We are very pleased to be able to announce that we have written biographies of all the known soldiers of the Fifth Company! This is an important step towards the goal of the project: writing biographies of all the Marylanders who fought at the Battle of Brooklyn (900 men, in twelve companies). We first focused on the Fifth Company in 2014, beginning with this blog post.
The Fifth Company is one of several that has only partial enlistment records. The original muster roll from early 1776, as published in Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, includes only 36 men, while a full-strength company, like the Fifth was, had 74 officers and men. Of the names that are included, two were not even in the company when it traveled to New York: Walker Muse, listed as the company’s ensign, was made a third lieutenant and transferred to the Ninth Company, while Private John Marr was discharged on May 18, 1776.
Our research was able to uncover the names of 13 additional members of the Fifth Company (one of whom, Henry Williams, deserted as the soldiers marched into Philadelphia on July 31, 1776). These soldiers were identified from a range of sources. Some later applied for veteran’s pensions, and others were mentioned in the pension applications of the comrades. William Nevitt, captured at the Battle of Brooklyn, was identified through records of prisoners. Christian Castler’s enlistment came to light only because he was accused of shooting at one of his officers. Michael Nowland was recorded as being part of the company in a list of sick American soldiers in Philadelphia in December 1776. Two men, David McMechen and William Hammond are tentatively included in the company because they were witnesses of Edward Sinclair’s will, written in camp in October 1776. McMechen was later a part of the Whig Club, a militant revolutionary organization in Baltimore that included a number of other members of the Fifth Company. You can check out all of the biographies of the Fifth Company soldiers, and the rest of the First Maryland Regiment (182 and counting!) here.
We still have a long way to go before we are finished, of course. Our current round of funding from the Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution will allow us to complete work on the Fourth Company, and hopefully a good amount beyond that.
If you would like to support the project, you may do so through a donation to the Friends of the Maryland State Archives. Please be sure to list Maryland 400 under “Additional Comments.” Thank you very much!
Many thanks to the SAR, as well as former Finding the Maryland 400 researcher Taira Sullivan, whose work on the Fifth Company was excellent.
Thank you also to all of our readers and supporters over the years. Your interest and support has helped us keep the project moving forward, and we look forward to bringing you even more new blog posts and biographies soon!