Hartford Revolutionary War Muster Roll
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“Return of the 1.st Massachusetts Battalion of Foot Commanded by John Bailey.” Autograph Document Signed (“Simeon Lord, Lieut.”), “Camp Hartford,” [CT], November 20, 1778. 7 7/8 x 12 ½ in. 2 pp.
This ledger sheet lists the disposition of the eight companies [to wit: Captains Maxwell, Darby, Allen (late), Burr, Drew, Warren, Alden, and Dunham] of the 1st Massachusetts Regiment, John Bailey commanding. Demarcated are the various types of officers – 19 subcategories – in addition to the “Rank & File,” who are categorized into: “For duty,” “S[ick] Present,” “S[ick] Absent,” “on Comm[an]d,” and on “Furlough.” Excluding all officers, the total present & fit force numbers 250 of 401 men enlisted, with 239 men “Wanting.” In all the regiment was at but 65% of full strength, not an uncommon situation.
10 absent officers are individually named – with the number of troops dispatched with them – and their reasons and locations. 8 men are “in the Shoe Factory” in New York; others “After Descarters,” “With the Indians,” “in the Artillary,” etc. Lt. Eldred in a prisoner in New York. Simeon Lord of Berwick, Massachusetts [Maine], who completed and signed this report, had been on command at Valley Forge as of July, 1778.
The 1st Massachusetts Battalion of Foot under Colonel John Bailey had responded to the Lexington Alarm of April 19, 1775.
On August 22, 1776, the British forces, led by General Sir William Howe, moved from their positions on Staten Island, New York across the Narrows to invade Long Island. They defeated the Americans in the Battle of Brooklyn Heights (August 27). The Americans retreated across the East River to Manhattan Island (August 29), followed by the British (September 15). The Americans were then able to stop the British advance on the north end of Manhattan at the Battle of Harlem Heights (September 16).
One month later, Howe’s troops landed in Westchester County, New York (October 12 and 18), and made a frontal attack on the American positions in White Plains (October 28). The attack failed, and the British withdrew to Dobbs Ferry.
The British were later able to consolidate their hold on Manhattan by capturing Fort Washington (November 16), but Westchester remained in American hands. The brutal winter of 1777-1778 found the regiment at Valley Forge.
Howard H. Flierl, PhD and Chatherine Urell, PhD. Living in New York (N.Y.: Follett Publishing Company, 1962). Barnet Schecter. The Battle for New York (N.Y.: Walker Publishing Company, 2002).