We have some exciting news to announce: we have completed biographies of all the known soldiers of the Seventh Company!
The Seventh Company was raised in Annapolis and commanded by Captain John Day Scott. Scott was born in Somerset County and grew up on his father’s farm. Sadly, both his parents had died before he turned ten. Seeking a chance to move up in society, he joined the army in 1776, at age twenty-eight. He recruited men mostly from Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties, although a few others were from surrounding counties, and at least two were originally from Ireland.
At the Battle of Brooklyn, the Seventh Company fared relatively well. They escaped destruction from the British by making their way through the swampy Gowanus Creek. Although a full-strength company would have had seventy-four men, we only know the names of seventy-one from the Seventh Company. After the battle, the company had sixty-seven men who were not dead or captured. We know the fate of fifty-seven of them, or 86 percent. One soldier, William Sands, was killed in action, and the fate of thirteen men is unknown.
We know that not all of the men who enlisted in the beginning of 1776 were at the Battle of Brooklyn. According to Sands, the regiment “had lost a great many of [their] troops [which] deserted from…Philadelphia and Elizabethtown, and a great many [were] sick in the hospital,” and it is likely that a few of them had been in the Seventh Company. Additionally, three soldiers were discharged in late May 1776, and one, named John Nottingham, deserted, so they were not present at the battle.
Of the fifty-seven men whose fate we know after the Battle of Brooklyn, two were killed in action before the end of the year. Both Scott and Lieutenant Thomas Goldsmith died during the Battle of White Plains in October, 1776. Thirty-seven of the men, or about 65 percent, reenlisted for three years after their nine-month enlistment ended in December 1776; fifteen of them enlisted yet again, and two fought until the end of the war. Two men, Joseph Yater and Edward George, were taken as prisoners during the Battle of Camden. George was released from captivity, but Yater’s fate is ultimately unknown. Additionally, Richard Elwood was reported missing after Camden, and nothing else is known of him.
A few of the men became well-known, locally and nationally, after the war. Most notable of these is James Peale, who was a celebrated artist and brother to the famous Charles Willson Peale. William Sewell was known in and around Annapolis as a prosperous artisan and glazier before falling off of the State House roof. Another man became well-known to his community, although his story was more tragic. James Ranter was infamous in Prince George’s County for minor crimes and disruption of the peace. He was declared a “lunatic” and housed in the Prince George’s County Alms House.
We have now completed work on the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, and Seventh Independent companies. Next, we will tackle the Sixth and Ninth companies. Thanks to the Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution and all of you wonderful readers for your continued support! Stay tuned to find out what we will uncover next!