About

In the summer of 1776, soldiers from the First Maryland Regiment marched to New York, joining with the Continental Army under the command of Gen. George Washington in order to defend the city from the British. On August 27, 1776, the Americans and the British fought the Battle of Brooklyn, sometimes called the Battle of Long Island, the first large-scale combat of the Revolutionary War.

Maryland-400-Monument05

The battle was a rout, as the experienced British army overwhelmed the inexperienced and poorly- trained Americans, many of whom had only a few months of military service. As the Americans retreated, a portion of the Maryland troops made a series of charges against a much larger British force. These men, now known as the “Maryland 400,” took heavy causalities, but were able to hold the British back long enough to allow the rest of the Continental Army to escape complete destruction.

Learn about the Battle of Brooklyn from the men who fought in it

More coverage of the Battle of Brooklyn starts here

Finding the Maryland 400 is an effort led by the Maryland State Archives to learn more about these Marylanders, and discover their names, their lives, and their stories. You can read the biographies of the soldiers who fought at the Battle of Brooklyn written so far or check out the blog to read more about the life and times of the Maryland soldiers.

The project is supported by a generous donation from the Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Past support has come from the Maryland Military Department, Office of the Adjutant General, the Maryland Military Historical Society, Washington College, and the Moss Family Foundation.

Please comment on, follow, and share our site, and be sure to follow the Maryland State Archives on Twitter (@mdarchives) or like the Facebook page.

To contact the project, please email us at msamaryland400@gmail.com.

20 Responses to About

  1. Tom Fannin says:

    I am trying to verify early stories about one of my wife’s ancestors, “Captain” Michael McGuire. He is reputed to have served in the Frederick County Militia and under General Smallwood form the siege of Boston onward. At least one veteran’s statement links him with Bruce’s regiment. This may have placed him at Long Island and White Plains and I would like to find out. I have not been able to find him on muster roll cards or other lists. He survived the war and settled in Cambria County, Pa. Any information is appreciated.

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    • Hi Tom,

      Thanks for you inquiry. It looks like there was a Captain Michael McGuire commissioned in November, 1775 from Frederick County. If you send me an email to msamaryland400@gmail.com, I’ll pass on a little more info on what we’ve been able to find, and some suggestions of what other sources you may be able to use to get more information.

      Owen Lourie

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  2. Mark Levy says:

    Owen, Daniel and Jeff

    Thank you for working to identify and honor the Maryland 400. I am as resident of Brooklyn, a passionate advocate of Brooklyn’s little known and pivotal role in the American Revolution, a military history fan and a tour guide (www.Levysuniqueny.com)with a “Brooklyn in the American Revolution” tour that includes The Old Stone House, Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument, Fulton Ferry/Brookland Landing and Battle Hill in Greenwood Cemetary.

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  3. Diane K. Hill says:

    Thanks so much for posting the documents. In planning a visit to the archives, I went to your website to ook for operating hours and serendipitously found the Maryland 400 item. The list includes a distant relative, Samuel Hamilton. Our information on him so far: b. 1750 Charles Co., MD, son of Patrick Hamilton and Ann Greene Hamilton. Married Christina Smith Clements 9 Feb 1773. Was granted 100 acres for service in Revolutionary War (don’t know location yet) as recorded in Revolutionary War Records accessed via ancestry.com. He died 4 Mar 1807. The Battle is extensively covered with commentary, maps and drawings of sites of importance in The Heroes of the American Revolution and their Descendants: Battle of Long Island, by Henry Whittlemore, 1899 (SAR publication). I would like to know more about the land grants. He is on the Hill Family Tree in ancestry.com. Can I download the photo of the monument and map? Thanks for your efforts.

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  4. Thank you for your fine work to identify these men. As I read the blog, I immediately thought of an ancestor identified as being a member of the Maryland 400. My family genealogy written by Thomas R. Gardiner “Gardiner: Generations and Relations” notes one William Gardiner, born 1749 in Poplar Hill, Valley Lee, Maryland, died June 2nd 1836, in Inclosure, Gallant Green, Maryland as enlisting in the Charles County Militia during the War of Independence.

    I wanted to share an excerpt from the genealogy which reads as follows:

    “During the war of Independence, William Gardiner enlisted as a Private in Captain Alexander McPherson’s Company of the Charles County Militia. It was this Company which made up a part of the Maryland Line that fought so courageously in providing rear guard action, defending the retreat of General George Washington’s Army from Long Island where they were entrapped by the overwhelming British Forces. Severely outnumbered, the Maryland Line was called upon to hold the British at Bay until Washington could escape with the greatest part of his Army intact to the mainland, to fight again some other day. In those days all fighting ceased at nightfall and began again at daylight. Instead of taking the time to dig-in to protect themselves against the inevitable advance of the British the following morning, the Charles County Militia built huge campfires that could be seen clearly by the British and then with their exhausted troops they paraded in front of these campfires all night, giving the illusion that they had an endless number of men available to meet the British if they dared to advance. Other sections of the Maryland Line moved their flanks and started firing as dawn developed, leaving the centers where the fires had been, almost without a man. The British, thinking the Marylanders were dug-in, and expertly camouflaged, delayed their advancement until they could determine what the Maryland Line was preparing for them. By the time the British had learned what the Marylanders had actually done, Washington had escaped with most of his Army. What few had remained on Long Island could have been sacrificed without causing the catastrophic defeat as was expected just the day before. The Maryland Line had done it’s job exceedingly well and were left with two choices. They were in excellent position to disband and escape into the wilderness or they could close ranks and defend the last of Washington’s Army as they embarked for the mainland. It was at this point, when they closed ranks and faced the onslaught of the British, that Washington from a vantage point on the mainland, observed them through his spyglass and exclaimed, “My God, what brave men must I lose this day!” Though total annihiliation could have been expected it didn’t happen. The losses were severe, about 78% casulaties, but some lived to fight again. William Gardiner was among the fortunate.”

    William Gardiner survived the war, and lived until 1836, having married and had children. A highlight of Thomas Gardiner’s life is mentioned as visiting the rededication of the monument to the Maryland 400 in Long Island in 1991 shortly before his death. A copy of “Gardiner: Generations and Relations” was requested by and resides in the Maryland Archives.

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  5. Robert Lord says:

    John Hughes, Captain Lucas’ 3rd Company, is my 4th great grandfather. He married Rebecca Taylor and was the father of seven children;Hannah, Cynthia, Joseph Fleet, Wildie, Edward,Rebecca, and Susan. John and Rebecca are buried at Neriah Baptist Church Cemetery. John was buried with military honors by the Virginia Military Institute.a
    The bio posted at this site has John married to a Margaret Kennedy. What is the source for this marriage?

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    • The source for most of his biography was his pension file, which is online via fold3.com (but which we can’t post online ourselves). His pension contains a letter from a member of the Waukegan, IL chapter of the DAR that indicates he married Margaret Kennedy. There isn’t any further information of documentation. If you have information that would help us, could you send an email to msamaryland400@gmail.com? Thanks!

      Like

  6. Thomas L Garner JD says:

    Hello, m Thomas L Garner JD and I am researching the Gardiner family of Maryland. I have both books written by Thomas R. Gardiner “Gardiner: Generations and Relations . Period. Based on information I have found on ancestry.com and family tree DNA it appears that I several other individuals who have matching DNA are part of the Gardiner family of Maryland.

    If possible, I would like to contact Mr.Brian Gardiner and share the information I have about the Gardiner family of Maryland, and their relationship to William Gardiner English knight who was married to Helen tutor first cousin of Henry VII. Tutor in King of England.

    William Gardiner English knight apparently killed Richard the third at the Battle of Bosworth Field and was knighted for his efforts allowed to marry into the tutor family. Some of their family eventually came to Maryland. Richard Gardiner was listed as a passenger on the Mayflower and signed the Mayflower compact. His son Luke Gardiner was the progenitor most of the Gardiner’s in Maryland.

    Can be contacted at my best email address which is (tgarn703@cox.net)

    thank you in advance for your assistance!

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    • Carolyn says:

      Mr. Garner just found your email. I am a direct descendant of “Richard Gardiner”. I have done some research on the Maryland Gardiners since Tom G. passed away in 1991. It appears that Richard may not be related to the Bermondsey Gardiners. I’ve visited St. Mary Magadalene, yet have not been able to connect our Richard to a specific place in England. I attend the church St. Francis Xavier, where his son Luke, was a witness to the Bretton deed establishing the church, and grew up within a stone’s throw of his home called The Riverview.
      I would appreciated the opportunity to speak with you regarding our potential relative connections. Look forward to hearing from you,
      when time allows.

      Thank you,
      Carolyn Gardiner

      Like

  7. Diane K. Hill says:

    I saw many Gardiners in Maryland Marriages and in Maryland Births and Christenings, both in the ancestry.com card catalog. Do you have access or would you like me to look up a specific person? You may use my regular e-mail address to communicate. I was not able to view the entire e-mail for some reason. Do you have a Gardiner ancestor in the Maryland 400? I believe Sgt. Samuel Hamilton of the 400 may be a distant uncle of mine. Regards, Diane Hill

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    • Meredith G. says:

      Hi!
      I’m looking for more information on Joseph Benedict Gardiner, who was also mentioned in Thomas Gardiner’s Gardiner Generations, Vol. I. It says,
      “Joseph Benedict Gardiner was a Corporal in the Muster List of Captain Alexander McPherson’s Company of the Twenty Sixth Battalion of the Charles County Militia, which was part of the Maryland Line which distinguished itself so magnificently in covering the Evacuation of Washington’s Army from Long Island where the British felt they had Washington trapped during the War of Independence. He was later referred to as Captain, apparently recieving promotions in the field of battle. ”
      I cannot find the citation for this, nor can I find his birth or death record. Do you have access to this?
      Thanks,
      Meredith (a Gardiner descendant)

      Like

      • Hi Meredith,

        I don’t know if your ancestor was part of the Charles County Militia. The only Joseph Gardner that I can find in the militia served in Capt. Walter Smith’s company of the Calvert County militia in 1777 (S. Eugene Clements and F. Edward Wright, The Maryland Militia in the Revolutionary War,148).

        I can’t find any Joseph Gardners in the records of soldiers from Maryland who served in the Continental Army, either. There could be others, including your ancestor, that I didn’t find with a pretty quick search.

        The question of whether he (or McPherson’s company) might have fought at the Battle of Long Island is easier. There was no militia from Maryland there–only full-time professional troops. Militia was intended to be a home defense force, and didn’t serve full time. Only soldiers from the First Maryland Regiment commanded by Col. William Smallwood, or the 4th, 5th, and 7th Independent Companies were present at the battle. Many Maryland militia units did see some active duty during the war, responding to threats from the British, but not at the Battle of Brooklyn.

        I hope this helps, though I’m sorry I don’t have more definitive info for you. Thanks for checking out the blog!

        Owen

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  8. Charlotte Symonds says:

    Just saw this article wanted to share it with you about the possibility of their whereabouts http://bit.ly/2nnnv9D

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  9. Tanner Dismukes says:

    “Good God, what brave fellows I must this day lose.”
    – General George Washington

    The Battle of Brooklyn is the most understated act of patriotic bravery in the Revolutionary War. Many Americans have never heard of the bravery of the Marylanders.
    The Continental Armies rarely stood against the professionally trained British lines as a matter of tactical conservatism, as defied at the Old Stone House on the 27th of August 1776. The British counted almost three soldiers for every one rebel. The Continental soldiers were shunned by friends, family members, loyalists, and Tories, thus outcast from society. The British were celebrated for their acts service. The Continental forces were taken as prisoners and treated worse in the Provost Jails and ships of horror.

    As the head of Task Force: Revolutionary Recovery, a Cadet led project at West Point to recover the memories forged by the soldiers of the Revolution in order to convey the significance of the 250th Anniversary of the United States of America, I respect the efforts made by the Maryland State Archives in “Finding the Maryland 400.” The story of these brave fighters captures the essence of American ideals and may have very well been the most pivotal battle in the history of our nation.

    These views are my own do not reflect those of the United States Military Academy, the U.S. Army, or the President.

    Like

    • Hi Tanner,

      Thank you for your comment, and for your kind words. I’m very excited about your project, and hope to hear more about its progress.

      I do want to clarify two things, however. First, the Continental Army certainly fought many battles against the British using conventional tactics (i.e. standing in a line), and even won some of them, especially towards the end of the war. While the Americans (especially Washington) understood the importance of keeping the army from being destroyed–living to fight another day–they won the war in the South in traditional, set-piece battles.

      In addition, it would be a stretch to call the soldiers of the Continental Army “outcasts.” Certainly, there was friction between soldiers and civilians during the war, but the military/civilian relationship was a complicated and nuanced one (as it often is throughout history). Likewise the war itself, which was an act of treason against the government, was not universally popular, which shaped some Americans’ attitudes towards the army. Also, some civilians resented the army’s requisitioning of supplies–stealing, from their perspective. Especially as the war ground on, and no one had enough food, supplying the army was a significant burden.

      Still, American soldiers were hardly “shunned” by their communities. In the early days of the war, enlistment was so strong that Maryland had more troops than supplies; in some places 20% of the male population enlisted. The ranks of the Maryland soldiers, for example, were full of community leaders–there were three future governors of Maryland at Brooklyn.

      Good luck with your project!
      Owen

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  10. Pingback: “Ready to march Southward”: The story of the Maryland Extra Regiment – History Hermann

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