We are very pleased to announce that we have written biographies of all the soldiers in the Fourth Company of the First Maryland Regiment! There are 71 biographies of Fourth Company soldiers, which make up an important part of the more than 200 now online. You can read all of them on our Biographies page.
The Fourth Company was at the heart of the Maryland 400’s last stand at the Battle of Brooklyn, and suffered the worst losses of the Maryland companies. Only 14 men escaped capture or death: one sergeant, 12 privates, and the company’s drummer.
We definitively know the names of seven of the survivors: Sergeant John Toomy, Drummer Patrick Ivory, and privates William Chaplin (who later earned special notoriety), Edward Cosgrove, John Herron, William Nixon, and Thomas Wiseman. There is good evidence about six other men: William Baggott, Thomas Hamilton, William Parr, John Price, John Riley, and Valentine Smith.
At least 11 men from the company were taken prisoner during the Battle of Brooklyn: Lieutenant Edward Prall, Ensign William Courts, Sergeant Samuel McMillan, Corporal William McMillan, and privates Robert Crafford, Samuel Glasgow, Thomas Mason, Charles Riely, and Richard Whelan. Captain Daniel Bowie and Leiutenent Joseph Butler were both mortally wounded and died in British captivity. We have been unable to learn more about who was captured or killed from the company, owing to missing records.
The Fourth Company was also the unit that brothers William and Samuel McMillan served in. William’s first-hand account of the battle is compelling and vivid, and tells us a great deal about what happened at the battle and afterward. The McMillans were both captured and then taken to a British prison in Nova Scotia. Together with a group of other captured American soldiers, they escaped and traveled by foot to Boston, a trip that took most of the spring and summer of 1777. After recovering, both brothers reenlisted and served in the army for several more years.
Not all of the Fourth Company men we wrote about fought at the Battle of Brooklyn, however. While we have records of 71 soldiers enlisting, some of them must have left the company at some point in the summer of 1776, before the Marylanders marched to fight in New York. On the eve of their departure, there were only 58 officers and men present. We’re not sure which of the men on our list did not travel north to join the Continental Army.
We still have a long way to go before we have met our goal of writing biographies of all the Marylanders who fought at the Battle of Brooklyn. We know the names of about 850 of them, so we have many more biographies to write. Our funding from the Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution will allow us to continue to make progress towards our goal.
If you have enjoyed following the project or used its resources, please support it through a donation to the Friends of the Maryland State Archives. Be sure to list Maryland 400 under “Additional Comments.” Thank you very much!
Thank you to all of our readers and supporters over the years. Your interest and support has helped us keep the project moving, and we look forward to bringing you even more new blog posts and biographies soon!