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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Women in the War: “The Sick Suffered Much for Want of Good Female Nurses”

The year is 1775, and the American Revolution is in its earliest days. The United States, a fledgling nation, is unprepared for the brutal realities of war.  However, even in a well-established country, it’s impossible to predict the course of a war and the resources that will be needed. The Revolution was no different, and from the beginning, a shortage of nurses plagued the Continental Army. Continue reading

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Polearms in the Continental Army

Today, we have another post by one of our Washington College partners. Simon Belcher gives us an education about some of the bladed weapons that were used by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

During the Battle of Brooklyn, one of the most terrifying forces that attacked the American forces were the Hessian soldiers with their cruel bayonets. As an English officer wrote, “it was a fine sight to see with what alacrity they dispatched the rebels with their Bayonets, after we had surrounded them so that they could not resist.” [1] A Hessian colonel went on to say that the American “riflemen were mostly spitted on the trees with bayonets. These people deserve pity rather than fear.” [2] Continue reading

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Maryland’s Quakers in the Revolution Podcast

Recently, longtime friend of Finding the Maryland 400 Jason Aglietti appeared on the AskHistorians podcast, to talk about his recently finished master’s thesis, “The Friends They Loathed: The Persecution of Maryland Quakers During the Revolutionary War.” You should listen!

AskHistorians Podcast 115: The Friends They Loathed – Quaker Religion and Persecution in the American Revolution

Jason, our project’s web editor and consulting historian, graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in May 2018. Drawing on many sources here at the Maryland State Archives, his thesis explors the precarious place that Quakers held in the state during the American Revolution. Because of their pacifist beliefs, Maryland’s Quakers did not support the war against Britain, or any other facet of the American Independence movement. For this, they endured persecution by the government, and harassment by supporters of the Revolution. Listen to Jason’s full interview to learn more about how Maryland Quakers navigated through this difficult period.

We hope you enjoy it! You can check out Jason’s website here: https://jasonaglietti.wordpress.com.

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Marching to What Beat, Sir? The Musicians of Washington’s Army

Have you ever played the game of “telephone?” It’s where you sit in a circle and whisper a statement into the ear of the person on your left. Then, the person on your left whispers the statement they think you said to the person on their left. This cycle continues until you reach the last person in the circle and the last person says the statement out loud. Almost always, the statement you whispered in the beginning is not the statement that is blurted out in the end. Why? Because of simple miscommunication.

Now, imagine trying to spread commands by word of mouth in the center of an eighteenth-century battlefield surrounded by the sound of muskets firing and cannonballs plummeting. It’s a nearly impossible task. Fortunately, military leaders at the time had a more efficient form of communication for both on and off the battlefield: music. Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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