|"Thomas DeArmond was a member of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, the longest serving Continental rifle unit of the American Revolution. His name (variously spelled) appears in many of the rolls I examined as part of the study. My published synthesis doesn’t mention him by name, but by virtue of his being a member of the unit, his service “trail” is fully documented in the article, which is available through university libraries. A longer document from which the article was derived is also available from the library collections of the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS)." Tucker Hentz, 2006|
Notes regarding Thomas DeArmond by Fred Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
[Fred Thomas is the son of Mildred DeArmond Thomas 1912-2012 of Fountain City, IN, and grandson of Claude and Edith DeArmond (photos)]
Thomas Dearmond (c1735-c1811)
Thomas Dearmond, probably a son of Alex Diermond, was born in North Ireland about 1735. He came to America as a young man, and settled first in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. His first wife, who was French, died in childbirth soon after their arrival. He returned to Ireland for another bride, and married Peggy King (born before 1755, died 1800-1810), perhaps about 1766. The first official record of Thomas is from 1768, involving title to land which had been improved about 1758 by Joseph Scott and sold by him to Thomas Dearmond, who in turn sold it to Alexander Miller, who sold it to Archibald Stewart, who was living on it in 1768.
Two older sons, King and Alexander, were born to Thomas and Peggy in 1767 and 1769 respectively. Two more sons, Samuel and Robert, were probably born after Thomas returned from the Revolutionary War, although the date of Samuel's birth is uncertain.
Thomas (then in his 40's) enlisted August 17, 1776 as a private in Captain Alexander Lawson Smith's Company, Stephenson's Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, Continental Troops. Recruiting was difficult at the time, and it was not unusual for officers to travel to the backwoods of Pennsylvania in search of volunteers. Rifle regiments were the elite of Continental Troops, serving as light infantry to provide scouting and perimeter defense. Most British and American forces were armed with muskets, which were most effective at short range and in hand-to- hand combat with bayonets. The Pennsylvania rifles were far more accurate at long range, but took longer to load, were less durable, and were seldom equipped with bayonets. 1
"On June 17, 1776 Congress decided that the rifle companies from Maryland and Virginia serving in the Continental Army should be formed into a regiment. On June 27 Congress resolved that in addition to the three companies of riflemen from these states then serving at New York, there should be raised four more companies in Virginia and two more in Maryland. The men were to be enlisted for three years. Along with the German Battalion, this was the first Continental unit to be enlisted for over one year. Colonel Stephenson, the commander, was a Virginian. His second in command, Lieutenant Colonel Rawlings, was from Maryland. Recruitment of the regiment did not go well. Most of the regiment was captured at Fort Washington on November 16, 1776, and attempts to reorganize it as Rawling's Additional Continental Regiment were not an outstanding success." 2 Stephenson served as commander only until Sept. 1776, when Rawlings apparently took over command, and the Regiment is often listed in National Archives and other records as "Rawlings' Regiment." 3
Several of the new companies (including Thomas DeArmond) had not yet joined the Regiment at the time of the battle at Fort Washington. The two Maryland companies were provisionally reorganized in November 1776 as a single company under Captain Smith and attached to the 4th Maryland Regiment. 4 Wright states that the 4th Maryland was assigned to the Main Army on Dec. 27, 1776, organized to consist of 8 companies on March 27, 1777, and that its first engagements were "New Jersey 1777" and "Defense of Philadelphia". 5 Thomas DeArmond may have participated with the 4th Maryland in battles between January and June of 1777 at Somerset Court House, Amboy, Woodbridge, Piscataway, Millstone, Short Hills or other sites in New Jersey, although further investigation is needed on this period of his service. 6
"During the summer of 1777 General Washington selected 500 riflemen from the Main Army and formed them into a corps under Colonel Daniel Morgan. Most of the men in the corps were woodsmen and good hunters and so were adjudged a fit body to counter enemy light troops and Indian allies." 7
Washington was apparently still convinced that a full rifle regiment (rather than individual rifle companies within other regiments) was needed. Stephenson was dead and Rawlings was a prisoner of the British in New York. Washington recommended to Congress that Colonel Daniel Morgan be selected to reorganize the rifle regiment. Morgan was on parole after his own capture in Quebec, and Washington suggested the appointment be kept secret since, "His acceptance of a commission under his present circumstances might be construed as a violation." 8
By early April, Morgan had raised about 180 men and marched with them to join Washington at Morristown. His second-in-command was Richard Butler, and Major Morris of New Jersey (who would die at the battle of Chestnut Hill, PA in Dec. 1777) was third. The regiment was supplemented by about 400 additional riflemen from other regiments -- including Thomas DeArmond and probably the rest of his company from the 4th Maryland -- and divided into 8 companies, commanded by Captains Cobel, Posey, Knox, Long, Swearingen, Parr, Boone, and Henderson. By June 13, 1777, the corps was "completely organized and ready for service," and Morgan received his instructions from Washington. 9The crops of Rangers newly formed, and under your command, are to be considered as a body of Light Infantry, and are to act as such, for which reason they will be exempted form the common duties of the line. At present you are to take post at Van Vechten's Bridge, and watch, with very small scouting parties (to avoid fatiguing your men too much under the present appearance of things), the enemy's left flank, and particularly the roads leading from Brunswick towards Millstone, Princeton, &c.
In case of any movement of the enemy, you are instantly to fall upon their flanks, and gall them as much as possible, taking especial care not to be surrounded, or have your retreat to the army cut off.
I have sent for spears, which I expect shortly to receive and deliver to you, as a defense against horse. Till you are furnished with these, take care not to be caught in such a situation, as to give them any advantage over you. 10
Thomas DeArmond appears as a private in the National Archives pay roll records of Gabriel Long's detached Company, Morgan's Rifle Regiment from July 1777 through July 1979, receiving $20 every 3 months. His name is spelled variously as DeArmot, deArmott, and Dermott. (Thomas was illiterate, as indicated by the fact that he signed a later will with an "x," and the pay masters presumably tried to record his unusual name as best they could.) Although Morgan's Rifle Corps was broken up in the winter of 1977-78, Thomas continued to serve in what became Morgan's 11th Virginia Regiment until the end of his 3-year enlistment.
From mid June through early August of 1877, Morgan's Riflemen moved rapidly around New Jersey, skirmishing with the British troops and helping defend against an expected attack on Philadelphia. The first significant action of the period came quickly at Millstone, NJ, beginning when a detached party of Morgan's men discovered a column of British troops under General Cornwallis, moving to draw Washington out of his fortified camp and into a general engagement. As would happen in later battles, Morgan's Corps sounded the alarm and initiated the fighting, to be joined later by additional forces. In a letter to Congress, Washington praised Morgan's men for "their conduct and bravery on this occasion," and noted that "they constantly advanced upon an enemy far superior to them in numbers, and well secured behind strong redoubts." 11
Washington apparently came to rely heavily on Morgan's Corps for scouting and for rapid response, but Congress directed Washington to reassign the Corps temporarily to the Northern Army. A large force of British regulars under General Burgoyne was moving south from Canada, threatening to split the colonies. The Americans knew that Burgoyne was having difficulty with supplies and with the coordination he expected from British forces to the west and south. They realized a major American victory was possible but far from certain. Squabbling among the American leaders was a serious problem, including efforts by General Gates to displace Washington. Benedict Arnold (who would be a hero for the Americans in the coming battle) also squabbled with Gates, each of them wanting Morgan's Corps under his command. 12
Burgoyne's Indian allies were particularly frightening to the northern American forces. Washington wrote that Morgan's men "will fight the Indians in their own way" and "I shall be mistaken if their presence does not go far towards producing a general desertion among the savages." A British writer said Morgan "had collected and was the leading spirit of a body of marksmen, perhaps at that time without compare in any part of the world." 13
The arrival of Morgan's Corps at Saratoga, New York on August 31, 1777 did indeed cause wide-spread desertion among Burgoyne's Indian forces, seriously weakening his ability to scout the American forces. Morgan's men led the Americans into the First Battle of Saratoga on Sept. 19 and played an important role in the Second Battle of Saratoga on Oct. 7. The Corps was a significant factor in producing the American victory that has often been called the "turning point of the Revolution." It was the first major victory over British regular troops, it prevented the splitting of New England from the rest of the American colonies, and it helped encourage the French to join the war. Thomas DeArmond may or may not have participated in the two battles, since many of Morgan's forces were sick after their long, fast trip from New Jersey.
After the victory at Saratoga, Washington requested immediate reinforcements, and Morgan's Riflemen were the first to make the march back south, arriving at Washington's headquarters in Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania on Nov. 18. The Marquis de Lafayette immediately led 160 of Morgan's Riflemen ("all who were fit for duty at this time, the rest having no shoes") into successful battle against 350 Hessians. Lafayette wrote, "I never saw men so merry, so spirited, and so desirous to go on to the enemy, whatever force they might have, as that small party in this fight." 14
During the bitter winter of 1777-78, Morgan's Riflemen were with Washington at Valley Forge. They continued to be active, even after Morgan himself was promoted and assigned to another unit in the summer of 1778, although much of the large-scale fighting during the last part of Thomas DeArmond's war service was either at sea or in the Southern states. Callahan describes an incident during the winter of 1778-79 when Morgan and Capt. Gabriel Long (Morgan's "favorite captain") led a party of 20 riflemen apparently on an intelligence mission which called for more restraint than Morgan could manage. It is not clear if Thomas might have still been under the command of Morgan and Long at that time.
LaCrosse reports that Long's Company spent the period from the summer of 1778 to the summer of 1779 fighting Indians and Tories in upstate New York. In August of 1778, "Captain Gabriel Long's company of riflemen ambush and disperse a company of Tories under Captain Charles Smith. Captain Long personally kills and scalps Smith, and sends the trophy to General John Stark in Albany. After this affair, Christopher Service, a noted Tory, is dispatched by the legendary Tim Murphy and Dave Ellison." 15
By Fall of 1778, Major Posey was apparently in command of 2 companies of Riflemen from Morgan's old regiment (one of which was Long's Company). On October 6th, they joined with the 4th Pennsylvania to destroy Unadilla, New York, and ten miles of crops along the Susquehanna River. The attack on Unadilla, helped provoke the Iroquois Indians under Joseph Brant and Butler's Rangers to carry out the Cherry Valley massacre during the following month. Parr's riflemen continued their war against the Iroquois, when (under command of Lieutenant Elijah Evans) they destroyed Onondaga Town on April 20, 1779. 16
The Cherry Valley massacre played a major role in leading Washington to order General Sullivan to carry out "the total destruction and devastation" of the Iroquois settlements and the "capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more." As part of the three-pronged attack on the Iroquois, General James Clinton led 1500 soldiers (probably including Thomas DeArmond) through the Mohawk Valley, across Lake Otsego, and down the Susquehanna to join General Sullivan. 17
In Wilderness War, Allan Eckert provides a wealth of detail (although in fictionalized form) about Sullivan's Expedition, including Clinton's march. 18 One interesting detail concerns the German Regiment which was a part of Sullivan's main force. Thirty-three members of that Regiment deserted en masse during July, giving the not- unreasonable excuss that their 3-year enlistments had expired. All but four of the deserters were captured and sentenced to severe punishments, although they were later pardoned and returned to duty. 19 Thomas Dearmond's 3-year enlistment was also expiring at about the same time, probably with many other members of his Company who had originally been part of Rawling's Regiment.
The main battle of Sullivan's Expedition occurred at Newton, New York (now Elmira) on August 29, 1779. The riflemen under Major Parr scouted in advance of the main army as it began its march northward, and spotted an ambush. The riflemen engaged the Indians and Tories in skirmishing, but resisted being drawn into a major battle until reinforcements arrived. The resulting victory opened the way for Sullivan to complete the destruction of Iroquois society.
After his 3-year enlistment expired in August of 1779, Thomas DeArmond returned to his family in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. By 1783, he was living in Turbot township, Northumberland County, with 150 acres of land. In 1786 he purchased additional land, and the census of 1790 shows his family as consisting of himself, wife and 4 sons. In 1791, when he was in his mid-50's, Thomas served for 8 days in the Volunteer Corps of Scouts on the frontiers of Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania, presumably helping to quell one of the Indian uprisings of that period. In 1793, he purchased land in Turbot Township from Frederick Watts. 20
The land he purchased in 1793 was apparently near the site of the present Warrior Run Presbyterian Church (in what is now Delaware Township). A list of members of the church in 1789 includes Thomas and Robert DeArmond, and in 1811 Thomas DeArmond sold a strip of land on the north of the church property to the church for 70 dollars. 21
Thomas DeArmond apparently died around 1812 [Nov 1816], although no record of his death or grave has been found.* His 2 younger sons, Robert and Samuel, stayed in Northumberland County, and Samuel's descendents continued to live in the vicinity of the Warrior Run Church at least until 1898. His 2 older sons, King and Alexander, moved to Ohio in 1806.
* UPDATE NOTE:
Buried at Warrior Run Church Cemetery in Delaware Run, Northumberland County, PA,
Thomas DeARMOND is buried there in plot H-13R (a Revolutionary War veteran)
along side his wife Margaret DeARMOND in plot H-12R.
Thomas's tombstone says he was born in 1730 and died in November, 1816
Margaret's tombstone says she was born in 1741 and died in 1804.
1. York, Neil L., "Pennsylvania Rifle: Revolutionary Weapon in a Conventional War?" Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol 103 (1979).
2. Berg, Fred A., Encyclopedia of Continental Army Units, Stackpole Books, 1972, p. 120.
3. Also see Ketchum, Richard M., The Winter Soldiers, Doubleday, 1973, for a good description of the role of Rawling's riflemen at Fort Washington. Although Thomas DeArmond was not at Fort Washington, Ketchum's book also describes other battles in which Thomas may have participated.
4. Wright, Robert K., The Continental Army, Army Lineage Series, Washington, DC, 1983, p. 319.
5. Wright, p 279.
6. Pay records should be available through the National Archives to indicate more precisely when he was with the 4th Maryland Regiment, and there should be records somewhere to show the activities of Alexander Lawson Smith's Rifle Company. Smith's Pension application could be particularly interesting.
7. Berg, p. 77.
8. Quoted in Graham, James, The Life of General Daniel Morgan, Derby & Jackson, New York, 1859, p. 117.
9. Graham, p. 123.
10. Quoted in Graham, p. 123.
11. Quoted in Graham, p. 127.
12. Minty, Max M., The Generals of Saratoga, Yale University Press, 1990.
13. Callahan, North, Daniel Morgan: Ranger of the Revolution, Holt Rinehart Winston, 1961, pp. 127-129.
14. Callahan, p. 154.
15. LaCrosse, Richard B. Jr., The Frontier Riflemen, Pioneer Press, 1989, p. 43.
16. LaCrosse, p. 43.
17. Smith, Page, A New Age Now Begins: A People's History of the American Revolution (Vol. 2), Penguin Books, pp. 1163-1177.
18. Allan W. Eckert, The Wilderness War, Bantam Books, pp. 322-507.
19. Eckert, pp. 371-2.
20. d'Armand, Roscoe Carlisle, DeArmond Families of America and Related Families, Family Record Society, Knoxville, Tennessee, 1954. pp. 260-261.
21. Bell, History of Northumberland County, Pa., pp. 759-761
Also see DeArmond Surname Resource Center
DeArmond families in Butler County OH
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