Effects of the Battle on Capt. Barton Lucas

Though all of the companies that made up the Maryland 400 suffered casualties in the Battle of Long Island, some fared much worse than others. Captain Barton Lucas’ Third Company did not have the highest number of dead, wounded, and missing/captured, but a good number of his men were lost in the battle. He was strongly affected by the losses taken on August 27, 1776.

A private in Lucas’ company, John Hughes, recalled what happened in a statement he made many years later; he mentioned it in an account of his military service that he made for a pension application. As it was written, “he [Hughes] states that at the Battle of Long Island his Capt. Barton Lucas became deranged in consequence of losing his company . . . all of whom except seven were killed or taken prisoner.” This number may be skewed, for Hughes also claimed that his company consisted of over 100 men, when it really only had about seventy-six. However, based on the other information he gave in the pension, Hughes did have a strong memory of the incident and his service, so it could be accurate.

Something that may have compounded the outcome was the fact that Lucas himself was not present for the battle; he was sick at the time and could not be there with his men. This may have added a feeling of guilt to his grief. Shortly after the battle Lucas was sent home, as much for his mental health as to recover from his physical sickness. He resigned from the Continental Army a short time later, on October 11, 1776.

Barton Lucas was not out of the military for good, however. He later enlisted into the Maryland militia, and was commissioned as a colonel for the Anne Arundel regiment in 1778. This service may have helped to ease the toll that Long Island had taken on him. It is possible that he rejoined the Continental Army later in the war, which would indicate that he had recovered from its effects. Lucas’ story shows the damage that the Battle of Long Island caused, not just in a list of casualties, but also on the morale and well-being of the men in the regiment. He was able to recover, but it was not easy. Read more about him in his biography here.

-Jeff

Here is the statement of John Hughes; the section on Lucas starts at the bottom of page 1 and ends on page 2.

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