White Plains Revolutionary War Muster Roll
with Reference to Valley Forge
Click to enlarge:
Select an image:
Autograph Document Signed (“Luther Bailey, Adjt.”), Camp White Plains [NY], July 24, 1778. 8 1/8” x 12 5/8”. 2 p. “Return of the 1st Massachusetts Regiment of Foot Commanded by Col.o John Bailey”
This ledger sheet lists the disposition of the eight companies [to wit: Captains Maxwell, Darby, Allen (late), Burr, Drew, Warren (late), 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 by: “Present fit for duty,” “Sick Present,” “Sick Absent,” “On Command,” and “On Furlough.” The total present & fit force numbered 204 of 346 men enlisted, with 294 men “Wanting.” In all the regiment was at less than but 60% of full strength, not an uncommon situation.
11 absent officers are individually named, with their reasons and locations. For instance, Second Lieutenant [Simeon] Lord [of Berwick, ME] is on command at “Valley Forge.”
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).