“Happy Birthday!”… and thanks to some of those who made it possible

Posted on July 4, 2011 by

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I find the 4th of July a time for reflection on some of my people who had a hand in it seeing it to a successful end.

Two of my Moore ancestors, for example, signed the Oath of Fidelity and Support during the American Revolution, and provided the cause with, as I understand it, a fair amount of tobacco (better than any colonial money, at the time) produced on their plantations in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Meanwhile, other kin, in the Shenandoah Valley, offered a number of things ranging from beeves to civilian service with personal wagons and teams.

Others took up the musket…

When 5th great-grandfather Reuben Cave applied for his pension, at the ripe age of 94 (November 1832), he even mentioned the Chesapeake Affair of 1812 [though he remembered it as 1812, it actually occurred in 1807], and though he was too old to enlist stated “we ought to fought the British then.” Cave was a resident of Spotsylvania County, Virginia during the 1770s, and was working as an overseer when he was recruited in 1776, by a recruiting party at “Captain Roland Thomas’ in Orange Co.”, about 12 miles from where he lived. Under the command of Capt. George Stubblefield in the State Regulars (though actual military records show him under the command of Captain Peter Bernard, in the 2nd Virginia State Regiment, under Col. Gregory Smith & John McElbeny), Cave served three years. Not long after being recruited, he was sent with the other soldiers, under Sgt. Bob Plumer, to Williamsburg, to be trained under a French Captain named William Clummer(?), who commanded the artillery. After this, his company marched to Yorktown where they remained 2 months, and then to Valley Forge under command of Col. Charles Dabney, of the Virginia State 2nd Regiment [December 1777]. After this, he fell under the command of Capt. Muehlhany, from Loudoun, Lt. John Helins, and Ensign Edmondson, and Major Lee, the whole, as he recalled, being under General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenburg. He was then marched to New Windsor, and “were pursued from that place by the British.” After this, his command retreated to the top of New Windsor Mountain where it camped two months before moving to “Remaps” where “we  were took winter quarters.” In the spring of 1777, Cave’s command moved near a place called the Red House, where it remained for six months, then down the forks of the East and North River to White Plains, N.Y. While there, they received word that Hessians were taken at Phillips’ Mills. Ordered again to Remaps, the command went into winter quarters, and were placed on half allowance (ration quantity). For the next year, the command seemed to consistently be retreating and advancing “in that neighborhood”. Cave was at the storming of Mud Point Fort (Fort Mifflin?) under Capt. Muehlhaney, and took possession of the fort “at the point of bayonet”. Sometime after this, the regiment was ordered to Virginia to reinforce General “Mad” Anthony Wayne against Lord Cornwallis; and then to Guilford Courthouse, N.C. At this point, Cave’s term of enlistment having expired, he received a discharge.

At the age of 78, my 5th great grandfather Henry P. Aleshite/Aleshire appeared before the court in Page County, Virginia, in September 1832, to make his oath and declaration for pension. The following is an exact transcription of that declaration:

That he entered the service of the United States and served as herein stated. He was born in the valley of Powell’s Fort in the County of Shenandoah on the 19. February 1754, and was consequently 78 years old in Feb. last past. He enlisted for 18 months in the county of Shenandoah in Capt. John Steeds company of Regulars in the year 1778, and marched to Valley Forge Pennsylvania and joined the 8th Regiment commanded by Col Abraham Bowman. The 8th and the 4th Regiments were afterwards put together and then commanded by Col. John Nevill, in Gen Scott’s Brigade Va. Line. From Valley Forge we marched in pursuit of the British into the Jerseys, and overtook them at Monmouth, in which battle I fought, on Sunday the 28th day of June 1778. From Monmouth we marched into the state of Connecticut, and finally laid at West Point. We reached West Point in July and remained until fall, when we returned into Jersey, and laid between Middlebrook and Boundbrook, where we remained through the winter and until late into the spring, when my term of service having expired, I was regularly discharged. Tho’ that discharge has long since been lost, and I reached home just in the beginning of harvest.

In the spring of 1781, he was drafted into the militia for a tour of 3 months, under Capt. Jacob Pennywit, and marched with some other companies to Petersburg Va. and was engaged in the skirmish or battle which was fought at that place in May 1781 [aka "Battle of Blandford"]. His regiment was commanded by Col. John Slaughter, and the Brigade commanded by Brigadier Gen. Edmond Stevens. From Petersburg we marched to what was called Mebbin Hills 18 miles below Richmond, at this place he was discharged, and returned home, but only remained at home four days, when he was again drafted for 3 months more, under Capt. George Prince, and marched to Newcastle on the Pamunkey River, where for some cause Capt. Prince was discharged from the service and our company was then commanded by Captain Lynchfield Sharp during the remainder of the tour. We then marched to Ruffin’s Ferry, and from thence to Williamsburg, and from thence to the siege of York, and he was engaged in that siege. After Cornwallis and his army were taken, he was detailed and marched in guarding the prisoners to Lahewtown in the County of Frederick, (now Front Royal ) where his term of service expired and he was again regularly discharged. His Regiment, during this last tour was commanded by Col. Elias Edmonds, and the Brigade was still under the command of Genl. Stevens.

5th great-grandfather Thomas Purdom/Purdham recalled in his claim for pension that he enlisted in late June, 1780, for a period of 18 months, in Capt. Harrison’s Company from Culpeper County, Virginia. Organizationally, the company fell under the command of Colonel John Green, also of Culpeper, and served “in the line of the state of Va. and second Va. Regiment.” From Culpeper, the company march toward Richmond and Petersburg, eventually joining Gen. Nathanael Greene’s Army, participating first at the Battle of  Guilford Court House, and then, on June 18, in the assault on the Star Fort (Ninety-Six), in South Carolina, in which he was severely wounded by a “bayonet through the body”. Considering the severity of the wound, I don’t quite know if he participated in any further actions. He received his discharge on January 18, 1782, in the town of Salisbury, N.C.

Lastly, I know a little about 6th great grandfather Robert Quigley, a lieutenant from the Cumberland (Pennsylvania) Militia, and that his company was called out on a number of occasions between 1777 and 1783.

Again, today’s a perfect opportunity to reflect on what they did, in the 1770s and 1780s, to make this day possible.

Happy Birthday America!

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