Welcome to Finding the Maryland 400

Battleoflongisland

The stand of the Maryland 400 at the Battle of Brooklyn.
Detail, Alonzo Chappel, The Battle of Long Island, 1858, oil on canvas; M1986.29.1. Brooklyn Historical Society.

Welcome to Finding the Maryland 400, a website dedicated to Maryland’s first Revolutionary War soldiers, who saved the Continental Army in 1776.

This project is a partnership between the Maryland State Archives and the Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, studying the First Maryland Regiment. At the Battle of Brooklyn (also called the Battle of Long Island), the heroic stand of the “Maryland 400” held back the British Army, allowing the rest of the Americans to escape total destruction, at the cost of many Maryland lives.

You can learn more about the lives of these soldiers, their military service, and their communities by:

Please support this project through a donation to the Friends of the Maryland State Archives; indicate “Maryland 400” under Additional Comments. You may also join the Maryland SAR’s Honorary Regiment.

If you have questions or suggestions, please get in touch with us at msamaryland400@gmail.com.

Scroll down to read our latest posts!

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Posted in Maryland 400

Alonzo Chappel and the Romantic Visual Culture of Antebellum America

This spring, Finding the Maryland 400 has partnered with students at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. These students, in Professor Adam Goodheart’s class studying the Maryland 400 and the state during the Revolution, researched and wrote biographies of Maryland 400 soldiers, as well as short essays about different topics about the American Revolution (Elizabeth Cassibry, our intern this summer, was part of this class).

Over the next few months, we will be publishing their biographies and blog posts. Today, we start with Patrick Jackson, who wrote about the magnificent painting of the Battle of Brooklyn that is this website’s header image. Today, it is owned by the Brooklyn Historical Society, who has very generously allowed us to use it. Look for more posts by Washington College students soon!

The visual legacy of Alonzo Chappel (1828-1887) is enormous and unfortunately nebulous. While many of Chappel’s paintings are known and survive in some form, a number of pieces exist only in the form of engravings and lithographs made by other artists in his circle. Chappel’s work, although widely circulated, was destined to be widely forgotten because many of his original oil paintings were lost or relegated to private collections.  [1]

This is a truly miserable fate for such a fine artist. The works which do survive in their original form, however, tell a vibrant tale not only of the artist who made them, but of the rich visual culture in which Chappel participated. The remembrance of the Revolutionary struggle by later generations, such as those in Chappel’s time around the mid-1800s, had a strong visual culture which celebrated the Romantic character of the soldiers who fought in the war. Continue reading

Posted in Maryland 400, Washington College | 1 Comment

Elizabeth’s Introduction

Hello!

My name is Elizabeth Cassibry and I am a rising junior at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. I am currently double majoring in history and German studies, with a concentration in European studies and a minor in computer science. While at school, I participate in club volleyball, student government, and am the vice president of academic development for Alpha Omicron Pi, Sigma Tau. I was born and raised in an active duty military family and I have moved around my entire life. Currently, I live in Key West, Florida. I am thrilled to be working with Owen and Natalie to further investigate the Maryland 400 and unearth new information of men whose stories have slowly disappeared throughout the past two centuries.   Continue reading

Posted in Maryland 400 | 8 Comments

Women in the War

We are excited to announce an upcoming blog mini-series entitled Women in the War!

Women have held vital roles in wars throughout history, and the American Revolution is no exception.  Because women were typically not allowed to fight, every job they could do behind the line allowed one more able-bodied man to join the battlefield.  Some women, now called “camp-followers,” trailed the Continental Army and joined their encampments. Their motivations varied, but they were almost always put to work.  Some cooked while others did laundry and mended the soldiers’ uniforms. Continue reading

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What’s In a Name: Companies, Regiments, and Battalions

Revolutionary War military terminology can be pretty confusing. Starting today, we are publishing periodic posts to help explain what some of these words mean, moving towards a full glossary of eighteenth-century military terms. Continue reading

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Enlistment Bounties: Use and Abuse

When men enlisted to fight in the Revolutionary War, they left home with the expectation that they would be properly paid for their military service. However, that’s not what happened. Paychecks lagged severely behind schedule, with some men never receiving theirs, and were heavily reduced due to the replacement costs of uniforms, arms, and equipment, which was taken out of the soldiers’ pay. Continue reading

Posted in Maryland 400 | 4 Comments

“The child…was almost entirely destitute of maintenance and support”: A trust fund for Captain Edgerly’s son

Edward Edgerly served in the Maryland Line for five years, enlisting as a sergeant in February 1776.  He fought at the Battle of Brooklyn that August, earning a place among the famed Maryland 400.  In 1777, he received a commission and served as a “respectable and brave” officer, becoming a captain by 1779.  He survived many harsh battles, including Trenton, Princeton, Staten Island, Brandywine, Germantown, and Camden.

In 1781, the Continental Army met the British at the Battle of Eutaw Springs in South Carolina. This time, Edgerly was not so fortunate, and was killed during the battle, just six weeks before the surrender at Yorktown. Continue reading

Posted in Maryland 400

The Case of Thomas Connor, Who Didn’t Die in Battle

Of the 256 Marylanders who were killed or captured at the Battle of Brooklyn (more than 25 percent of the regiment), very few have so far been identified by name. We know the names of just four who died and seventy who were taken prisoner. Our efforts to learn more are complicated because the fates of enlisted soldiers—non-officers—were not always recorded. Sergeant William Sands is the only non-officer we know who was killed at the battle, and we only learned about his death from family sources.

You can see the names of all known Marylanders killed or captured in the Battle of Brooklyn Roll of Honor.

Until recently, we counted Thomas Connor among those killed in action. Continue reading

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We Have Completed the Seventh Company!

We have some exciting news to announce: we have completed biographies of all the known soldiers of the Seventh Company!   Continue reading

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Another Completed Company!

We have recently completed the biography of the last remaining Second Company soldier, and are excited to say that yet another company is done! We’re one step closer to having biographies of all of the Maryland 400’s soldiers. Continue reading

Posted in Maryland 400 | 4 Comments

Becoming “Amply Supplied with Very Good Shoes”

Winters for the Continental Army soldiers were brutal.  Although fighting usually ceased and the troops took up winter quarters, there was no break from military life.  In addition to freezing temperatures and food shortages, troops were plagued by inadequate uniforms, and especially a lack of decent shoes.  In December 1777, Brigadier General William Smallwood had an idea. He wrote to George Washington, lamenting how “the march of the troops…through the frosty roads, has cut out their shoes, and by being barefoot they are rendered unfit for duty.”  [1] Continue reading

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