Francis Reveley: Insults and Injury

Francis Reveley, the subject of our most recent biography, served the entirety of the Revolutionary war, beginning in 1776, when he enlisted as a sergeant in Nathaniel Ramsey’s Fifth Company. It was there that Reveley saw action at the Battle of Brooklyn, earning him a place of honor among the Maryland 400. In February of 1777, Reveley received a commission and reenlisted as a second lieutenant. By the conclusion of the war, Reveley had risen to the rank of captain.

While Reveley’s war time service is well documented, there is very little information on Reveley following the war aside from a few anecdotes. One in particular is quite riveting. On Saturday June 9, 1787, Reveley became engaged in a confrontation with a man named William Thomson in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Although we do not know the specifics of the dispute, Reveley believed himself “injured by some publications and assertions of Mr. Thomson,” and met Thomson at a town store to confront him.

The altercation turned violent when Reveley took a horse whip to Thomson. Thomson threatened Reveley with a pistol and “lodged the contents of the pistol in[to] his[Reveley’s] breast.” Reveley was initially believed to have been mortally wounded, but later reporting indicated that he was “in a hopeful way of recovery.”[1] Thomson was immediately arrested. Subsequent to his release, Thomson was involved in another duel later that fall in which he “had his arm taken off.”[2]

To read more about Francis Reveley, check out his biography here.


[1] “Fredericksburg, June 13,” Maryland Chronicle, July 4, 1787.

[2] “Fredericksburg, Sept.13,” Pennsylvania Packet, September 24, 1787.

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