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 email@example.com.
Scroll down to read our latest posts!
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
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
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
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
We have some exciting news to announce: we have completed biographies of all the known soldiers of the Seventh Company! Continue reading
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
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.”  Continue reading
Most Maryland 400 veterans returned to Maryland after their military service ended. Many, perhaps most, of them stayed in the state afterward, but plenty moved on instead, mostly heading west in search of land.
Michael Waltz, a private in the Second Company in 1776, for example, ended up in Wayne County, Ohio. He moved there in 1834, traveling with his family from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, “in order to be near his relatives who had previously left Pennsylvania.”
Waltz’s westward migration is not particularly noteworthy, but his military service is. He left the First Maryland Regiment sometime in November or December 1776, signing on with a Pennsylvania unit. We have found hardly any men who went on to serve in another state after leaving the Maryland Line. Continue reading
As you sit down to enjoy your morning, afternoon, or evening cup of coffee (don’t worry, we won’t judge you if you’re in that last category), do you ever wonder how America became a coffee society? According to scholars, it has a lot to do with the Revolutionary War. Continue reading
While researching soldiers and their families from the Revolutionary War, it can be difficult to uncover reliable information. We have written about some of our methods before, and you can read one of those posts here. However, sometimes the best we can do is to make an educated guess or conclusion, as was done in the case of the biography of John Jasper. Continue reading