
Click here for ---> Top of Page
A Worthwhile Endeavor
In mid-January, we were contacted indirectly (through the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada) by the Reverend John Tipton, pastor of Connecticut Farms Church in Union, New Jersey.
Reverend Tipton's church was the site of the Battle of Connecticut Farms on 7 June 1780. The original church was burned down as a result of the battle.
This battle involved a number of British and Hessian regiments as well as about 425 Loyalists from the 1st and 4th Battalions, New Jersey Volunteers, the Black Hussars, a troop of Queen's Rangers Hussars, and a small detachment of the Guides & Pioneers.
Following closely on the heels of this battle was a rebel attack on Elizabethtown Point on 8 June and the battle of Springfield on 23 June 1780 which resulted in the burning of the parsonage.
In the cemetery that abuts the church, in a grassy area near the road, is an unmarked mass grave of the British and Hessian soldiers who died in the battle. No Loyalists were killed, although one rank and file of the NJV was counted among the missing.
According to local lore, after the battle the colonists refused to allow the cemetery to be used for their burial, hence they were buried on an unconsecrated site on the other side of the church. The current church historian, one of the older parishioners, remembers when the remains were disinterred and removed to their current location to allow for expansion of the church.
The Daughters of the American Revolution has placed commemorative stones on the American graves in the cemetery. It is Reverend Tipton's wish that the sacrifices of the British and Hessian soldiers be commemorated by the church as well through the placement of a marker or tablet, and he has asked the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada to partner with him to accomplish this.
The church is planning a two day event this coming July 21st and 22nd when the marker will be dedicated. Reverend Tipton writes:
"Saturday will feature several soldier encampments representing the Colonists, Hessians and British. We're still working on a British encampment. We hope to commemorate the burial location on this day.
We commend Reverend Tipton and the members of the Connecticut Farms Church for this worthwhile endeavor, and encourage any of you who might be so inclined to support it.
Contributions for the commemorative marker can be sent to Connecticut Farms Church, 888 Stuyvesant Ave, Union, New Jersey 07083 and made out to Connecticut Farms Church with the designation "commemorative marker."
Todd and some members of his reenactment group will be present for the ceremonies on Saturday.
A Present Day Hero
We have known for a long time that the visitors to our site are some of the best folks you could ever hope to meet. But a recent piece of news that came to our attention has confirmed that in spades.
In past newsletters you have heard us mention contributions by Sean Otis, one of our young visitors who is a member of the recreated Frey's Company of Butler's Rangers. If you have attended any of our chats, you may have had the opportunity to converse with him in person.
We recently learned that this past March, quietly and without fanfare, Sean gave one of the most precious gifts that one can give...the gift of life...by donating one of his kidneys to save the life of a fellow reenactor whose transplanted kidney was failing.
It would seem that the heroic actions of the Rangers are not limited to the 18th Century...
Banastre Tarleton Symposium
John Maass of the recreated 23rd Regiment of Foot has contacted us about a very exciting event that he is working on organizing. John is proposing a two day symposium on Banastre Tarleton and the American Revolution in historic Camden, South Carolina the weekend of April 27-28, 2002.
Speakers tentatively lined up include Dr. Larry Babits of East Carolina University, author of Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens, Dr. Gregory Urwin of Temple University, Dr. Anthony J. Scotti, Jim Piecuch, Ph.D candidate at William & Mary University, Mark H. Danley, Ph.D candidate at Kansas State University, and yours truly, Todd Braisted.
Other activities are also being planned, so mark your calendars now for what is shaping up as a dandy 18th Century weekend!
As we learn more details, we will be sure to pass them along here. You can also stay up to date by visiting the website that John has put together.
New CD from Wallace Hale
Wallace Hale is at it again! The man who brought you Early New Brunswick Probate Records 1785-1835 and The Fort Havoc Archives, Volume I has issued a new CD, The Fort Havoc Archives, Volume II.
This second volume is a complete transcription (all 1,208 pages!) of Lorenzo Sabine's Biographical Sketches of the Loyalists of the American Revolution, with an Historical Essay, with added notes, references and corrections to the original work.
Although Sabine is known to contain some errors, it remains one of the seminal works on the Loyalists, with a heavy emphasis on those from New England.
As an added bonus, Volume II also contains some related miscellaneous material, as well as a complete transcript of Lieutenant-Colonel William T. Baird's Seventy Years of New Brunswick Life, published in 1890.
At $20 (U.S.) this CD is one of the best values around. It can be ordered from Wallace's website, From the Depths of Fort Havoc, where you will also find Wallace's other works, including many transcriptions that can be read online.
Guest Lecturer for April Chat
Since we started our monthly chats last June, we have talked about the possibility of periodically having a guest lecturer. We are pleased to announce that Don Hagist has agreed to provide the talk for this month's chat, his first ever venture into the world of cyber lecturing.
Don is a Rhode Islander who has done extensive research on a number of topics concerning the British Army in America during the American Revolution, especially their stay in Rhode Island. He is a member of the Brigade of the American Revolution and longtime editor of their publication, "The Brigade Dispatch." He has numerous articles to his credit.
Don's topic this month will a bit of a departure from our usual strictly military (and strictly Loyalist) subjects, but one we think you will really enjoy. He will be speaking on the soldier's wives and other women who were camp followers of the British Army. This is a topic that has not received the comprehensive coverage that many aspects of the war have received, although it is truly fascinating.
To accommodate Don's availability, the April chat will be held on Wednesday night the 18th, rather than our normal 2nd Wednesday of the month, from 8:00 to roughly 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Click here for ---> Top of Page
News from our Visitors
John Butler Homestead Excavation
Maggie Parnall, who we can always count on for the latest news from the Niagara area, called our attention to a website describing the archaeological finds from the excavation of Colonel John Butler's farm in 1999.
The best news is that the lot on which the Butler homestead was located as been turned over to Parks Canada for long-term maintenance. The website can be viewed at http://www.archaeologicalservices.on.ca/butler/butler.htm.
Ferguson Rifle Saved for U.K.
Our friend Marianne Gilchrist of Scotland writes:
"Great news in the Feb. issue of the BBC History Magazine: a Ferguson Rifle, made by Durs Egg, which Pattie had sent up to his brother Jamie in Pitfour, was auctioned by Christie's from the William Keith Neal Collection before Christmas.
Until next time.....Happy Hunting!
Your Most Humble & Obedient Servants,
Click here for ---> Loyalist Notes Main Page
The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies