Welcome to Finding the Maryland 400


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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Maryland’s Senate Honors the Maryland 400

On March 7, the Maryland Senate unanimously passed a resolution honoring the First Maryland Regiment for its heroic and dedicated service during the Revolutionary War. Continue reading

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Happy Birthday Mordecai Gist

Although we formally celebrated the life of George Washington on President’s Day, which was on Monday, his actual birthday is today, February 22. Closer to home, today is also the birthday of Mordecai Gist, the distinguished soldier and Revolutionary leader who lead the Marylanders at the Battle of Brooklyn.

Mordecai Gist (1742/43-1792) Peter Egeli (b. 1934), after Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), 1975 MSA SC 1545-1066

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“The Ides of January:” Facing the New Year in the Continental Army

The end of the year was often an anxious time for the leaders of the Continental Army. As the end of 1780 approached, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne spoke for many when he wrote “I sincerely wish the Ides of January was come & past.”

The cause of Wayne’s “disagreeable ideas about that period” was that the soldiers’ enlistments often expired at the end of December, and there were few guarantees that they would reenlist or that they would be replaced soon—or at all. At the end of 1776, when the Continental Army had seen just one victory, at Trenton on December 26, and many months of defeat, a great many soldiers walked away when their terms ended on December 31. Continue reading

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The amazing story of Charles Thompson, who “agreed to enlist with the Enemy–and by that Means made his escape”

The life and career of Charles Thompson is perhaps the most remarkable that we have come across in all of our biographical research for this project. Thompson showed immense courage and determination during his time in the army. In addition, piecing together the facts about his life was possible only with the assistance of some amazing partners. We’re very fortunate that we were able to work with them to bring Thompson’s story to you. Continue reading

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Cassy’s Introduction


My name is Cassy Sottile and I am a junior at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. This fall, I will be writing biographies for the Maryland 400 project.

I am currently double majoring in English and history, with a double minor in journalism and theatre. During the academic year, I am the news editor for our college newspaper The Elm, stage manage for the theatre department, tutor history and academic skills at our campus tutoring center, and participate in the Peer Mentor program.  I am from Frederick, Maryland, though most of my family is originally from New York. Continue reading

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The Maryland Line: Why They Fought

Today on Veteran’s Day, we take a moment to consider Maryland’s Revolutionary War veterans. Our work has always centered on the soldiers themselves–before, during, and after their time in the army–rather than the battles and political events of the American Revolution. However, we have not talked very much about one key element of these soldiers’ experiences: their motivations for enlisting.

Private of the 1st Maryland Regiment, c. 1777. Don Troiani/NPS.

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Project Updates

We are proud to announce that recently we published our 700th biography! Lucky number 700 was Private Francis Shepard of the First Company; he survived the Battle of Brooklyn and the rest of the 1776 campaign, reenlisted and served until 1781, eventually rising to the rank of captain!

Since, there were almost 1,000 Marylanders at the Battle of Brooklyn, and we know the names of about 850, we have just over 150 biographies remaining. It’s a lot of work to be sure, but we’re excited that the end is in sight!

It’s taken contributions from a lot of people to get to this point, and we wouldn’t be here without the hard work of Jeff Truitt, Daniel Blattau, Emily Huebner, Taira Sullivan, Sean Baker, Josh Rifkin, Nick Couto, Burkely Hermann, Taylor Blades, Natalie Miller, and Elizabeth Cassibry!

We are also very grateful to the Maryland SAR for their continued support, which has allowed us to keep this project running for so long–more than five years!

We have one other project announcement. Staff Researcher and Maryland SAR Research Fellow Natalie Miller will be leaving us soon. Natalie has made many wonderful and valuable contributions in her time with the project, including over 160 biographies–almost 25 percent of everything we’ve done! We will miss her, but wish her good luck as she moves on. We know that she will go on to great successes.

As always, if you would like to make a contribution to the project, you can do so through the Friends of the Maryland State Archives; list “Maryland 400” under Additional Comments. Thank you!


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The Mystery of the Maryland 400, Part II

Read Part I of this post here

On October 12, 1776, William Smallwood wrote a dispatch about the Battle of Brooklyn back to Maryland. The commander of the First Maryland Regiment noted that he had “enclosed a List of the Kill’d & Missing amounting to 256 officers inclusive.” [1] Since the goal of this project is to document who those men were, this list is tremendously important to our work. Or it would be, if we had it. But it’s missing, and it hasn’t been seen for perhaps 150 years.

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The Mystery of the Maryland 400, Part I

Today is the two-hundred forty-second anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn. The main goal of this project is to learn the names of the Maryland soldiers who fought at the battle and to determine their fates, especially the men killed in the famous stand of the Maryland 400 that saved the Continental Army. Because of lost records, we know the names of only about 850 of the roughly 1,000 Marylanders who were at the battle, and we have nearly 700 biographies of soldiers online.

However, there is a lot that we still have to learn about the soldiers’ fates at the battle. Two-hundred fifty-six Marylanders were either killed or captured at the battle, but we can only identify four men who died in the fighting: Captain Daniel Bowie, Lieutenant Joseph Butler, Sergeant William Sands, and Captain Edward Veazey. Similarly, we know the names of 73 captured Marylanders (including Bowie and Butler, who died in captivity). You can see their names here: Battle of Brooklyn Roll of Honor. Continue reading

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William Smallwood Papers Unveiling

Yesterday, the Maryland State Archives and the Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution jointly unveiled a new collection of William Smallwood papers. The collection was acquired earlier this year, and consists of letters written to Smallwood, as well as file copies of letters that he sent, between 1777 and 1784, while he was a general in the Continental Army. The event was attended by Senate President Mike Miller, Speaker of the House of Delegates Michael Busch, Sec. David Craig, many members of the Maryland SAR and DAR, and other interested visitors.


Senate President Mike Miller addresses the crowd

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