Background image is Les Dernières Cartouches (The Last Cartridges) by Alphonse de Neuville

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Project 1777: Lincoln, Wayne, and the Pennsylvanians

The first engagement of the 1777 Philadelphia campaign, to my mind, was the British attack on Bound Brook. It served as the transition between the winter's Forage War, the petite guerre of outposts and ambuscades, and the opening of General Lord Howe's field campaign, the attempt to draw General George Washington and the American army into an open battle.

Ewald's map of the engagement at Bound Brook (Wikimedia)
Bound Brook also served as Major General Benjamin Lincoln's first and last engagement as commander of the 4th Division of the Main Army. Lincoln had taken command of the division shortly after receiving his major general's commission from Congress in February 1777. Only one regiment (the 8th Pennsylvania) from his division fought at Bound Brook, along with a few Pennsylvania and New Jersey militia units and a Pennsylvania artillery company, Proctor's.  In July, three months after the brief skirmish on the Raritan, Lincoln was riding north, along with Major General Benedict Arnold and Colonel Daniel Morgan--two tough and unconventional fighters--to assist in the defense of the Northern Department. General George Washington ordered Brigadier General Anthony Wayne to take charge of the division in Lincoln's absence.

Wayne and horse by Alonzo Chappel (Wikimedia)
Anthony Wayne

Wayne was the son and grandson of immigrants. His grandfather, Captain Anthony Wayne, served in the Anglo-Dutch army of William of Orange against the Jacobites in 1690 and later brought his Dutch wife and young son Isaac to Pennsylvania from Ireland in 1699. Isaac, our Anthony's father, served as an officer in the Pennsylvania Military Association (the volunteer defense force that protected the colony during the French and Indian War because the Quaker-owned colony refused to establish a militia) and in due course took over running the family estate as well as the tanning business his father had established, which had grown to be the largest in Pennsylvania. Young Anthony sought a more exciting life and, after studying at his uncle's private academy and the College of Pennsylvania, he became a surveyor, working for Benjamin Franklin and other Philadelphia land speculators. Chester County electors sent him to the Provincial Assembly in 1774, and he joined many of the revolutionary organizations (the Provincial Committee of Safety, the Provincial Convention, and the Committee of Correspondence) that sprang up as war came closer.

In 1776, Wayne was appointed colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania Battalion (later the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment). He commanded the regiment through an ignominious campaign in Canada and was left in command of Fort Ticonderoga when senior officers abandoned it for the warmer and better-supplied surroundings of the Main Army and Congress. In February 1777, Wayne was among those promoted to brigadier general, and he was summoned south to take up command of the 1st Pennsylvania Brigade.

"Dandy Wayne" (he took pleasure in dressing well) studied military arts and sciences as many Americans did, by reading everything and anything of a professional military nature that he could get his hands on. He swore like a sailor, drove his men hard, but asked nothing from them (like bravery or self-discipline) that he didn't expect from himself. He assumed a bold manner; one fellow Pennsylvania officer compared him to the French Marshal-General the Duc de Villars, who was as renowned for his braggadocio as for his bravery. While fierce and boastful, Wayne was calm, almost ice-cold in action, so much so that later in the war Washington selected him on several occasions for special commands that required a brave but cool-headed officer, such as the Corps of Light Infantry's attack on Stony Point in 1779.

1st Pennsylvania Regt. colour (

The Pennsylvania Division

As the 1777 campaign opened, the 4th or Pennsylvania Division of the Main Army consisted of two brigades, one of five regiments and one of four. Although the artillery doctrine devised by Washington and the army's artillery chief, Brigadier General Henry Knox, called for a company of two to four guns to support each brigade, these companies were not formally allocated as part of the divisional organization. As brigades were formed mostly from troops from one state or region, the army tried to arrange that supporting artillery would come from the same state or region. In 1777, the Pennsylvania Division was often supported by gunners from the command of the Irishman-turned-Pennsylvanian Thomas Proctor.

The First Pennsylvania Brigade

With the departure of Lincoln and Wayne's shift to divisional command (though it came with no promotion--Wayne was not commissioned as a major general until 1783), the 1st Pennsylvania Brigade was commanded by Colonel Thomas Hartley.

Hartley was an attorney who practiced in York and Philadelphia and who served in Pennsylvania's Provincial Convention in 1775. He held commissions first as lieutenant and then as lieutenant colonel in the Associators. He the commanded the 6th Pennsylvania Battalion as lieutenant colonel during its service in Canada in 1776. In 1777 Congress authorized Washington to raise several additional regiments to supplement those allocated to specific states. With lobbying from Richard Henry Lee, Hartley obtained the commission to raise one of these and spent the spring raising it and attending to other matters (for an entertaining correspondence between Hartley and an increasingly annoyed Washington, see this page at the National Archives).

1st Pennsylvania Regiment
One of the first units raised in the war, this regiment started out as Thompson's Rifle Battalion or the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment. Several companies were sent on Arnold's expedition to Canada, while the remainder served in the siege of Boston. After the siege ended, and with Col. William Thompson promoted to brigadier general, the regiment became the 1st Continental Regiment, under the command of Lt. Col., later Col. Edward Hand. A new name change saw the regiment re-titled the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, and as such it fought at Long Island, providing the army's rearguard in that action.It fought at Harlem Heights and White Plains. When Washington led the army across the Delaware to attack Trenton, the 1st Pennsylvania led the way in the battles of Trenton, Assunpink Creek, and Princeton.

In early 1777, Hand too was promoted to brigade command and Col. James Chambers took command of the 1st. Under Chambers' command the regiment fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown and was prepared to engage at White Marsh. In 1778, the regiment exchanged its rifles for muskets and bayonets and as regular infantry fought at the battle of Monmouth. The regiment's light company took part in the storming of Stony Point under Anthony Wayne.

In 1777, the uniform of the 1st Pennsylvania was brown regimentals faced green, but when in the field the unit more often wore hunting shirts and linen or deerskin overalls. In 1776, Col. Hand had ordered material for shirts that were intended to be green, trimmed in red. Similar outfits were often made of brown, black, white, or "drab" cloth. Another account suggests that the 1st received green regimentals (possibly faced red) in the winter of 1776 and green hunting shirts with buckskin breeches. Though he didn't paint them specifically to be the 1st Continental/1st Penna., Giles Allison features some well painted American riflemen on his Tarleton's Quarter blog here and also here.

2nd Pennsylvania Regiment
Originally formed in 1775 as the 1st Pennsylvania Battalion, this unit served in the invasion of and then retreat from Canada and the defense of Lake Champlain. IN 1776 it was reorganized as the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment and fought at Trenton and Princeton. Its colonel, John Phillip DeHaas, was promoted to brigadier general. A replacement colonel was appointed but did not take command of the regiment before he resigned in the summer of 1777. In the meantime, the regiment was commanded by Major William Williams.

Some sources suggest the regiment took part in the action at Bound Brook. It certainly fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown (where Maj. Williams was captured). It was present at Whitemarsh, fought at Monmouth, and served throughout the rest of the war.

In 1777, the uniform of the 2nd Pennsylvania was brown regimentals faced green. For some handsomely painted 2nd PAs, see Giles Allison's Tarleton's Quarter blogpost here.

Division flag of the 7th Pennsylvania (
7th Pennsylvania Regiment
Commanded in 1777 by Colonel David Geier. The 7th Pennsylvania was raised in 1776 as the 6th Pennsylvania Battalion, which served in Canada and in the defense of Lake Champlain in that year. In January 1777, it was reorganized as the 7th, in which capacity it served in the campaigns in northern New Jersey, in defense of Philadelphia, and in 1778 at the battle of Monmouth.

In 1776, the 6th Battalion may have worn blue regimentals faced red, and it appears that the 7th Pennsylvania retained these. Another possibility is that they wore brown coats faced red.

10th Pennsylvania Regiment
Originally raised by Colonel Adam Penrose, who led it in combat at Princeton, the 10th was commanded in 1777 by Lieutenant Colonel Adam Hubley. It fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown and the next year at Monmouth. When the 11th was combined into the 10th in 1778, Col. Richard Humpton took command of the consolidated unit.

I have not been able to find a reliable indication of the 10th's uniforms, so one can only made educated guesses. The uniforms adopted by the Military Association in 1775 had been almost all variations on brown regimental coats, while the two Pennsylvania state units (a rifle regiment and a musketry battalion) had worn blue coats faced white. The Pennsylvania Continental regiments of 1776 had been uniformed in blue faced red, blue faced white, brown faced green, and brown faced red. When officers bought cloth for additional coats in late 1777 the majority were blue faced red, with smaller quantities of blue faced white, brown faced white, and brown faced green.

Hartley's Additional Continental Regiment
Hartley being in command of the brigade, his regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Morgan Connor. Hartley had recruited Connor (or Conner or Conneer or O'Connor, spellings varied) from the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, which he had joined in 1775, serving at Boston and later at Trenton, where he was wounded. An Irish Roman Catholic, Connor had also served twice as a staff officer in South Carolina and would go on to command other Pennsylvania regiments before becoming the Continental Army's adjutant general. He received sick leave in 1779 and was lost at sea when traveling to the West Indies for a rest cure.

Recruited from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, the regiment was barely made up in time to join the spring 1777 campaign. It fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown during that year. In 1778, it was moved to the Pennsylvania frontier to fight Indians, and in 1779 it joined several other regiments in being subsumed into the "new" 11th Pennsylvania.

In 1777, Hartley's Additional Regiment was uniformed in blue regimental coats faced white.You can see some well-painted Hartley's here.

Next Post: the Second Pennsylvania Brigade and Proctor's Artillery

1 comment: