The will of Policarpus Taylor, Esquire
of Norton, Durham, England, (1715-1780)
states that his son is a Lieutenant in the 57th
Regiment of Foot in 1780. The will
instructs the executors to give son Policarpus
William Taylor eighty pounds in order to buy
"Diet, Lodging, and Clothing."
Cape Fear, North Carolina - May 1776
Communications from the Earl of Dartmouth, dated October 21,
1775, to Major General William Howe, direct that the five
regiments of foot 15th, 37th, 53rd, 54th, and 57th,
"Should be ordered to hold themselves in readiness to embark
at Cork, Ireland on or before the first of December for
North America." Major General Henry Clinton is appointed
to command the expedition to the Southern colonies December 6,
1775, which will included the five regiments listed and two
companies of artillery infantry for "reducing to obedience the
southern provinces of North America now in rebellion."
The 57th Regiment of Foot
(1) landed and encamped at Bald Head, Cape, Fear,
North Carolina, in the Colony of
America, May 15, 1776. Sir Henry Clinton's forces, amounting to 2,000,
attempted to siege Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island,
Charleston, South Carolina. The British attack was repulsed
by Charleston troops.. British forces
then moved north July 21st, to engage in the New
Capture of Long Island - August 1776
"On the 1st of August Clinton arrived from
Cape Fear. Howe proceeded to organize his forces into seven
brigades and a Reserve, the Grenadier and Light Infantry
companies massed into distinct battalions." (2)
The total British and Hessian forces amounted to 25,000.
Reserve - Four battalions of Grenadiers -
John Vaughan , 33rd, 42nd
First Brigade. - 4th, 15th, 27th, 45th - Major-General James
Second Brigade. - 5th, 28th, 35th, 49th -Major-General Robert
Third Brigade. - 10th, 37th, 38th, 52nd - Major Valentine Jones
Fourth Brigade. - 17th, 40th, 46th, 55th Major-General James
Fifth Brigade. - 22nd, 43rd, 44th, 63rd Brig-General Francis
Sixth Brigade. - 23rd, 44th, 57th, 64th
Brig-Gen James Agnew
Seventh Brigade. - Fraser's Highlanders. New York
Companies. Hessian troops
Light Troops. - Three ** battalions of Light Infantry &
the 16th and 17th
BG Alexander Leslie.
** The Light Company of the 57th formed part of the 2nd
The first division of 15,000 British troops landed at Gravesend
Bay on Long Island, on the 22nd of August. Sir Henry Clinton and
Lord Cornwallis, attacked American forces on the Bedford
and Jamaica roads.
The German Hessians struck General Sullivan's troops at a
third position, Prospect Park. The Americans were
defeated. General Washington abandoned his army camp, retreating
his troops across the river at Brooklyn, on the 30th of August.
General Howe moved his army eastward of Brooklyn, and then
captured the city of New York.
Ensign Commission - April 8, 1777
Policarpus William Taylor paid a
L500 pounds in
order to obtain a commission for the Ensign assignment in the Army,
the 57th Regiment of Foot on April 8,
Ensign commissions of James Saxony and
Policarpus Wm Taylor, 8 April 1777.
Source: Carleton's Loyalists Papers, Canadian Archives.
Researcher: Sonia Hamilton, Haileybury, Ontario Canada.
Sir John Irwin
The head of the 57th Regiment of Foot was
Colonel Sir John Irwin, who was Commander in Chief of Ireland
from May 5, 1775 to 1782 and a Member of Parliament (MP) from
1762 to 1783. Policarpus William Taylor appears in the 57th
Regiment of Foot Roster, as an Ensign for the years
1778 and 1779 in
Regiment Rosters submitted by Sir William Howe for all British
Forces stationed in North America. Regiment Rosters for
the years 1780, 1781,
1782, and 1783
list Policarpus William Taylor, as a Lieutenant. The 1783
Roster shows Lieutenant Taylor mustered
out of the 57th Regiment as a Grenadier.
Battle of Brandywine - September 11, 1777
General William Howe, disembarked at
the head of Elk River, Maryland with 13,000 British and 5,000
Hessian troops on August 24, 1777. General Howe's goal was
to seize Philadelphia. The British troops were divided into two
columns under the command of German General Knyphausen and
General Charles Cornwallis.
1st Brigade, 4th, 5th, 23rd, 49th
|Major-General Charles Grey:
3rd Brigade, 15th, 33rd, 44th, 55th
|Major-General James Grant:
2nd Brigade, 10th, 27th, 28th, 40th
|Major-General James Agnew:
4th Brigade, 17th, 37th, 46th, 64th
|Four Hessian battalions
||2 battalions Guards
2 battalions Light Infantry
2 battalions Grenadiers
2 squadrons 16th Light Dragoons
|Three battalions Fraser's Highlanders
||3 battalions Hessians
|Queen's Rangers (Irregulars)
|1-squadron 16th Light Dragoons
** The 2nd Light Battalion of General Grey's forces was
comprised of the light company of the 57th Regiment.
encountered General Sullivan's division on the heights above
Birmingham Church. The Americans were driven back and
retreated to Chester. The British marched forward on
Lancaster road. General Washington dispatched General Wayne to
harass and delay Howe's forces. General Howe sent
Major-General Grey with three battalions (2nd Battalion Light
Infantry-comprised of the light company of the 57th Regiment;
the 42nd and 45th Regiments ) to deal with Wayne's forces.
"NO FLINT GREY"
September 20, 1777
General Grey planned a night attack upon Wayne's camp, with
orders to use bayonet only. In order to prevent any of his
troops from firing their too early in the attack, he ordered the
removal of their flints from their muskets. Upon entering
Wayne's camp General Grey shouted "Dash on, light infantry."
In the successful attack three hundred of Wayne's men were
killed and wounded while the British had only eight killed and
wounded. Seventy soldiers were taken as prisoners of war, along
with the whole of the camp equipage, and eight wagon loads of
stores and ammunitions.
placed a quarter bounty on the heads of all of the Light
Infantry battalion. The 2nd Light Battalion, in
order to save from murder other Light Battalions who had taken
no part in the attack, dyed their plumes red.
effectively marched into and occupied Philadelphia on the 25th
of September 1777
Capture of Fort Montgomery - October 6,
Troops at Fort Montgomery: 52nd
Regiment, 57th Regiment, Emmerick Chasseur Unit,
Loyalist Americans, and New York Volunteers.
The navigation of the Hudson river, three
miles above Peekskill, was blockaded by the Americans who had
strung, across the river, an iron chain and boom. The boom was
protected by four war-ships and two fortifications named Fort Montgomery and
Fort Clinton on the western bank of the river.
The 52nd and 57th Regiment of Foot, under the
command of Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell disembarked at Stoney
Point early on the day of October 6th.
The British troops attacked both forts
simultaneously on the afternoon of October 6th, successfully
defeating the Americans by nightfall.
Major-General Henry Clinton with Hessian troops commanded
by Emmerich Chasseur; the American
Loyalist troops commanded by Captain George Turnbull, and
Lieutenant-Colonel Mungo Campbell with the 57th
were engaged at the Fort Montgomery attack. The
attack of Fort Clinton included the 26th, Fraser's Highlanders,
one company of German Chasseurs, and the 63rd.
Promotion to Lieutenant October 1779
As of May
23, 1778, the 57th Regiment of Foot consisted
of 353 men. The Commissary General's Department Return for
March 18th to 24th, 1779, of Men, Women,
Children & Waggoners of the British
Regiments, Hessian, New Levies & Civil
Department Victualled at New York and its
Dependencies lists the 57th Regiment. There
were 450 men, 65 women, 35 children and 5
Taylor reported to James Dalrymple's company,
Greenwich, New York August 25, 1779 and was
promoted to Lieutenant on 11th of October
1779. (4) A commission of
was paid by Polycarpus Wm. Taylor for this promotion. Lt. Taylor
was in Captain Waugh's company, as of November 16, 1779.
Lieutenant Policarpus Taylor transferred to
the Grenadiers unit on the 24th of April 1781 and was
stationed on Long Island for the next two years. Lt.
Taylor retired from military service on June 20, 1783. (5)
British forces occupied the City of New York,
including units of the 57th Regiment of Foot, for
seven years (1776-1783). The Definitive Treaty of Peace between
Great Britain and the United States was ratified in 1782. The
removal of British Troops and Loyalists was completed by
Taylor Prisoners - 1783 - Provost Marshal
The Provost Marshal prisoner list includes
three Taylor men in 1783. William Taylor, seaman, of the
ship "South Carolina;" Edward Taylor, farmer, of Philips
Manor; and Henry Taylor, farmer, of Cortland's
The estate of Colonel Frederick Philip called
Philipse Manor, was confiscated by the State of New York after
the War of the Revolution. The Rent Roll of Col. Frederick
Philip's Estate 1776-1784 includes only tenants Benjamin
Taylor and Elnathan Taylor. When Philip's confiscated
property was sold, some of it was bought by former tenants or
members of their families.
57th Regiment - Nova Scotia - 1783-1791
At the conclusion of the war the 57th
Regiment, reduced to eight companies, was
assigned to Nova Scotia where
British Loyalists from New York were deported in 1783.
Some Loyalists returned to the New York from
Canada area in later years.
The 1783, 57th Regiment of Foot roster, shows that
Policarpus William Taylor had mustered out, and therefore did
not participate in the assignment of the 57th to Nova Scotia.
The 57th was stationed in Nova Scotia for
eight years until 1791. The 57th was
reduced by October 1791 to eighteen officers and
one hundred sixty men, due to drafts to other
regiments. The regiment arrived in
Portsmouth, England, November 14, 1791 from
The composition of the 57th upon return to Portsmouth included
over fifty percent Irishmen.
Death in New York 1791
Polycarpus Taylor did not return to England after his retirement
from military service, choosing to remain in New York. The will
of his mother, the widow, Alice (Gregory) Taylor, of Norton,
Durham, England written in 1786 mentions her son and “to hold
his inheritance in trust.”
Gentleman’s Magazine of London makes notes of his death in the
June 1791 publication: “ At New York, Polycarpus William Taylor,
Esquire, formerly an officer in the 57th Regiment.”
Was Lt. Polycarpus William Taylor buried in New York or was his
body returned to England for burial? Mr. Taylor’s father Rear
Admiral Polycarpus Taylor died in early 1781 while his mother Alice
Taylor (nee Gregory) died in 1789. Mary Taylor, a sister, born
about 1740, and widow of Naval captain Robert Gregory was living
as of 1789. Rear Admiral Taylor’s will specifically instructed
that his son Lt. Polycarpus William Taylor would forfeit his
inheritance if he attempted to enter the house of his sister