The Maryland 400’s Mutineer

In a recent post, we explored crime and punishment in the Continental Army. During the Revolutionary War, desertions and mutinies were crucial parts of the Continental soldier’s experiences. In the first year of war, 80 percent of criminal activity of the troops was classified as desertion or mutiny. As the war went on, mutinies only became more organized, more common, and involved more men. [1]

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A Completed Company!

We are very happy to announce that we have recently completed work on another company! Last week we posted the final biography of a soldier in the Seventh Independent Company, which was raised on the Eastern Shore. While the company had over one hundred men—somewhere between 106 and 111—we were only able to identify 69 of them. Many of the company’s records were lost in 1776, when they were mistakenly sent to the home of the unit’s commander, Captain Edward Veazey, instead of the state capital at Annapolis. Most of the names that we do know come from a muster roll of half the company, taken in May 1776, shown below. Continue reading

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Crime and Punishment in the Continental Army

From the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the American military justice system was governed by the articles of war, adopted on June 30, 1775.  They were extremely similar to those used by the British enemy, and although both relied heavily on corporal punishment, the American punishments were noticeably less severe.  They limited the maximum flogging sentence to 39 lashes, opposed to the 500 or more lashes that could be given to British soldiers.  It soon became clear that this was not harsh enough to discourage the men from committing crimes.  [1] Continue reading

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The Maryland 400 in the News

As some of you may have seen, there has been lots of news coverage about the Maryland 400 recently. A site in Brooklyn long said to contain the graves of the Marylanders killed in 1776 is being excavated ahead of proposed construction of a school. Our project director Owen Lourie spoke to the Baltimore Sun about the Maryland 400 and their role in the Battle of Brooklyn:

“Dig may settle mystery into lost grave of famed Maryland 400 soldiers” [Baltimore Sun]

If you want to learn more about the archaeological study of the site, check out these articles:

Hopefully, the findings of the dig will be released soon. Whether or not any trace of the Marylanders is found, it’s wonderful that so much attention is being paid to them and the Battle of Brooklyn. We’re proud that we can do our part by telling their story.

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The Midnight Attack on Stony Point

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This map details the initial American fortifications at Stony and Verplank’s Points along with British additions.

While each campaign year of the Revolutionary War had its own purpose and series of events, the main focus of the campaign of 1779 was to maintain the vital lines of communication between the Eastern and Southern states. George Washington believed that the fort at West Point was “the most important Post in America,” and he treated it as such. The British knew Washington’s control over West Point would not be broken by a direct attack and decided to try to draw Washington out instead. After British forces destroyed a series of towns in Connecticut in a failed attempt to persuade Washington to face them in the open plain and abandon West Point, Washington chose to respond in a way that was entirely unexpected. Thirteen miles from West Point, the British occupied Stony Point and Verplancks Point. Located on opposite sides of the Hudson River, the ferry that ran between them was the shortest and most effective line of communication between the east and the south. [1] Continue reading

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The Significance of December 10, 1776

If you’ve read a few biographies of the men of the Maryland 400, you may have noticed that many of the troops reenlisted on December 10, 1776. This is not a coincidence, but is the outcome of the reorganization of the Continental Army. Our biographies often summarize this event, but what really happened and why? [1] Continue reading

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Military or Jail: The Interesting Case of Private Everit

During both the Korean War and the Vietnam War eras, many soldiers enlisted after being given a choice by a judge: Join the military or go to jail. Today, the military will not allow anyone who has been convicted of a felony to enlist unless under special circumstances, but this controversial practice dates back to the Revolutionary War.

This was most common within the British, who often coerced soldiers fighting for the colonies to their side once captured, as happened to John McClain of Harford County, who was compelled to join after being captured during the Battle of Brooklyn on August 27, 1776.

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Exploring the Indexes

As the newest member of the Maryland State Archives research team, I have learned an incredible amount in my first few weeks here.  If you missed the post where I introduced myself and talked a little bit about my work, you can access it here.  

At the Archives, we use several different types of resources for our research.  Today I would like to tell you a little bit about a method which is one of my personal favorites – the card indexes that are housed on site in our State Archives Search room! Continue reading

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“Being Desirous to Settle my Worldly Affairs”: Private George Claypoole’s Will

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of our work researching Maryland’s Revolutionary War soldiers is connecting their military service to civilian life. It’s relatively straight forward to piece a man’s army history together, but finding records of that person’s life afterward, and determining that it’s not someone else with the same name, can be difficult. Sometimes we can only use indirect or circumstantial evidence.

That’s the case with George Claypoole. Continue reading

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Natalie’s Introduction

Hello everyone!

My name is Natalie Miller and I am the new Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Research Fellow.  I will be working with Taylor and our supervisor Owen Lourie on the Finding the Maryland 400 project.  I just graduated in May from Randolph College with my B.A. in history, with minors in museum studies and art history.  I have performed in-depth research on several occasions, and am excited to continue to grow my skills and knowledge with this project!  I am researching the men from the Seventh Company of the First Maryland Regiment, who were from Annapolis or the larger Anne Arundel County area, and will write and upload biographies for each.  If you have any questions or comments on anyone I am researching or anything that I have I written, I would love to hear from you!

I am primarily interested in learning about historic figures as real people who, just like us, had relationships, likes and dislikes, friends and enemies, pets, homes, and even made mistakes.  I hope to discover some of these details about our Revolutionary War heroes in order to help expand our knowledge and understanding of them and their lives.  

I would like to thank the Sons of the American Revolution for continuing to provide funding for my position and this wonderful project.

Thanks for reading!

~Natalie

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