Smith and Young Families of northern Rhode Island



The Men of Capt. Stephen Olney's Light Infantry
Company, 2nd R.I. Regiment, 1781

(Rhode Island Regiment, consolidated)


by Daniel M. Popek








The research on this page resulted from my personal interest in Capt. Stephen Olney's Company of the
Second Rhode Island Regiment of the American Revolutionary War. While researching my family's
genealogy, I discovered that my great-great-great-great-great grandfather served in the Second
Rhode Island Regiment during the Revolutionary War. Upon further research, I learned about the
battles that the Second Rhode Island participated in and the important role that Capt. Olney's Co.
performed on the night of October 14, 1781 during the siege of Yorktown. I visited the Yorktown
Battlefield in the late Fall of 2004 and was disappointed by historically inaccurate information
on a National Park Service interpretive sign for the attack on British Redoubt No. 10. Although I
am sure the N.P.S. had good intentions, the study of history and genealogy requires accurate and
documented sources and good analysis of the available sources.

This web page attempts to give a portrait of the lives of the 40 plus men who participated in Lafayette's
Virginia Campaign after July 1781 and the subsequent Siege of Yorktown in October 1781 as members of
Capt. Stephen Olney's Light Infantry Company. In the Fall of 1780, the Light Infantry Company of the Second
Rhode Island Regiment under the command of Capt. Coggeshall Olney was chosen to train on detached command
with the new corps of Light Infantry led by Major General Marquis de Lafayette in New York and New Jersey.
The First Rhode Island Regiment, or the "Black Regiment," a unit composed of black ex-slaves, black
freemen, and Native Americans from Rhode Island, was stationed at Newport and North Kingstown, Rhode Island
through all of 1780. In February 1781, the First and Second Rhode Island Regiments consolidated to form the
"Rhode Island Regiment." At the time of the consolidation, half of the officers of the two old Rhode Island Regiments
were forced to retire, including Col. Israel Angell of the Second Rhode Island who assisted Col. Christopher Greene
in the transition of command. In the new officer arrangement of 1781, Col. Greene was given command of the
Rhode Island Regiment while Capt. Stephen Olney was given command of the Light Infantry Company of the old Second
Rhode Island Regiment since Capt. Coggeshall Olney was on furlough in Rhode Island. During the week of
February 14 to 21, 1781, Capt. Stephen Olney was ordered to take the Light Infantry Company of the new Rhode Island
Regiment on detached command to the reformed Light Infantry Brigade led by General Lafayette. Lafayette's
Brigade with Capt. Olney’s Company marched south to Virginia in March 1781 to counter British forces operating in
that state. In the Spring and Summer of 1781, General Lafayette skillfully maneuvered his reenforced division
through Virginia and clashed with British General Cornwallis' forces at the Battle of Green Spring, Virginia on
July 6, 1781. Lafayette shadowed Cornwallis' Army and later used his Light Infantry division to blockade Cornwallis'
force down the York peninsula. By late September 1781, Washington's Allied Army had marched to the York peninsula to
begin the siege of Cornwallis' Army at Yorktown.

By using a combination of memoirs, a few muster rolls, and Revolutionary War pension files, I believe I can
provide conclusive evidence that the majority of men of Capt. Stephen Olney's Light Infantry Company did not
come from the "Black Regiment," as the N.P.S.-Yorktown Unit and "New England historical artist" David R. Wagner
(http://www.davidrwagner.com/revolutionaryrouteseries.htm) mistakenly maintain. Unfortunately, since most of the
published literature on the "Black Regiment" and the integrated Rhode Island Regiment is quite flawed, many
modern historians have made some rather serious blunders in their interpretations of both regiments. Proper historical
context has been ignored for Baron von Clossen's quote from his Journal entry of July 1781 where he stated that the
"Rhode Island Regiment" was three quarters colored. As many of these modern "historians" have never bothered to
look at any of the available muster rolls of the Rhode Island Regiment on NARA Microfilm M246 and the excellent
Manuscript Collections at the Rhode Island Historical Society and the Rhode Island State Archives in Providence, R.I.,
I, as a native of Rhode Island who has looked at many of these records, am forced to explain the proper historical context
for Baron von Clossen's quote to these "experts." Capt. Baron von Clossen arrived in Newport, Rhode Island with the French
Fleet of General Rochambeau in July 1780. The remnants of Rhode Island's "Black Regiment" were serving in Newport, R.I. at that
time. The Second Rhode Island Regiment, which had held off an entire Hessian and British division for forty minutes at the
Battle of Springfield, New Jersey almost single-handedly in late June 1780, was serving in General Stark's Brigade with
General Washington's Grand Army. Baron von Clossen and the other French officers (i.e. de Chastellux) never met or reviewed
Col. Israel Angell's Regiment in person, although some of the French officers saw the Light Infantry Company of the
Second Rhode Island Regiment serving with General Lafayette's Light Infantry Division in the Fall of 1780. However, these
French officers would not have recognized Capt. Coggeshall Olney's Company as the American Light Infantry soldiers were
all in the same uniforms, and there was nothing on their uniforms to distinguish their parent regiments (except their coat
buttons). Thus, the only Continental Regiment from Rhode Island that the French officers were familiar with was the
"Black Regiment." In the Summer of 1780, the "Black Regiment" was, in fact, three quarters colored with all white officers,
all white NCOs, and some white replacement recruits as the remainder. Be that as it may, the premier Continental Battalion
from Rhode Island was clearly Colonel Angell's Second Rhode Island Regiment. While the remnants of the "Black Regiment" may
have been precise in their marching and drilling far away from enemy fire, the Second Rhode Island Regiment proved itself on
the field of battle and had already earned itself a reputation in Washington's Grand Army as a crack Continental Line Infantry
Battalion. The Second Rhode Island Regiment was singled out and praised in Washington's General Orders after the Battle of
Springfield. The formation of the integrated Rhode Island Regiment in February 1781 occurred at "Rhode Island Village" in
New York when the remnants of the "Black Regiment" and some new recruits arrived from Rhode Island to join the Second Rhode Island
Regiment already serving in the field. It was, in fact, the "Black Regiment" that was reduced while the Second Rhode Island
Regiment provided the cadre to form the new Rhode Island Regiment. The Returns Book of the Second Rhode Island Regiment in the
Manuscripts Collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society proves this statement. The final return of the Second Rhode Island
Regiment was dated February 2, 1781 with 217 rank and file. The very next entry in the same Returns Book is for the "Rhode Island
Regiment" dated February 9, 1781. A Returns Book also exists for the First Rhode Island Regiment in the R.I.H.S. Manuscripts
Collection but has been traditionally all but ignored by historians. The stories of the real, predominantly white soldiers who
served in Capt. Stephen Olney's Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment are interesting in their own right and
deserve to be told.




Transcription by Daniel M. Popek of Muster Roll of Captain Stephen Olney’s Company Second
Rhode Island Regiment, January 1781 (with the permission of the Rhode Island Historical Society):


Olney, Captain Stephen (or subordinate). Muster Roll of Captain Stephen Olney’s Company Second
Rhode Island Regiment, January 1781, Revolutionary War Records, MSS 673 SG2, Series 1, Subseries B, B7, F43,
Rhode Island Historical Society.



(note: any errors in the following transcription are the fault of Daniel M. Popek, and not the R.I.H.S.):




“Muster Roll of Captain Stephen Olney’s Company in ye 2nd Rhode Island Regiment commanded by Col. Israel Angell
for Jany 1781



Commissioned Stephen Olney   Capt.   Jan 1, 1777
                        Jo. Wheaton   Lieutenant   August 30, 1779


[Muster Roll - originally in two columns]


Sergeants
Olney Waterman     war
William West     war
John Chilson     war

Corporals
Joseph Angel     war     on Fatigue
John Gould     war     on Extry Duty

Drummer
Samuel Drown     on command

Fifer
[Blank]

Privates
Samuel Arexson     war     on Extry Duty
Michal Antony     war
William Barns     on command S & Miners [Sappers and Miners]
Mathew Bryant     war
Edward Champlin     war     on fatigue
John Chilson     war     promtd 1 Jany
Rufus Chapman     war     absent by Leave
Dannil Collins     war
Michal Diharty     war
Emanuel Furness     war     on Guard
Jon.a Godfry     war
Benjn Jackson     war
Southcut Langworthy     war     on guard
Charles McAfferty     war
John Pottor     war     sick absent
Jesse Peirce     war
John Roggers     war     water [waiter] Col. Lawrence
John Ralph     war
William Stafford     war
Randal Smith     war     Exeln Guard [Excellency’s (General Washington’s Personal) Guard]
Thomas Sweetser     war     ND B.F.M. [Brigade Forage Master]
Samuel Smith     war     on furlough
John Taylor     war


February (4th or 7th), 1781 then mustered Captain Stephen Olney’s Company as is specified in the above roll.

W Scott   S Inspector



[Back side]
Proof of Effectives
1 Capt. 1 Lt. 3 Sgts. 2 Corpl. 1 Drummer 22 Privates



Sworn before me this 14th day of February 1781
C. Greene   Col   Comd [Col. Christopher Greene, R.I.R. Commander] "




[Thanks to the Rhode Island Historical Society for permission to transcribe the above manuscript document.]




Eight men in the above muster roll would serve in the Light Infantry Company of the newly formed
Rhode Island Regiment in 1781. Compare the above muster roll to the various rolls that follow on this web page.








Two muster rolls of the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment exist from 1781. The first is dated
February 1, 1781 and is reproduced in Benjamin Cowell’s classic work, “Spirit of ‘76 in Rhode Island” on
pages 217 - 218. On pages 217 to 223 of Cowell, the entire compliment of enlisted men of the Rhode Island Regiment
is listed. This reproduction by Cowell is a copy of the Manuscript Document "List of the NCOs and Privates in the
Rhode Island Regiment ye 1st of February 1781 with those who joined after that Period...." in the Returns Book of the
Second Rhode Island Regiment/Rhode Island Regiment in the R.I.H.S. Manuscript Collections. The Rhode Island Regiment
at this time consisted of the standard 8 Line Companies and 1 Light Infantry Company of a Continental Infantry Regiment.
With the consolidation of the First and Second Rhode Island Regiments and the addition of several (mostly white) recruits,
the Rhode Island Continental Regiment was near full strength for the first time in several years. After a careful review
of the muster rolls, I have found that the African-American soldiers of the First Rhode Island Regiment comprised about 30%
of the total troop strength of the Rhode Island Regiment. While this percentage is a significant number, it is definitely
not a majority. There are several "historians" today, including some of the staff of the National Park Service-Yorktown
Battlefield Unit, that continue to perpetuate historical fiction concerning the role (and numbers) of the black soldiers
in the integrated Rhode Island Regiment.





February 1, 1781 Muster Roll of the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment
(From Benjamin Cowell, “Spirit of ‘76 in Rhode Island: or Sketches of the Efforts of the Government and
People in the War of the Revolution.” Boston: A. J. Wright (Printer), 1850, pp. 217 - 218)

(Capt. Stephen Olney)
(Lt. Benjamin Peckham)
(Lt. Joseph Wheaton)


Sergt. Joseph Brown
Sergt. Benjn. Bickford
Sergt. Edward Buttrick
Sergt. Hosea Crandall
Sergt. John Chillson
Corpl. Wm. Briggs
Corpl. John Billington
Corpl. Nathan Closson
Corpl. Amos Thurber
Corpl. Lewis Besayde
Corpl. Joseph A. Richards
Drummer Thos. Stafford
Fifer Nathan West
Pvt. Benjamin Bennet
Pvt. Peter Barrows
Pvt. Benja. Blanchard
Pvt. Jotham Bemus
Pvt. William Billings
Pvt. William Bennet
Pvt. Edward Champlin
Pvt. Joseph Congdon
Pvt. John Chadwick
Pvt. Fairmin Dye
Pvt. Thomas Dexter
Pvt. Daniel Ellis
Pvt. David Edwards
Pvt. Joshua Fowler
Pvt. Saml. Geer
Pvt. Richard Grant
Pvt. Nichs. Hart
Pvt. Pain Hines
Pvt. Sampson Hazard
Pvt. Mathew Hart
Pvt. Benja. Jackson
Pvt. Uriah Jones
Pvt. Southcot Langworthy
Pvt. Clark Little
Pvt. Charles McAfferty
Pvt. James Ogg
Pvt. Jesse Pearce
Pvt. James Pollard
Pvt. Samuel Preston
Pvt. John Randall
Pvt. John Rhodes
Pvt. Abram Rose
Pvt. Joshua Smith
Pvt. Durfey Springer
Pvt. John Saunders
Pvt. Daniel Sweet
Pvt. Zebulon Scriven
Pvt. John Strange
Pvt. John Taylor
Pvt. Franklin Tennant
Pvt. Samuel Thompson
Pvt. John Thomas
Pvt. Cato Varnum
Pvt. Sylvester Woodman
Pvt. John Wilbour



Totals: 58 Enlisted Men, 3 Officers = 61 Men


Of these men, three are documented from the First Rhode Island Regiment (“Black Regiment”): Drummer Thomas Stafford,
Pvt. Sampson Hazzard, and Pvt. Cato Varnum. Privates Hazzard and Varnum are documented African Americans.










The April 1781 Mutiny in the Rhode Island Light Infantry Company


On February 16, 1781, General Orders were issued from Washington’s Headquarters to all of the northern regiments in
the New York area to assemble their respective Light Infantry companies at Peekskill, New York: “The Light companies
are immediately to be augmented to fifty rank and file each with an additional serjeant and are to rendezvous the
19th. at Peekskill prepared for a march. They are to be completed in shoes. The former directions concerning
the greatest care in the choice of the men are repeated; the Adjutant General will inspect the companies when
formed and exchange all the men who have been indifferently chosen.” (source: John U. Rees, “ 'Their presence
Here ... Has Saved this State ...' Continental Provisional Battalions with Lafayette in Virginia, 1781,” 2006
(in prep.); see George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress Website for the General Orders:
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mgw:@field(DOCID+@lit(gw210254)) )
With a total of 58 enlisted men and 3 officers, the Rhode Island Regiment’s Light Company had to be reduced
by 7 men to meet the specified 51 total enlisted men required by the General Orders. Note also that five total
sergeants were required for each Light company. By comparing the February 1, 1781 muster roll of the Rhode Island Light
Infantry Company with the “muster roll” (pay roll) from July 31, 1781 listed below, I have come up with a list of
the men who were either left behind at Rhode Island Village in New York in the middle of February 1781 or possibly
participated in the April 1781 mutiny in Maryland and were dismissed from Lafayette’s Command. Some of these men
may also have gotten sick or deserted before April 1781. The following is a list of the men from the February 1, 1781
Rhode Island Regiment Light Infantry Muster Roll who are missing from the July 31, 1781 pay roll with pension
and other relevant information:



Cpl. William Briggs S21089 or W20793
“Deserted, April 10, 1781”: p. 54, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Cpl. John Billington
“Deserted, April 10, 1781”: p. 54, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Cpl. Amos Thurber R10581 (rejected pension)
A veteran soldier since 1777, Amos in his pension application states that he marched south with Gimat’s Battalion until
“April 8, 1781”.
“Deserted, April 10, 1781”: p. 77, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Cpl. Lewis Besayde
Lewis was serving as a Sergeant in the Fifth Company (Capt. William Humphrey) of the Rhode Island Regiment
on September 7, 1781. He served with this company at Yorktown. (see National Archives Microfilm Rolls -
Rhode Island Regiment M246 Roll 87)
“Promoted, June 1, 1781”: p. 54, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Cpl. Joseph A. Richards
Wounded at the Battle of Springfield, N.J. in June 1780, Joseph was serving as a Corporal in the Fourth Company
(Capt. John Holden) of the Rhode Island Regiment on September 7, 1781. He served with this company at Yorktown
(see National Archives Microfilm Rolls - Rhode Island Regiment M246 Roll 87).

Pvt. William Billings
Probably became sick and returned to New York.
“Died, December 27, 1781”: p. 54, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. Thomas Dexter S37888
A veteran soldier since June 1779, Thomas served at the Battle of Yorktown, probably with the Light Company.
“Discharged, June 24, 1782 - Time Expired”: p. 59, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. Daniel Ellis
“Deserted, April 13, 1781”: p. 60, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. Joshua Fowler
Probably “Pvt. Joshua Faleine” who “Deserted, April 13, 1781”: p. 61, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment
(Microfilm), Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. Richard Grant BLW 3165-100 Issued January 15, 1800
“Deserted, April 13, 1781; Rejoined April 2, 1782; Discharged June 28, 1783 (On Pension)”: p. 62,
Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. Pain Hines
Pain was listed on a shoe receipt roll for the Rhode Island Regiment dated February 17, 1781 (National Archives
Microfilm M246 Roll 88).
“Deserted, March 22, 1781”: p. 64, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. Nicholas Hart BLW 443-100, S39651
Nicholas states in his pension application that he served at Yorktown, probably with the Light Company. He is listed
on the January 1782 Muster Roll of the Rhode Island Regiment Light Infantry Company.

Pvt. Clark Little
“Deserted, April 10, 1781”: p. 67, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. Jesse Pearce (Pierce) BLW 3406-100 Issued August 3, 1795
Jesse was a Corporal in the Rhode Island Light Infantry Company in January 1782 (Muster Roll).
“Promoted, April 10, 1781”: p. 71, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. Samuel Preston
“Deserted, April 13, 1781”: p. 71, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. Daniel Sweet W25183
“Deserted, March 22, 1781”: p. 74, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. John Taylor W22374?
“Deserted, March 3, 1781”: p. 77, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (Microfilm), Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.


Pvt. John Wilbour W14165
John was from Little Compton, R.I. and enlisted January 10, 1781 in the Rhode Island Regiment. He marched
to the Regiment at Rhode Island Village and joined the Light Infantry Company. He states in his pension file
that he marched to Virginia with Col. Gimat’s “Regiment.”

Pvt. Thomas Stafford BLW 3583-100-24, S42408
See description below for Thomas, a veteran drummer from the “Black Regiment” of 1778.

Pvt. Sampson Hazzard (Hazard) BLW 3236-100
See description below for Sampson, a veteran African American soldier of the “Black Regiment” of 1778.

Pvt. Cato Varnum
See description below for Cato, a veteran African American soldier of the “Black Regiment” of 1778.


Total Men missing from July 31, 1781 “Muster Roll” = 21 men




After joining Lt. Col. Gimat’s Light Infantry Battalion at Peekskill, Capt. Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company
of the Rhode Island Regiment marched with Lafayette's Detachment to the Philadelphia area. Lafayette's Light Infantry
Brigade, which also included Lt. Col. Francis Barber's and Col. Joseph Vose's Battalions, next sailed down the
Delaware River to Christiana Creek, debarked, and marched overland to Head of Elk (Elkton), Maryland. A few miles
south of Head of Elk at Plum Point and Cecil Ferry, Lafayette's Detachment boarded vessels and sailed down the
Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis, Maryland. When the French Fleet in the Chesapeake Bay were driven off by a British
Fleet, the British Navy had temporary control of the Bay, thus putting all American Forces in Maryland in a potentially
dangerous situation. General Lafayette eventually retreated back up the Chesapeake to Head of Elk, Maryland by
April 8, 1781. About this time, Lafayette received orders from General Washington to take his Light Infantry Brigade
south and support General Nathanael Greene’s command in the Carolinas. With the upcoming countermarch to the South,
several of the Rhode Islanders were not pleased to be so far from New England. Major General Lafayette in a letter to
General Washington from the Susquehannah Ferry (near Perryville, Maryland) dated April 14, 1781 writes, ".....While I
was writing these accounts have been brought to me, that, a great desertion had taken place last night: nine of
the Rhode Island company, and the best men they had, who have made many campaigns, and never were suspected, these
men say they like better a hundred lashes than a journey to the south-ward. As long as they had an expedition in
view they were very well satisfied, but the idea of remaining in the southern states appear to them intolerable, and
they are amazingly averse to the people and climate. I shall do my best, but if this disposition lasts I am afraid we
will be reduced lower than I dare express....." (Memoirs, Correspondence and Manuscripts of General Lafayette, published
by his Family, 1837, available on website:
http://www.fullbooks.com/Memoirs-Correspondence-and-Manuscripts-of1.html ; see the original letter at the Library of Congress’
“Papers of George Washington” website). The nine men who mutinied and deserted from the Rhode Island Company must
have been dismissed from Lafayette’s command, as none of them except for Richard Grant have any more records
in the Rhode Island Regiment. The Book of Returns of the Second Rhode Island Regiment/Rhode Island Regiment also details
the numbers and deserters of the Light Infantry Company:

February 26, 1781 Return - 51 men (rank and file) "on command" with Light Infantry Company

March 30, 1781 Return - 50 men with Light Infantry Company

April 11, 1781 Return - 46 men with Light Infantry Company (NB: John Taylor, Daniel Sweet, Pain Hines, Charles Westcot deserted)

May 3, 1781 Return - 38 men with Light Infantry Company (NB: William Briggs, John Billington, Amos Thurber, Clark Little,
Daniel Ellis, "Joshua Furlen," Richard Grant, and Samuel Preston deserted from the Infantry)

The Light Infantry Company would return 38 men until July 19, 1781, when another man joined (probably travelled with
Capt. Stephen Olney as he returned to the Company from furlough in R.I.). The Returns Book documented 39 men in the Light
Infantry Company until December 6, 1781.










A miscellaneous roll of the Rhode Island Regiment found on National Archives Roll M246 Roll 88 also details the enlisted
strength of the regiment on May 27, 1781, almost two weeks after the May 14, 1781 raid by Delancey’s Loyalist Battalion
which took the lives of Col. Christopher Greene and Major Ebenezer Flagg and some privates of the regiment.
The “Present State of Arms, Ammunition, and Accoutrements in the Rhode Island Regiment, commanded by Lt. Col. Olney”
lists the weapons and ammunition of the regiment by each company. The Light Infantry Company’s weapons are not listed,
but personnel strength is: 5 Sergeants, 2 Musicians, 38 Rank and File for a total of 45 with the addition of two
officers: Lt. Benjamin Peckham and Lt. Joseph Wheaton (Capt. Stephen Olney was on Furlough in Rhode Island from March
until late July 1781). With a total strength of 47 men, the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment was a
few men short of the desired 51 men, but the makeup of the Company had changed somewhat from the Spring of 1781 after the
desertions.





A "muster roll" (pay roll) also exists for Capt. Stephen Olney's Company dated July 31, 1781 from the
encampment at Malvern Hill along the James River in Virginia. This "muster roll" exists in the Revolutionary War
papers of the Manuscript Division of the Library of the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence, R.I.
Catherine Williams reproduced this list on pages 288 - 289 of her work "Biography of Revolutionary Heroes
containing the Life of Brig. Gen. William Barton and also, of Captain Stephen Olney," Providence, 1839.
As my personal transcription below of the original pay roll shows, Williams did not do a great transcription.
A footnote in Williams' work details how the "muster roll" was made: "They (i.e. the men on the muster roll) are
signed to a receipt for payment of depreciation of their wages a 1/4 part of which they acknowledge to have
received on the 31st of July 1781, 3 mos. before the siege of Yorktown, and it appears by this receipt that the
depreciation in 3 years and 7 months was, to a private soldier, 58 pounds sterling. A 1/4 only was received at
this time." Capt. Stephen Olney was on furlough in Rhode Island for a few months and returned to
his company in Virginia in July 1781. According to Lt. Ebenezer Wild's Journal entry for July 28, 1781,
"Captain Oney [sic; phonetic spelling] arrived from Head Quarters in the evening."; Ebenezer Wild was an
officer in a Massachusetts Light Infantry Company in Col. Vose’s Regiment of Lafayette's Division. A
reasonable conclusion that can be made is that Capt. Olney returned from furlough in Rhode Island and
went to Washington's Headquarters in New York before reporting back to Lafayette's command. In addition
to correspondence from Washington's HQ, Capt. Olney probably carried pay from the State of Rhode Island
for his men in Virginia.


Transcription by Daniel M. Popek of Pay Roll of Captain Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company
at Malbern [Malvern] Hill, July 31, 1781 (with the permission of the Rhode Island Historical Society):


Olney, Captain Stephen. Pay Roll of Captain Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company at Malbern Hill,
July 31, 1781, Revolutionary War Papers, MSS 673 SG2, Series 1, Subseries A, B7, F16, Rhode Island Historical Society.


(note: any errors in the following transcription are the fault of Daniel M. Popek, and not the R.I.H.S.):


“Record of Stephen Olney Philadelphia March 18, 1782. A receipt against the Light Infantry Company for one
months pay to each man acquired by them at the Head of Elk [Maryland] March 4, 1781 amounting to five hundred
and fourteen dollars   attested by B Peckham Lieut.   C. Burlingame Lt. P.M. [Pay Master] RIR”




“Camp Malbern’s Hill [Malvern’s Hill, Virginia]   July 31, 1781

We the subscribers have recd of Capt. Stephen Olney the One Quarter Part of the Depreciation of our
Wages in the Continental Army from 1st of January 1777 to the first Day of August 1780 being the sums annexed
to our names.



[Names - originally in two columns]


Signed   B Peckham   Lt.   28 Pds. 19 S. 9 3/4 D.
Signed   w. Jo. T. Brown   Sgt.   20 Pds. 3 S. 1 1/4 D.
Signed   w. Edwd. Butterick   Sgt.   20 Pds. 15 S. 4 D.
Signed   Hosea Crandal   Sgt.   16 Pds. 9 S. 2 1/2 D.
Signed   Joseph Wheaton   Lt.   16 Pds. 7 S. 6 3/4 D.
Signed   Nathan Clossen   Cpl.   15Pds. 1 S. 19 1/2 D.
Signed   d. Edward Champlain   Pvt.   14 Pds. 17 S. 5 3/4D.
Joseph X Congdon   Pvt.   14 Pds. 6 S. 10 3/4D.
John X Rhodes   Seconnet   Pvt.   14 Pds. 3 S. 1 D.
Sylvester X Woodman   Pvt.   14 Pds. 3 S. 3 3/4D.
Soutcot X Langworthy   Pvt.   14 Pds. 11 S. 10 3/4D.
w. Zebulon X Scrivens   Pvt.   14 Pds. 11 S. 9 D.
Samuel X Thompson   Pvt.   14 Pds. 11 S. 5 D.
Abraham X Rose   N. Hampshire   Pvt.   14 Pds. 10 S. 11 1/2 D.
Signed   James Ogg   Pvt.   14 Pds. 2 S. 8 1/2 D.
Signed   James Pollard   Pvt.   14 Pds. 6 S. 5 D.
Signed   John Saunders   Pvt.   14 Pds. 4 S. 1/2 D.
Signed   John Thomas   Pvt.   15 Pds. 2 S. 9 D.
Signed   Jotham Bemis   Pvt.   14 Pds. 4 S. 6 1/2 D.
Signed   John Chadwick   Pvt.   14 Pds. 10 S. 7 3/4 D.
Farmin X Dye   Pvt.   14 Pds. 11 S. 6 D.
Durfey X Springer   Pvt.   14 Pds. 11 S. 6 1/2 D.
w. John X Randall   Pvt.   14 Pds. 11 S. 3 1/2 D.
Signed   w. Peter Barrows   Pvt.   14 Pds. 3 S. 9 D.
Franklin X Tennant   Pvt.   14 Pds. 12 S. 43 D.
Uriah X Jones   Pvt.   14 Pds. 10 S. 6 1/2 D.
John X Strange   Pvt.   16 Pds.
Signed   Joshua Smith   Pvt.   13 Pds. 15 S. 5 D.
Benjamin X Blanchard   Pvt.   14 Pds. 2 S. 33 D.
Signed   John Chilson   Sgt.   16 Pds. 9 S. 2 1/2 D.
Signed   William Bennet   Pvt.   14 Pds. 11 S. 63 D.
Signed   Nathan West   Fifer   16 Pds. 1 S. 3/4 D.
Signed   David Edwards   Pvt.   14 Pds. 7 S. 10 1/2 D.
Signed   Benj Bickford   Sgt.   19 Pds. 15 S. 4 1/4 D.
Charles X McAfferty   Pvt.   14 Pds. 11 S. 9 D.
Benja X Jackson   Pvt.   14 Pds. 13 1/4 S.
Signed   Benja Bennet   Pvt.   14 Pds. 8 S. 3 D.
Matthew X Hart   Pvt.   14 Pds. 4 S. 11 D.
Signed   Samuel Gear   Pvt.   14 Pds. 10 S. 9 1/4 D.



NB Those names that have w. set against them were wounded at Yorktown 14th October 1781


Attest to the Above   B. Peckham Lt. "



[Thanks to the Rhode Island Historical Society for permission to transcribe the above manuscript document.]



Total July 1781 Company Strength = 40 officers and men







I believe that all of these men listed from July 31, 1781, except for Lt. Benjamin Peckham, participated in the
American Light Infantry Division assault on British Redoubt No. 10 on the night of October 14, 1781 at the Siege
of Yorktown. The following sources provide good evidence for this conclusion, and I hope, will bring an end to the
mistaken historical interpretations that several members of the "Black Regiment" were at the Light Infantry assault.
The CORRECT and historically accurate fact is that most of the soldiers of the former "Black Regiment" were
with the consolidated "Rhode Island Regiment," which was a part of the New Jersey Brigade, a unit which did
not participate in the October 14 assault. As some of the men of Capt. Stephen Olney's Company were seriously
wounded in the attack on Redoubt No. 10, I believe that these men should be given proper credit for their service
to our country.







Capt. Stephen Olney wrote one of the best accounts of the Light Infantry attack on October 14, 1781.
His account is reproduced in Catherine Williams' work, pages 275 - 278 (BOLD ALL CAPS are mine for emphasis):


"After forming our parallel within cannon shot, it was thought necessary to get possession of two of
the enemy's redoubts, which projected from their main works, and were situated where it was thought
proper to erect our second parallel, in order to level the way, cut off palisades, and beat down other
obstructions. Our artillery were briskly served the 13th of October; on the 14th the Marquis had orders
to storm the redoubt on our right, commanded by a British Major, while the French troops attacked that
on our left, which was of greater force, and in their front. Our regiment of light infantry, commanded
by Colonel Gimatt, a bold Frenchman, was selected for the assault, and was paraded just after daylight,
in front of our works. General Washington made a short address or harangue, admonishing us to act the
part of firm and brave soldiers, showing the necessity of accomplishing the object, as the attack on both
redoubts depended on our success. I thought then, that his Excellency's knees rather shook, but I have
since doubted whether it was not mine.

The column marched in silence, with guns unloaded, and in good order. Many, no doubt, thinking, that less
than one quarter of a mile would finish the journey of life with them. On the march, I had a chance to
whisper to several of my men (whom I doubted,) and told them that I had full confidence that they would act
the part of brave soldiers, let what would come; and if their guns should be shot away, not to retreat, but
take the first man's gun that might be killed. When we had got about half way to the redoubt we were ordered
to halt, and detach one man from each company for the forlorn hope. My men all seemed ready to go. The column
then moved on; six or eight pioneers in front, as many of the forlorn hope next, then Colonel Gimatt with five
or six volunteers by his side, then my platoon, being the front of the column. When we came near the front of
the abatis, the enemy fired a full body of musketry. At this, our men broke silence and huzzaed; and as the
order for silence seemed broken by every one, I huzzaed with all my power, saying, "see how frightened they are,
they fire right into the air". The pioneers began to cut off the abatis, which were the trunks of trees with the
trunk part fixed in the ground, the limbs made sharp, and pointed towards us. This seemed tedious work, in the
dark, within three rods of the enemy; and I ran to the right to look a place to crawl through, but returned in a
hurry, without success, fearing the men would get through first; as it happened, I made out to get through first,
and entered the ditch; and when I found my men to the number of ten or twelve had arrived, I stepped through
between two palisades, (one having been shot off to make room,) on to the parapet, and called out in a tone as if
there was no danger, "CAPTAIN OLNEY'S COMPANY, FORM HERE!". On this I had not less than six or eight bayonets
pushed at me; I parried as well as I could with my espontoon, but they broke off the blade part, and their
bayonets slid along the handle of my espontoon and scaled my fingers; one bayonet pierced my thigh, another
stabbed me in the abdomen just above the hip-bone. One fellow fired at me, and I thought the ball took effect
in my arm; by the light of his gun I made a thrust with the remains of my espontoon, in order to injure the
sight of his eyes; but as it happened, I only made a hard stroke in his forehead. At this instant two of my men,
JOHN STRANGE and BENJAMIN BENNETT, who had loaded their guns while they were in the ditch, came up and fired upon
the enemy, who part ran away and some surrendered; so that we entered the redoubt without further opposition.

My sergeant, EDWARD BUTTERICK, to whom I was much indebted for his bravery, helped me nearly all this affray;
and received a prick of the enemy's bayonet, in his stomach. SERGEANT BROWN was also in time, but attempting
to load his gun, received a bayonet wound in his hand. Colonel Gimatt was wounded with a musket ball in the foot,
about the first fire of the enemy; and I suppose it took all the volunteers to carry him off, as I never saw any
of them afterwards. When most of the regiment had got into the redoubt, I directed them to form in order.
Major Willis's post being in the rear; I supposed he got in about the time I was carried away with the wounded.

My company, which consisted of about FORTY, suffered the most, (least, probably) as they had only five or six
wounded, all slightly, except PETER BARROWS, who had a ball pass through the under jaw; I believe we had none
killed.

The French suffered much more than we did. I was informed they had eighteen killed, and was half an hour before
they took the redoubt, waiting with the column exposed, until the pioneers completely cleared away the obstructions.
We made out to crawl through, or get over, and from the enemy's first fire, until we got possession of the redoubt,
I think did not exceed ten minutes.

When my wounds came to be examined, next day, that on my left arm, which gave me most pain when inflicted, was
turned black all round, three or four inches in length; neither skin nor coat broken. The stab in my thigh, was
slight, that in front, near my hip, was judged to be mortal, by the surgeons, as a little part of the caul protruded.
I was carried to the hospital at Williamsburgh, twelve miles, and in about three weeks my wounds healed, and I joined
the regiment...."




Transcription by Daniel M. Popek of Captain Stephen Olney’s Memoirs from a previous transcription
done by Sanford Smith in 1889 (with the permission of the Rhode Island Historical Society):


Olney, Captain Stephen. Captain Stephen Olney’s Memoirs, from a transcription by Sanford Smith, 1889,
Sanford Smith Papers, MSS 9001-S, B9, Rhode Island Historical Society.


(note: any errors in the following transcription are the fault of Daniel M. Popek, and not the R.I.H.S.):


pp. 54 - 55: “The man who fired on me was brought to the Hospital. I examined the wound I had inflicted with
the handle of the espontoon. It did not affect the sight of his eyes, but only made a furrow in his forehead. I asked him
how it happened they continued to fight at the place entered, when most of them on the right had run off.
(this I discovered by the light of his fire) he said he thought they were all at their post - I believe they were
half drunk, in this condition the British soldiers generally fight, we had not been in the redoubt more than
5 minutes, when my waiter, CHARLES McAFFERTY, an Irishman, and pretended Freeman,
got a bottle of wine and invited me to drink..........”


p. 55: “That part of the British troops who ran out of the Redoubt first, must have discovered a party of ours
on their Right. I presumed that led by Col. ______ [Laurens] what became of them I did not know (as)? I discovered
none but our party when I formed the Regiment. A few days after I inquired of a Soldier who said he belonged
to the forlorn hope of that party [i.e. Col. Laurens Detachment], how it happened they did not get into the Redoubt.
he said the Enemy pricked them off the parapet with their bayonets........”


p. 56: “I had but 4 men [i.e. Pvt. John Strange, Pvt. Benjamin Bennett, Sgt. Edward Butterick, Sgt. Joseph T. Brown]
to help before the remaining Enemy about 15 or 20 in number give up the redoubt my two men who fired their guns
[i.e. Pvt. John Strange and Pvt. Benjamin Bennett] brought them to this conclusion. I presume the balls had no effect.
But such is the terror of noise in firing Gunpowder...........”


p. 60: Capt. Olney states in his memoirs that the Regimental Adjutant (Gimat’s Battalion of Light Infantry) was
a Lieutenant in Capt. Hunt’s Company who left out Capt. Olney’s prominent role and wounds received in the
attack on Redoubt 10 while writing the official report of the attack for the General Orders (possibly for political reasons).
Capt. Stephen Olney continues: “Col. Gematt told me the Marquis [de Lafayette] was sorry for the mistake and
directed him to inform me, he would issue any orders I might think proper to give satisfaction. I could only
say, ‘Let it go, the day is past.’ In the Army there are some who make it their business to pull down the characters
of others as much easier than to build up their own. From this time I made up my mind not to fight any more battles,
but leave it to those who are inclined to a Military Profession.”




[Thanks to the Rhode Island Historical Society for permission to transcribe the above manuscript account.]





Capt. Stephen Olney named six of his men in his account, and I will leave it to the reader to match these
names to those on the July 31, 1781 "muster roll."




The strength of the Light Company of the Rhode Island Regiment is also reported on an Enlistments Expiration return
of the NCOs and Privates of the Rhode Island Regiment, dated October 17, 1781 at the Camp before York [Yorktown, VA]
(National Archives Microfilm M246 Roll 87). For the Light Company, 3 men had enlistments expiring from
October 1781 to July 1782, while the remaining 43 men were enlisted for during the war. Of these during the war men,
33 were “present,” 7 were “sick absent,” and 3 were “on extra service.” Total company strength was 46 enlisted men
plus 2 officers, or 48 men.








Likely October 1781 Members of Capt. Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company
(Based on the cumalative evidence presented on this web page)





Capt. Stephen Olney (WIA, October 14, 1781)
Lt. Joseph Wheaton



Sgt. Joseph T. Brown (WIA, October 14, 1781)
Sgt. Benjamin Bickford
Sgt. Edward Butterick (WIA, October 14, 1781)
Sgt. John Chillson
Sgt. Hosea Crandall
Cpl. Jotham Bemus (Promoted September 1, 1781, R.I.R. Regimental Book, p. 54)
Cpl. Nathan Clossen (Transferred to Armand’s Corps, November 1, 1781, R.I.R. Regimental Book, p. 57)
Cpl. Jesse Peirce (Promoted April 10, 1781, R.I.R. Regimental Book, p. 71)
Drummer Thomas Stafford (Probably “on Extra Service”)
Fifer Nathan West


Pvt. Peter Barrows (WIA, October 14, 1781)
Pvt. Benjamin Bennett
Pvt. William Bennett
Pvt. William Billings (Possibly rejoined the Light Company about September 1781; he likely got sick
after October 1781, and William died on December 27, 1781, R.I.R. Regimental Book, p. 54)

Pvt. Benjamin Blanchard
Pvt. John Chadwick
Pvt. Edward Champlin (Possibly wounded in October 14, 1781 Light Infantry attack or was sick;
Edward died on January 24, 1782, R.I.R. Regimental Book, p. 57)

Pvt. Isaac Coggeshall (Enlisted 3 years)
Pvt. Joseph Congdon
Pvt. Thomas Dexter (Enlisted 3 years)
Pvt. Fairman Dye
Pvt. David Edwards
Pvt. Samuel Geer (Possibly wounded during Yorktown campaign: January 1782 Muster Roll states “Sick in
hospital West Point,” March 1782 Muster Roll states “Wounded Absent by Leave”)

Pvt. Mathew Hart (Died on November 1, 1781, R.I.R. Regimental Book, p. 64)
Pvt. Nicholas Hart
Pvt. Sampson Hazzard (Probably “on Extra Service”)
Pvt. Benjamin Jackson (Died on May 20, 1782, R.I.R. Regimental Book, p. 66)
Pvt. Uriah Jones
Pvt. Southcote Langworthy
Pvt. Charles McAfferty
Pvt. James Ogg
Pvt. James Pollard
Pvt. John Randall (WIA, October 14, 1781)
Pvt. John Rhodes
Pvt. Abraham Rose
Pvt. John Saunders
Pvt. Zebulon Scrivens (WIA, October 14, 1781)
Pvt. Joshua Smith (Probably WIA, October 14, 1781, Pension File S42336)
Pvt. Durfey Springer
Pvt. John Strange
Pvt. Franklin Tennant (Transferred to Armand’s Corps, November 1, 1781, R.I.R. Regimental Book, p. 77)
Pvt. John Thomas (Died on November 15, 1781, R.I.R. Regimental Book, p. 77)
Pvt. Samuel Thompson
Pvt. Cato Varnum (Probably “on Extra Service”)
Pvt. Sylvester Woodman
Pvt. John Wilbour (Enlisted 3 years)



Totals:   43 Privates and NCOs, 3 Privates “on Extra Service,” 2 Officers








Other evidence concerning these men is available in the form of Revolutionary War Pension Files and
Bounty Land Warrants. Pensions were granted to soldiers who were poor through Acts of Congress
passed in 1818, 1820, 1828, and 1832. Bounty Land Warrants were 100 acre land grants (mostly in
Ohio and New York) awarded to enlisted soldiers or their legal heirs who could prove their service
in the Continental Army. The pension files and bounty land warrants can be viewed on microfilm at
a U.S. National Archives Branch or through Heritage Quest's Online Service.

After a thorough search in "Genealogical Abstracts of Rev. War Pension Files," abstracted by
Virgil D. White, 1992, National Historical Publishing Co., Waynesboro, TN, I came up with a list
of potential candidate pension files and bounty land warrants. I then looked up the original
files, and what follows is a compilation of my research. The reader can check the original
files if so inclined. Note that I did not find pension files for every soldier in Capt. Olney's
Company. Soldiers listed in ALL CAPS were original members of Capt. Stephen Olney's Company,
having enlisted in the first half of 1777. It is interesting to note that of the original 64
officers and men of Capt. Olney's Company of 1777, only 5 men joined the Light Infantry Company
by the Summer of 1781. Most of the original 64 men of 1777 had been transferred to other companies
in the Rhode Island Regiment, a few were killed in battle, some died of sickness, and several deserted.

An additional excellent source of information about the men of Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company is the
military collection of the Rhode Island State Archives in Providence. The Revolutionary War Transcription
File Index at the State Archives is a compilation of information from many state sources about individual
soldiers who served in Rhode Island military units during the war. In addition, a copy of the Regimental
Book (1781 - 1783) of the Rhode Island Regiment exists and is available on microfilm at the State Archives.
For the research on this web page, I have added information from the collections of the Rhode Island
State Archives to soldiers who filed no pension claims and at other places where appropriate.
I would like to thank Ken Carlson of the Rhode Island State Archives for his assistance with the
Revolutionary War military records at the archives.






Lt. Benjamin Peckham, Pension S39005, BLW 1628-300 (officers were awarded 300 acres of land)

Benjamin was born about 1753 and was from North Kingstown, Rhode Island. He states in his service affadavit
that he was at the Battles of Red Bank, Mud Fort (Fort Mifflin), Monmouth, and Yorktown. Benjamin was
commissioned as an Ensign on February 11, 1777. He served with Capt. Thomas Hughes’ Company in 1777 and
through 1778. In March 1779, he was serving as an Ensign in Major Simeon Thayer’s Company (Simeon Thayer
had temporary command of Capt. David Dexter’s Company after Dexter was dismissed from Angell’s Regiment in
early 1779; see “Diary of Israel Angell,” pp. 37 - 38). In April 1779, Benjamin was promoted to Lieutenant.
Benjamin was clearly at the Battle of Green Spring on July 6, 1781, but sometime between July 31, 1781 and
September 7, 1781, he was transferred to the Third Company (Capt. Thomas Hughes) of the Rhode Island Regiment,
as he appears on a Pay Roll for the Third Company dated September 7, 1781 at the Head of Elk, Maryland (National
Archives Microfilm M246 Roll 87). Benjamin continued in the Rhode Island Regiment after 1781 and became a
Company Commander, serving until the end of the War. His death was reported as August 16, 1821 at Wickford, R.I.
in the Providence Gazette (commission dates, company service, and death date from Revolutionary War
Transcription File Index, hereafter “RWTFI,” Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Lt. Joseph Wheaton, Pension S48052, BLW 2286-200-25

Joseph was the son of a British Army Colonel who disowned him when he joined the American cause during
the Revolutionary War. Joseph was born in 1756 in Flatbush, Long Island, New York. He was a participant
in the capture of the Margaretta schooner at Machias Bay in Maine in 1775. Joseph was commissioned as a
Second Lieutenant in Capt. Samuel Dearborn’s Company of Col. Stephen Peabody’s Regiment of
New Hampshire State Troops on January 20, 1778 (National Archives Roll M246-51, Revolutionary Rolls).
This regiment was sent to Rhode Island to participate in New Hampshire General John Sullivan’s campaign
against the British at Newport, Rhode Island during the summer of 1778. Joseph remained with Peabody’s
Regiment until December 30, 1778. He became an officer in the Second Rhode Island Regiment on May 1, 1779
and joined Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company as a Lieutenant on August 30, 1779 (Muster Roll). Joseph served in
Olney’s Company up to the formation of the Rhode Island Regiment, when he was appointed to the Light Infantry
Company. By the end of the war, Joseph had become a Captain in the Rhode Island Regiment. Joseph would serve
after the war as an officer in the regular U.S. Army. He married Sally Fletcher in 1786. Joseph Wheaton
served as the Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1789 to 1807 in Washington, D.C.
Later Joseph became a Colonel in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps during the War of 1812. Joseph died on
November 23, 1828 in Baltimore, Maryland. A U.S. Senate report was filed in 1872 concerning Joseph Wheaton’s
estate. An extract from that report follows: “That the evidence before the committee shows that Lieutenant
Joseph Wheaton served in the Rhode Island line from the commencement to the close of the revolutionary war; that
his father and ten brothers all held commissions as officers in the British service, and that he alone sacrificed
his home and domestic ties for the cause of liberty; that he was disinherited by his father, Colonel Caleb Wheaton,
who commanded a regiment of British pioneers, who, to the day of his death, never forgave his son for what he
considered a disloyalty to the King of Great Britain in joining “the Yankee rebels;” that on the 11th of May, 1775,
and long before war was declared, he joined a band of volunteers, and took an active part in capturing the
Margaretta and two other armed British schooners [at Machias, Maine], which was of great service to us
in after times, and was the first advantage gained over our enemies on the waters. In this service, he received
a severe saber wound on the head, which troubled his mind through life and terminated in his dying in the insane
asylum, in Baltimore, in the year 1828” (U.S. Senate Report 105, 42nd Congress, 2nd Sesssion, a copy of
which is in Pension File S48052; Some biographical information from "Revolutionary Patriots of Baltimore
Town and Baltimore County, Maryland 1775 - 1783," by Henry C. Peden, Jr., Family Line Publications,
Westminster, Maryland, 1988, p. 288).



Sgt. Joseph T. Brown, BLW 2978-100, W20780

Sergeant Brown’s correct full name is Joseph Thomas Brown (RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.). Sgt. Brown was named by Capt. Stephen Olney as having been wounded in the hand
by a bayonet while trying to load his musket during the night attack on October 14, 1781. Joseph Brown enlisted
February 17, 1777 as a Sergeant in Capt. John S. Dexter’s Company, Col. Christopher Greene’s Regiment.
He was reduced to the ranks September 2, 1777 and promoted back to Sergeant on November 1, 1777
(Muster Roll). Joseph served as a Sergeant in Capt. Ebenezer Flagg's Company of Col. Greene’s “Black Regiment”
in 1778. He remained with the same company under the new command of Capt. John Holden through 1779.
In 1780, Joseph served “On Command” with the Light Infantry Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment.
He became a permanent member of the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment at the beginning of
1781. Joseph was born and raised at Stonington, Connecticut. He married Mary Clarke at East Greenwich, R.I.
on June 19, 1785 (Arnold’s Vital Records of R.I., East Greenwich Marriages, p. 14). After the war, Joseph
lived at East Greenwich, R.I. as a mariner, but he was lost at sea in April 1786 (RWTFI, Rhode Island State
Archives, Providence, R.I.; Pension File W20780).



Sgt. Benjamin Bickford BLW 742-100

Benjamin was born in Johnston, Rhode Island. He was residing in Providence, R.I. when he enlisted as a
Sergeant in the Second Rhode Island Regiment on May 15, 1777 (Capt. William Potter’s Co.). At the time of
his enlistment, Benjamin was 5’ 7.5 inches tall with dark hair and a light complexion and worked as a cooper
(p. 4, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.). He served in Capt. William Allen’s Company in 1778 and 1779. In early 1781 Benjamin
served in Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company through the Yorktown Campaign. Benjamin continued with the
Rhode Island Regiment until he was discharged on June 15, 1783 (all information from RWTFI, Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.). Benjamin died by 1819 presumably in Providence, R.I. (See BLW 742-100).



Sgt. Edward Butterick, Pension S44355, BLW 2952

Edward was from the Town of Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts. He enlisted in
Capt. Coggeshall Olney's Co. of Col. Angell's Second Rhode Island Regiment as a Sergeant on January 16, 1777
(Muster Roll). Edward was transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company in the early Spring of 1779 and
served as a Sergeant until April 8, 1780, when he was reduced to the ranks (April 1780 Muster Roll). He
stated in his pension file that he "served in Virginia under Marquis de Lafayette until capture of Cornwallis."
Capt. Stephen Olney reported that Edward was wounded in the stomach by a bayonet during the assault on
Redoubt No. 10. Edward was discharged from the Rhode Island Regiment at Saratoga, New York in June 1783.
He moved to Lowville, Lewis County, New York after the War and had descendants.



Sgt. JOHN CHILSON BLW 1908-100

John Chilson (also spelled Chillson) was born in Smithfield, R.I. He was a cooper working in North Providence, R.I.
when he enlisted in Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment on May 9, 1777. He
served in the North Providence Rangers in early 1777. John was appointed as a Sergeant in Capt. Olney’s Company in
May 1777. He was given a regimental court martial on November 30, 1778 in Warren, Rhode Island after the Battles
of Monmouth and Rhode Island. He was reduced to the ranks as a private after the court martial. He continued to serve
in Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company until the formation of the Rhode Island Regiment. On January 4, 1781, he was promoted
back to Sergeant of the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment (RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archves).
John served through the Virginia campaign, and he served in the Rhode Island Regiment until his discharge at Saratoga,
New York on June 15, 1783. After the war, John returned to North Providence. He married Sarah Newland
in Smithfield, R.I. on October 20, 1787. He moved to Smithfield, R.I. in the 1800’s and died there in 1815 (some
information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Sgt. Hosea Crandall, Pension W27402, BLW 1308-100

Hosea was born about 1755. He enlisted as a sergeant in Capt. Ebenezer Flagg's Co. of the First
Rhode Island Regiment on April 8, 1777 at Tiverton, R.I.. At the time of enlistment, Hosea was 5’ 7.5 inches
tall with dark hair and a light complexion (p. 4, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783),
Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.). During the first consolidation of the two
Rhode Island Regiments in May 1778, Hosea was transferred to Col. Angell’s Regiment. On September 23, 1779,
Hosea was court martialled for being absent without leave for eight hours on September 20, 1779. He was found
guilty, sentenced to 40 lashes but pardoned ("Israel Angell Colonel of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment,"
by Louise Lewis Lovell, Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1921, Appendix 2, Orderly Books, p. 275). Hosea joined
the Light Infantry Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment on October 1, 1779 (Muster Roll). Hosea
served in other companies of the Second Rhode Island in 1780. He was appointed a Sergeant in
Capt. Stephen Olney's Light Infantry Company in January 1781. He stated in his pension application that
he was at the Battles of Red Bank, Germantown, Springfield, N.J., Yorktown. After 1781, he served with
Capt. Macomber’s Company of the Rhode Island Regiment. Sgt. Crandall was court-martialed on May 9, 1782 at
Philadelphia for disobeying orders, but he was acquitted (Jeremiah Greenman Journal, p. 248). Hosea Crandall
served in the Rhode Island Regiment until June 15, 1783, when he was discharged at Saratoga, New York. Hosea
married Sarah Graham in 1783/84 in Hoosick, New York. He eventually moved to Dannsville, Steuben County, New York.
He died December 25, 1828 in Opiau, New York (some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Cpl. Jotham Bemus (Bemis), Pension W8357, BLW 2953-100

Jotham Bemus Jr. was the son of Major Jotham Bemus, who moved to the Stillwater New York area before
1760 from Norwich, Connecticut. Major Bemus served in the New York Militia during the Revolutionary War,
and he was involved in the American campaign at Saratoga against British General Burgoyne’s forces
(“Appendix VII - - Jotham Bemus of Bemus’s Heights,” by Daniel Hazeltine, in “Visits to the Saratoga
battle-fields, 1780 - 1880,” published by J. Munsell’s Sons, Albany, NY, 1895, pp. 316-322). Bemus' Tavern
was located at the southern end of the Saratoga Battlefield, and the Second Battle of Saratoga, or the
Battle of Bemis Heights, was named after the Bemus Tavern. Some of the Bemus buildings were burned by the
British Army during the Battle for Saratoga, and the family was forced to move to Pittstown, New York
(ibid., p. 320). According to the enlistment records of the Rhode Island Regiment, Jotham was born in
Duchess County, New York and was a resident of Stillwater, N.Y. at the time of enlistment. Jotham
served in Col. Van Schaick’s New York Militia Regiment for one year in 1776 (“Appendix VII - - Jotham Bemus
of Bemus’s Heights,” p. 319). It is unclear why Jotham Jr. went to Rhode Island (perhaps he was serving on a
privateer vessel), but he enlisted in Capt. Thomas Arnold’s Company of Col. Christopher Greene’s Regiment on
May 10, 1777 at East Greenwich, R.I. Jotham stood 5’ 9 inches tall and had dark hair and a light complexion (p. 4,
Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.). He first appears in Capt. William Tew's Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment
on a muster roll dated June 2, 1778 before the Battle of Monmouth. In early 1781 he was transferred to
Capt. Stephen Olney's Company, where he was promoted to corporal on September 1, 1781 in Virginia.
After the Yorktown campaign, Jotham served with the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment
as a corporal until discharged on June 15, 1783. Jotham met Asenath Andress in the town of Stillwater,
Saratoga County, New York and married her in September 1785. Later, Jotham and family moved to
Erie County, New York (Buffalo area), where he worked as a farmer. Jotham served in the War of 1812, and
he contracted an illness during the war which led to his death on March 24, 1813 at Hamburgh, New York.
He is buried at Duell’s Corners Cemetery, Orchard Park, New York (some information from RWTFI,
Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).






Duells Corner Cemetery in Orchard Park, New York. Jotham Bemus’ grave is in the far back (middle left) of this photo,
adjacent to the tree line.






The remaining gravestone for Jotham Bemus in the Duells Corner Cemetery.





Cpl. Nathan Clossen, Pension S46374, BLW 2328-100

The correct name for Cpl. Clossen is Nathan Clossen. He was from the town of Hopkinton, R.I. Nathan
enlisted on May 13, 1775 in Capt. John Randall’s Company of Col. Varnum’s Regiment. He enlisted in
Capt. Elijah Lewis’ Company of the First Rhode Island Regiment on January 1, 1777. In 1778, he was serving
with Capt. Coggeshall Olney’s Company of Col. Angell’s Second Rhode Island Regiment. From 1779 to 1781,
Nathan served as a Corporal in Capt. Coggeshall Olney’s Light Infantry Company and was transferred to
Capt. Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company in early 1781 (Muster Rolls). On November 1, 1781 after
the Battle of Yorktown, Nathan was transferred to Armand’s Corps (a Cavalry Unit) under Capt. Le Bourt.
He was discharged from Armand’s Corps on November 15, 1783. In 1839, Nathan was living in Norwich,
Connecticut. (most information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Cpl. Jesse Peirce, BLW 3406-100

Jesse was born about 1761 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. I have not been able to tie him in to the numerous
Pierce (Pearce) (Peirce) Families of southeastern Massachusetts yet. He joined Capt. Stephen Olney's Company
with a "during the war" enlistment of the Second Rhode Island Regiment on September 1, 1780. Jesse was made a
member of the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment in February 1781; he was promoted to Corporal
in April 1781 about the time of the desertions from the company. Jesse served to June 1783 in the Light Infantry
Company when he was discharged with the other "during the war" enlisted soldiers of the Rhode Island Regiment at
Saratoga, New York. He filed for a Bounty Land Warrant in 1795.



Fifer Nathan West Pension W19596, BLW 3583-100-24

Nathan was born March 22, 1763, the son of Ebenezer West, who served as a Lieutenant in Col. Angell's Regiment
until July 12, 1778, when Ebenezer was dishonorably discharged by order of court-martial for "plundering the property
of Mrs. Golf in the Month of December, A.D. 1776" (George Washington's General Orders for July 12, 1778). Nathan
had a brother Sgt. William West who also served in the Second Rhode Island Regiment. Nathan enlisted as a Fifer on
February 1, 1777 in Capt. William Allen’s Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment. He served as a Fifer in
Allen’s Company and was later transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company. Following the Yorktown Campaign, Nathan
continued his service with the Rhode Island Regiment until he was discharged on June 15, 1783 in New York. After
the war, Nathan moved to Vermont where he married Martha Titus at Vershire, Orange County on July 16, 1787. Nathan
and family later moved to Minerva, Essex County, New York where he died on April 1, 1835.






D.A.R. gravestone monument to Nathan West in the Minerva Cemetery in Essex County, New York.





Pvt. Peter Barrows, Pension W23545, BLW 2955-100-11

Peter was born in 1755 in Cumberland, R.I. Peter was living in Providence, Rhode Island when he enlisted in the
Second Rhode Island Regiment on May 7, 1777 (Capt. David Dexter’s Co.). He served in Capt. David Dexter’s
Company in 1778 and 1779 and was transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company in early 1781. Peter
states in his pension application that he served with Gimat’s Battalion, and that he received a severe
wound in his neck at Yorktown which caused him much pain and discomfort through the rest of his life. Peter
married Elizabeth Hunting in Marlboro, Massachusetts on November 10, 1785. He later moved with Elizabeth
to Camden, Maine. Peter attended the Inauguration Celebration for President Andrew Jackson on March 4, 1829 at
Camden, Maine. Peter, "a veteran of Lafayette's Corps," made the following toast at the celebration: "The Rising
Generation - May they duly prize their dear-bought liberties, nor grudge a sorry pittance to sooth the declining
years of those who bartered their blood and treasure in the purchase" (The Eastern Argus Semi-Weekly Newspaper of
March 31, 1829). Peter died on May 12, 1841 in Camden, Maine (some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State
Archives, Providence, R.I.).





The Grave of Peter Barrows in the Reuben Howard Cemetery in Rockville, Maine.
General location of grave from: “Soldiers, Sailors, and Patriots of the Revolutionary War -
Maine,” by Carlton E. Fisher and Sue G. Fisher, National Society Sons of the American
Revolution, 1982, p. 38.





Graves of Peter Barrows and wife Elizabeth (Hunting) Barrows.




Pvt. Benjamin Bennett

Benjamin was born and raised in Scituate, Rhode Island. He enlisted in Capt. Silas Talbot’s Company of
Col. Christopher Greene’s First Rhode Island Regiment at Tiverton, R.I. on April 26, 1777. At the time of
his enlistment, Benjamin was a laborer and was 5’ 9 inches tall with light hair and a light complexion (p. 4,
Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.). In 1778 and 1779, he served in Capt. David Dexter’s Company of the Second Rhode Island
Regiment. Dexter’s Company was later commanded by Major Simeon Thayer in 1779. Benjamin was transferred to
Capt. Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company in early 1781, and he served through the Virginia and Yorktown
Campaigns. Capt. Stephen Olney in his memoir of the assault on Redoubt 10 stated that Benjamin had loaded his
musket in the ditch and mounted the redoubt’s parapet along with Olney and John Strange. Bennett fired his
musket at the British defenders before closing with the enemy with his bayonet. After the action at Yorktown,
Benjamin continued his war service with the Rhode Island Regiment until his desertion from the regiment on
September 30, 1782 (all information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. William Bennett BLW 1590-100

William was born in Middlesex, England. He was residing in Providence, Rhode Island and was working as a safemaker
when he enlisted in the Second Rhode Island Regiment (Capt. William Tew’s Co.) on January 24, 1777.
There is another William Bennett of the Rhode Island Regiment who served in Capt. Joseph Dexter’s Company
in 1781 (applied for pension file # S37743) and later lived in the Sterling, Connecticut area. William Bennett
of England was 5’ 6.5 inches tall with dark hair and a light complexion (p. 4, Regimental Book, Rhode Island
Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.). He served in
Capt. William Tew’s Company in 1778 and 1779. He was later transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s
Company and served in the Virginia and Yorktown Campaigns. William Bennett served in the Rhode Island
Regiment until his discharge on June 15, 1783 in Saratoga, New York. He returned to Providence, R.I. after
the war. He married twice and had two children with his first wife. William died before 1830, presumably in
Providence (some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Benjamin Blanchard, Pension S37782, BLW 2956-100

Benjamin was from Scituate/Foster, Rhode Island. He was born about 1760 to 1762. He enlisted May 21, 1777 in
Capt. Thomas Arnold’s Company of Col. Christopher Greene’s First Rhode Island Regiment. Benjamin
served in Capt. William Tew’s Company of the Second Rhode Island in 1778 and 1779. On October 27, 1780,
Benjamin was court-martialed at West Point, N.Y. for desertion. He was sentenced to 100 lashes ("Orderly
Book of Captain Daniel Livermore's company, Continental army, 1780," New Hampshire Historical Society Collections,
Vol. 9, edited by Isaac W. Hammond, Concord, N.H., 1889, p. 232). In early 1781 Private Blanchard was transferred
to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company. Benjamin states in his pension application that he was
shot in the knee during the war. He continued serving in the Rhode Island Regiment until his discharge at
Saratoga, New York on June 15, 1783. After the war, he lived in Foster, Rhode Island before moving to
Connecticut in 1826. In 1828, he moved to Wilson, Madison County, New York. He presumably died in
New York. (Some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. John Chadwick, BLW 1855-100

John was born in Newport, Rhode Island, apparently to a seafaring family. He served on the Continental Sloop “Fly”
from January 1, 1776 to August 10, 1776 under the command of Capt. Hoystead Hacker. The “Fly” joined the small
fleet under the command of Rhode Islander Esek Hopkins which attacked the British military outpost at
New Providence Island, Bahamas (see the service of James Ogg above). By January 1777, John was residing
in Providence, R.I. and was employed as a fisherman. John enlisted in Capt. William Tew’s Company on
January 13, 1777 in Tiverton, R.I. He stood 5’ 7.5 inches tall and had dark hair and a light complexion (p. 4,
Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.). John served with Capt. William Tew’s Company of Col. Israel Angell’s Regiment through
1779, and was later transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company in early 1781. John was given the honor of
serving on General John Stark’s Guard from December 21 to December 28, 1780. After the Yorktown Campaign,
John Chadwick served with the Rhode Island Regiment until 1783. He resumed his life as a mariner soon after the
war ended and shipped on a merchant vessel from Newport, R.I. which foundered at sea with all hands perishing
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of the Navy Website: http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/f/fly.htm
most information came from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Edward Champlain (Champlin)

Edward was born in Newport, R.I. He served as a private in Col. Crary’s Rhode Island Militia Regiment
before enlisting as a Sergeant in Capt. Jonathan Wallen’s Company of the First Rhode Island Regiment on
January 1, 1777. Edward was reduced to the ranks June 4, 1777 (Muster Roll); later in May 1778 he
joined the Second Rhode Island Regiment. Edward appears on a muster roll for Capt. Stephen Olney's
Company for the month of November 1778 (dated December 4, 1778 in Warren, R.I.). On September 13, 1779,
Corporal Champlain was court-martialed for being absent without leave and found guilty. He was reduced to
a private ("Israel Angell Colonel of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment", by Louise Lewis Lovell, Knickerbocker Press,
New York, 1921, Appendix 2, Orderly Books, pp. 273 - 274). Several days later on October 8, 1779, Edward was
court-martialed for being absent from his post on guard duty at Updike's Newtown (Wickford), R.I. He was
found guilty and sentenced to 10 lashes (Lovell, p. 279). After the Yorktown Campaign, Edward served with the
Rhode Island Regiment until his death in the service on January 24, 1782, at the Philadelphia Hospital (RIHS
Manuscript Document) (some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.). Several
men of the regiment were sick in Philadelphia at this time.



Pvt. Joseph Congdon, Pension R2200, BLW 3049-100

Joseph enlisted on April 4,1777 in Capt. William Potter’s Company of Col. Angell's Second Rhode Island
Regiment (Muster Roll). He was born in South Kingston, R.I. and enlisted at North Kingstown, R.I. At the
time of enlistment, Joseph was a laborer with light brown hair and a light complexion who stood 5’ 9.25 inches tall
(p. 32, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781-1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.). From 1778 to 1779, he continued with Captain William Potter’s Company of Col. Angell’s
Regiment. Joseph deserted in 1779 as reported by Col. Israel Angell in his diary entry of November 3, 1779:
“...Joseph Congdon a Deserter was brought into the Garrison last Evening and was Sent to the main Guard
this Morning, he was taken up near Newlondon [i.e. Connecticut]....” . On August 1, 1780, Joseph joined
Capt. Coggeshall Olney’s Light Infantry Company and remained with the Light Company until January 1782,
when he was transferred to another Company in the Rhode Island Regiment (Muster Rolls). Joseph states
in his service affadavit that he was at the Battle of Rhode Island. After the war, he married
Deborah Rodman on February 26, 1807 in South Kingstown, R.I. Joseph later moved to Connecticut. He died
June 2, 1834 in Pomfret, Windham County, Connecticut (some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Thomas Dexter, Pension S37888

Thomas was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts about 1756. He claims to have served in Col. Varnum's Regiment and
Col. Hitchcock's Regiment from 1775 to 1776 in his pension file. Thomas enlisted May 21, 1777 for three years
in Capt. Thomas Arnold's Company of the First Rhode Island Regiment. In May 1778, he was transferred to
Capt. William Tew's Company, Second Rhode Island Regiment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Thomas deserted on
August 23, 1778 just before the Battle of Rhode Island. Thomas was captured from desertion and rejoined
Capt. William Tew's Company on August 18, 1780. In early 1781, Thomas joined the Light Infantry Company of
the Rhode Island Regiment. He was honorably discharged on June 24, 1782 after his original three years
enlistment was served.

Thomas Dexter lived in Coventry, Rhode Island and Scituate, Rhode Island in the 1800's. He later moved to Killingly,
Connecticut and had a small family.



Pvt. Farmin Dye

Farmin’s name is also spelled “Firmin” and “Fairman” on various muster rolls. He was born in Tiverton, R.I.
He served in Col. Crary’s Rhode Island Militia Regiment in 1776. At the time of his enlistment in
Capt John S. Dexter’s Company of Col. Greene’s Regiment on January 1, 1777, Farmin was a Laborer and
was 5’ 7.5 inches tall with light hair and a light complexion (p. 4, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment
(1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.). In 1778, he was serving
in Capt. William Humphrey’s Company of Col. Angell’s Regiment. Farmin was later transferred to
Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company in early 1781 and served in the Virginia and Yorktown campaigns.
On September 30, 1782, Farmin deserted from the Rhode Island Regiment (p. 59, Regimental Book,
Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).
Most information on Farmin came from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.



Pvt. David Edwards

David was born in Bridgewater, Sommersetshire, England. He was a resident of Swansea, Massachusetts at the
time of his enlistment. He enlisted April 5, 1777 in Capt. Elijah Lewis’ Company of Col. Christopher Greene’s
First Rhode Island Regiment. At the time of his enlistment, David stood 5’ 7 inches tall with dark hair and a
light complexion (p. 4, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section,
Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.). He served in Capt. Coggeshall Olney’s Company of the
Second Rhode Island Regiment in 1778 and 1779. Later David was transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s
Light Infantry Company Company in early 1781. After the Yorktown Campaign, David served in the
Rhode Island Regiment until he deserted on September 28, 1782 (all information from RWTFI,
Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Samuel Gear (Geer)

Samuel Gear (Gears, Geer, Geers) served in Capt. John Topham’s Company in Lt. Col. Christopher Greene’s
Battalion of Col. Benedict Arnold’s Expedition to Quebec in the Fall/Winter of 1775. He was captured by the
British during the failed American attack on Quebec City on December 31, 1775. He spent a portion of 1776
as a prisoner before being exchanged (NEHGS Register, “Expedition against Quebec,” Vol. 6, April 1852, p. 135).
Samuel enlisted on February 17, 1777 in Capt. Oliver Clarke’s Company of the First Rhode Island Regiment.
He served in Capt. Thomas Hughes’ Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment in 1778 and 1779.
Samuel was transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company where he served in the Virginia and Yorktown
Campaigns. No other information for Samuel has been found to date (most information from RWTFI,
Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Mathew Hart

Mathew was from North Kingstown, Rhode Island. He enlisted in Capt. Elijah Lewis’ Company of
Col. Christopher Greene’s First Rhode Island Regiment on April 5, 1777. He served in Capt. Coggeshall Olney’s
Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment in 1778 and 1779. Mathew was transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s
Light Infantry Company in early 1781 where he served in the Virginia and Yorktown Campaigns. Soon after
the Yorktown Campaign, Mathew got sick and died in the service of the Rhode Island Regiment on
November 1, 1781 [likely buried in the Yorktown, Virginia area in unmarked grave] (all information
from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. BENJAMIN JACKSON

Benjamin was born and raised in Newport, Rhode Island. He was a mariner who enlisted in Capt. Stephen Olney’s
Company of Col. Israel Angell’s Regiment at Providence, R.I. on February 8, 1777. At the time of his enlistment
Benjamin stood 5’ 6 inches tall with dark hair and a light complexion (p. 4, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment
(1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.). Benjamin continued to serve
with Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company through the Virginia and Yorktown Campaigns. He remained with the Rhode Island Regiment
until his death in the service on May 20, 1782, presumably at Philadelphia (all information from RWTFI, Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Uriah Jones, Pension R5752

Uriah was born August 13, 1761 in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He was living in Cumberland, Rhode Island
at the time of his enlistment in 1776 in Col. Hitchcock’s Regiment. On March 11, 1777, Uriah enlisted in
Capt. David Dexter’s Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment. He was in the Battles of Monmouth
and Springfield, New Jersey “where he was twice wounded, once by a ball a little below the abdomen and again,
by a ball in the leg.” Uriah served at the Battle of Yorktown “where, under Captain Olney, he stormed a fort.”
Uriah remained in the Rhode Island Regiment until September 24, 1782, when he “deserted.” His pension
application was rejected because “his name was returned on the roll of said regiment as a deserter.”
Stephen Olney testified for Uriah Jones in his pension application.
Uriah Jones’ Statement (from his pension application):
“In all these I was willing to sacrifice my life for my country and I know and I now have the satisfaction of feeling
I did my duty. But towards the close of the war indeed after all fighting had ceased and peace had actually been
made one Captain Allen [Capt. William Allen] took the command of our Company [Capt. Stephen Olney resigned
in March 1782]. The Company did not like him for we thought he was very arbitrary and unjust and as many 8 or 10
left the Company at the same time, all of whom I think are dead but myself. When I did this I was ill advised perhaps
and did not consider the consequences. I always loved my country and did not mean to desert her and I have always
regretted I left the Company but no idea entered my mind of deserting, nor was I ever tried for deserting.”
Capt. William Allen appears to have been a difficult man, as he lost a dispute with Capt. Stephen Olney over
seniority of their commissions (see “George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress” website).
Uriah Jones lived out his life at Cumberland, Rhode Island and died in December 1845 in Providence, R.I. He was
never awarded a pension during his lifetime.



Pvt. SOUTHCOTE LANGWORTHY, BLW 3295-100-31 (Issued Dec. 31, 1789 - Records destroyed Nov. 9, 1800 Fire)

Southcote was born about 1746, and he enlisted in Capt. Stephen Olney's Company in January 1777.
Southcote was a resident of Newport, R.I. who served for 13 months in Capt. John Carr’s Company of
Col. Christopher Lippitt’s Regiment, which fought with the Continental Army at New York and
New Jersey in 1776. Southcote served in Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company through 1782. He was discharged
from the Rhode Island Regiment on June 28, 1783 (preceeding information from RWTFI, Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.). He appears on a list of invalids resident to Rhode Island in 1785:
"South't Langworthy, inspected March 1, 1786, Private, Pay per month in dollars: $4.00, Age 40,
Rhode Island Regiment, 'A general disability and bodily infirmity; also the asthma, contracted
while in service, which renders him incapable of acquiring a livelihood by labor.' "
(John Russell Bartlett, "Records of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," Vol 10, p. 167).



Pvt. Charles McAfferty BLW 3343-100-24 (Issued Feb. 24, 1800 - Records destroyed Nov. 9, 1800 Fire)

Charles was born in Londonderry, Ireland. He was a resident of Philadelphia and served as a “Landsman” on the ship
“Columbus” from January 3, 1776 to November 16, 1776 (see service of James Ogg below). He was working as
a laborer in late 1776 and early 1777 and enlisted at Bristol, Rhode Island in Capt. Jonathan Wallen’s Company
of the First Rhode Island Regiment on January 15, 1777. At the time of his enlistment, Charles stood 5’ 8 inches tall
with dark hair and a light complexion (p. 4, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm
Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.). Charles was court-martialed for being drunk on guard duty
August 23, 1777 at Fort Clinton, New York. He was found guilty and sentenced to 40 lashes on his naked back
(Orderly Book, July 12, 1777 to January 2, 1778, First Rhode Island Regiment, Microfilm E263 R4G833, Papers of
Col. Christopher Greene, Rhode Island Historical Society Library, Providence, Rhode Island). He was transferred
to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company in May 1778 and served in the same company through the Yorktown Campaign. Charles
served in the Rhode Island Regiment until his discharge on June 15, 1783 (most information from RWTFI, Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. James Ogg, BLW 3369-100 (Issued May 16, 1791 - Records destroyed Nov. 9, 1800 Fire)

James was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He served as a rifleman on the American Continental Ship “Alfred,”
which departed Philadelphia December 14, 1775 in a small fleet commanded by Providence native Esek Hopkins.
This fleet attacked Nassau, Bahamas in March 1776 and later engaged a few British warships, including the frigate
HMS Glasgow on April 6, 1776. On May 30, 1776, James transferred to the American Continental Ship “Columbus,”
which was a part of Hopkins’ small fleet, and served as a private in the ship’s marines. The “Columbus” cruised off
the New England coast in the Summer of 1776. By April 20, 1777, James was working as a laborer in Providence,
Rhode Island, where he was recruited by Maj. Simeon Thayer to enlist in the Second Rhode Island Regiment. At the
time of his enlistment, James was 5’ 5.5 inches tall with dark hair and a light complexion. He served with
Capt. Coggeshall Olney’s Company of Col. Angell’s Regiment from 1778 to 1779. He was later transferred
to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company and participated in the Virginia and Yorktown Campaigns. He served in the
Rhode Island Regiment after the Yorktown Campaign and was promoted to corporal on January 15, 1782.
James died before 1791 (see BLW 3369-100).
(sources: RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.;
U.S. Dept. of the Navy Website: http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/a/alfred.htm
U.S. Dept. of the Navy Website: http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/c11/columbus-i.htm
“Officers and men of the Ship ‘Alfred’”, in "Naval Documents of the American Revolution," Vol. 6.,
William J. Morgan, editor, page 699).



Pvt. JAMES POLLARD, Pension W18773, BLW 148-100

James served early in the American Revolution and saw much of the war. He enlisted in
Capt. John Angell's Co. of Col. Daniel Hitchcock's Rhode Island Continental Regiment in 1775.
On January 1, 1776, James enlisted in Capt. Asa Barns' Company of Col. Paul Sargent's
Massachusetts Continental Regiment. He was wounded in the arm/shoulder by a musketball at the
Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776. James was also wounded in the left shin by a cannonball at
Elizabethtown, New Jersey. On May 10, 1777, he enlisted in Capt. Stephen Olney's Company of the
Second Rhode Island Regiment. James states in his service affadavit that while with the Second
Rhode Island, he participated in the battles of Red Bank, Monmouth, and Yorktown. He was
discharged from the Rhode Island Regiment at Springfield, Massachusetts in 1783. James married
Mercy Bartlett on November 7, 1785 in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He moved to Bridgewater,
Windsor County, Vermont before settling in Virgil, Cortland County, New York. James died
June 6, 1828 in Virgil, N.Y.






Highland Cemetery in Lapeer Township (Cortland County) southeast of Virgil, New York is the final resting place
for several Rhode Island families who moved to New York. Among these immigrants were some Revolutionary War
veterans, including James Pollard.






Grave of James Pollard in the Highland Cemetery in Lapeer Township.






The original 1828 gravestone of James Pollard.






Modern U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs grave marker for James Pollard.






Grave of Mercy (Bartlett) Pollard, who died September 15, 1849.





Pvt. John Randall Jun., Pension W24717

John was from Scituate, Rhode Island and enlisted early in the Revolutionary War in 1775. He participated in the
Roxbury Campaign in Massachusetts in 1775. John enlisted in the First Rhode Island Regiment in
Capt. Thomas Cole’s Company on February 12, 1777 and served in Capt. William Potter’s Company in 1778. In 1779,
Private Randall was serving in Lt. Col. Jeremiah Olney's Company of Col. Angell's Regiment. On September 12, 1779,
John Randall was court-martialed for selling cider in violation of regimental orders. He was found guilty and
sentenced to 20 lashes ("Israel Angell Colonel of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment," by Louise Lewis Lovell,
Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1921, Appendix 2, Orderly Books, p. 273). John was later transferred to
Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company. John Randall was wounded in the leg at the storming of British Redoubt 10. This
wound would cause John trouble the rest of his life. After October 14, 1781, John spent the remainder of the war
in military hospitals. He was recuperating at a hospital at Philadelphia when the war ended, and he returned home
to Foster, Rhode Island in May 1783 [Foster was created from Scituate in 1781]. John married my distant cousin
Mary Seamans at Foster on January 16, 1788. John and family moved to the town of Burlington, Otsego County, New York
by the early 1790’s. John died October 28, 1795 in Burlington, N.Y. “in consequence of wounds received at the Battle
of Yorktown at the taking of the Fort” (pension file) (some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. John Rhodes, Pension W18807, BLW 1669-100

John enlisted on January 2, 1777 in Capt. William Allen's Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment.
On October 1, 1779, he was transferred to Capt. Coggeshall Olney's Light Infantry Company, where he
served until 1781 (Muster Rolls). He was "attached to the Marquis de Lafayette's Brigade of Light Infantry"
in 1781 as a member of Capt. Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company. In 1782 John was transferred to
Capt. Zephaniah Brown's Company of the Rhode Island Regiment. He was discharged from the Rhode Island
Regiment in June 1783 at Saratoga, New York. John was from Johnston, Rhode Island and after the war,
he married Nancy Fields in September 1783 at Johnston. Later, he moved to Hadley, Saratoga County,
New York. John died on February 15, 1842 in Corinth, New York.





New York State Historic Marker for the Conklingville Cemetery, which is located on top of the hill to the
right in this picture. John Rhodes might be buried in this cemetery located near the Conklingville Dam (Great
Sacandaga Lake), southwest of Hadley, New York as there are several unknown graves in it.





Pvt. Abraham Rose of N.H., Pension W24780

Abraham was born on August 20, 1759 in Sandwich, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. He served in the Massachusetts
Continental Line in 1776. He enlisted on January 30, 1777 in Capt. William Tew's Co. of Col. Israel Angell's
Second Rhode Island Regiment at Tiverton, R.I. At the time of enlistment, Abraham was a laborer and was 5’ 11.5”
tall with dark hair and a dark complexion (p. 5, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm
Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.). Private Rose was court-martialed on September 17, 1779
for leaving his post while on guard duty. He was found guilty, sentenced to 40 lashes but was pardoned for
extenuating circumstances ("Israel Angell Colonel of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment," by Louise Lewis Lovell,
Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1921, Appendix 2, Orderly Books, pp. 274 - 275). Abraham was transferred to
Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company in early 1781 and served with the Rhode Island Regiment until his discharge on
June 15, 1783. Abraham lived in Lyndeborough, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire after the war and had descendants.

Abraham Rose was a special guest of the Fourth of July Celebration for 1835 in Hancock, New Hampshire. Congressman
(later President) Franklin Pierce gave tribute to several leading citizens and Revolutionary War veterans, including
Abraham Rose, "a survivor of the 1st Company Lafayette's Light Infantry Corps" (New Hampshire Patriot and State
Gazette of July 13, 1835). Abraham gave a toast at the ceremonies: "To Lafayette - the brave commander whom I have
followed on many a charge. I was in his first company at Yorktown, when we took the redoubts with our flints in
our pouches" (Ibid.). A biography of Abraham Rose was published in the "Amherst Cabinet" in 1835 and republished
in the New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette of July 13, 1835. Abraham stated that he served in the Fort on
Dorchester Heights overlooking Boston Harbor in early 1776. After his enlistment in the Second Rhode Island Regiment,
Abraham marched to Morristown, New Jersey then to Peekskill, New York. "On the 19th of August, 1777, he was placed
under the command of General Huntington, and went on an expedition to Long Island, to dislodge a British block house
and fort, but without success. They crossed the Long Island Sound, in the night in boats." (Ibid.). "...He was one
of four hundred...at the Redbank Fort, on the 22nd of October, 1777; and who fought for forty-seven minutes, at a
distance of three rods; his file leader was killed the second shot, with a bomb shell" [most likely Sgt. Eleazer Wescott
of Capt. William Tew's Co.; Ibid.]. After arriving at Valley Forge, "...he was called out under General Green on an
excursion of reconnoitering the British lines, and was engaged in several skirmishes, and took several foot and
horse, and made a violent attack on a fortified stone building in the night, but without success..." (Ibid.).
At the Battle of Monmouth, Abraham remembered, "after receiving two shots from Clinton's Army, and having my file
leader shot down, we returned back and formed a line and fought desperately with six to one of our men, till we
charged bayonet, and after having my right hand man cut down, we returned having our retreat covered by General Scott,
and Colonel John Brooks, of Mass." (Ibid.). Abraham served in the Rhode Island Campaign and later at the Battle of
Springfield, New Jersey. In February 1781, he was in the Battle of Morrisania, New York. Soon after, he was detached
to join Lafayette's Brigade of Light Infantry. Abraham was at the Battle of Green Springs, Virginia; he remembered:
"In this battle General Wayne lost two six pounders, and we had a desparate struggle to save ours; which, in our
favor, was saved by retreating." (Ibid.). Later, "I was in the battle at Yorktown, October 14, 1781, commanded by
Col. Jemmott [Lt. Col. Gimat] and Hamilton, the latter was a volunteer; they stormed the British out-battery in the
night by the point of the bayonet, and from there I was marched to Philadelphia for winter quarters." (Ibid.).

Abraham died on December 16, 1851 in Lyndeborough, New Hampshire (some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State
Archives, Providence, R.I.).






The grave of Abraham Rose in the South Cemetery at Lyndeborough, New Hampshire. Thanks to Walter Holland of
Lyndeborough, New Hampshire for providing me with critical information for finding Abraham's grave. Mr. Holland
is a member of the Lafayette Artillery Reenacting Company (of Lyndeborough).






The grave of George Rose, a grandson of Abraham Rose; the grave of Abraham can be seen in the upper right of this
photo. Abraham Rose's son Brackley is also buried nearby. A Rose Family Genealogy is given in Dennis Donovan and
Jacob Woodward, "History of the Town of Lyndeborough, New Hampshire, 1735-1905," 1906, pp. 843-845 (Thanks to
Mr. Holland for the source).



Pvt. John Saunders, BLW 3500-100-16 (Issued Dec. 29, 1794 - Records destroyed Nov. 9, 1800 Fire)

John enlisted in the Second Rhode Island Regiment on May 12, 1777 in Capt. William Allen’s Company .
He was born in Smithfield, R.I., and at the time of his enlistment he was a laborer who stood 5’ 9.75 inches tall.
John continued to serve in Capt. William Allen’s Company of Col. Angell’s Regiment from 1778 to 1779.
He was transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company in early 1781 and served in the Virginia and Yorktown
campaigns. He continued to serve in the Rhode Island Regiment and was promoted to corporal of the
Light Infantry Company on January 15, 1782. He was furloughed from the Rhode Island Regiment on
June 15, 1783 (all information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Zebulon Scriven, Pension W24922

Zebulon was born about 1760. He enlisted in Capt. Oliver Clark's Co. of Col. Christopher Greene’s First
Rhode Island Regiment on February 17, 1777. He joined the Second Rhode Island Regiment under
Col. Israel Angell in May 1778. He was transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney's Light Infantry Co. of the
Rhode Island Regiment in early 1781. In his service affadavit, Zebulon stated that he was at the Battles
of Red Bank, Monmouth, and Springfield. He also stated in his pension that he was severely wounded
by a musket ball at the Battle of Yorktown. As infantry engagements were limited in the artillery siege of
Yorktown, the musket ball wound was mostly likely received by Zebulon on the night of October 14, 1781.
Zebulon served under Capt. Holden after the Yorktown campaign in the Rhode Island Regiment. Zebulon
was discharged June 15, 1783 at Saratoga, New York. He moved to Grafton, Rensselaer County, New York
and became a colonel in the New York militia. Zebulon died on February 28, 1821 at Grafton, New York.






Grave of Zebulon Scriven in the Hewitt (Ziba) Cemetery, East Grafton, New York.
A tree had fallen across the grave. Grave location from Rensselaer County Genweb
Website: https://sites.rootsweb.com/~nyrensse/cems3.txt






Close-up view of gravestone of Zebulon Scriven.





Pvt. Joshua Smith, Pension S42336, BLW 3502-100

Joshua Smith was born about 1760 in Westerly, R.I. He enlisted in a militia company in the town of Westerly,
Rhode Island in 1775 and served with this unit into 1776. In 1776, he served with the 11th Continental Regiment.
He enlisted on March 21, 1777 in Capt. Oliver Clarke’s Company of Col. Christopher Greene’s First Rhode Island
Regiment. At the time of his enlistment in 1777, Joshua was 5’ 6 inches tall with dark hair and a light complexion,
and he was a laborer (p. 4, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island
State Archives, Providence, R.I.). In 1778, he served with Capt. Thomas Hughes’ Company of the Second Rhode Island
Regiment. He was later transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company. He was in several battles including
“.....Battles of Morristown [Springfield?], Fort Miflin, Red Banks, Green Springs, and York Town at which last place
he was severely wounded in the thigh by an enemies bayonet.....” (from pension file application). Private Joshua Smith
served as one of Lafayette's personal Life Guards during the Virginia Campaign of 1781 (Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester,
"History of Rensselaer County, New York, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers,"
Everts and Peck Co., Philadelphia, 1880. p. 516; Thanks to Mr. Smith of Connecticut, a descendant of Joshua Smith, for
the reference). Joshua served with the Rhode Island Regiment after the Yorktown campaign until his discharge from the
regiment on June 15, 1783. He moved to the town of Berlin in Renssalaer County, New York and married Elizabeth ( ? ).
Joshua Smith died on March 1, 1850 in Berlin, New York, aged 90 years. He is buried at the Southeast Hollow Cemetery in
Berlin, NY (source: Rensselaer County NY Genweb website: https://sites.rootsweb.com/~nyrensse/cems11.txt ). (Some
information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).





View of the neglected Southeast Hollow Cemetery off Comstock Hollow Road
near Berlin, New York in 2007. Joshua Smith is buried in this cemetery,
but his gravestone has fallen over and is likely covered with soil. Note the
gravestones to the right (looks like a typical Rhode Island cemetery!).
Thanks to Sharon and Karl Klein of Berlin, N.Y. for taking me to the
cemetery. Sharon is the Town Historian of Berlin, and she recorded Joshua's
grave in the 1990's.



Pvt. Durphy Springer, Pension S42366, BLW 3505-100-24

Durphy (Durfee, Durphey) was born January 20, 1759 in Tiverton, R.I. (Springer Family Genealogy courtesy of
Thor Springer of Michigan, a descendant of Durphy). Durphy Springer enlisted in Capt. William Allen’s Company
of the Second Rhode Island Regiment at Tiverton, Rhode Island on January 3, 1777. At the time of his enlistment,
Durphy stood 5’ 7.5 inches tall and had light hair and a light complexion (p. 4, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment
(1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.). In his service affadavit, Durphy
stated that he was at the Battles of Red Bank, Monmouth, Springfield, “storming the fort at Yorktown,” and
“Yorktown taking Cornwallis.” In fact, Durphy was wounded at the Battle of Red Bank (RIHS Manuscripts, MSS 673 Subgroup 2
Series 1 Subseries B Box 7 Folder 108). Durphy served in the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment
until June 15, 1783. Durphy married Desire Lake of Tiverton, R.I. in 1784 at Tiverton. The Springer Family moved
to Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York sometime after 1794 (Springer Family Genealogy). Durphy died on September 12, 1839
and is buried at Kelloggsville Cemetery near Sempronius (some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.; thanks to Thor Springer of Michigan for Genealogical Information on the Springer Family).






Grave of Durfee Springer in the Kelloggsville Cemetery (Cayuga County, New York).






Gravestone of Desire (Lake) Springer, wife of Durfee.





Pvt. John Strange, Pension S39858

John was born about 1760 and grew up in Cumberland, Rhode Island. He enlisted in Capt. Coggeshall Olney's
Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment at Providence, R.I. on January 6, 1777 as a drummer. At the time
of his enlistment, John stood 5' 9 inches tall with dark hair and a light complexion (p. 4, Regimental Book,
Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).
He served as a drummer and was transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney's Company in early 1781. The following
statements are quoted from his pension file: "This applicant further declares that at the siege of Yorktown just
before the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and while the light infantry was under the command of
General Lafayette, we stormed the enemies redoubt on the night of the 14th of October 1781; That he was
one of the two first privates that mounted the breach and made good his stand on the breastwork and while
standing on the breastwork it was his good fortune to preserve the life of his captain by killing the man who
had his bayonet charged at his breast and to escape himself unhurt. The storm lasted about one hour before
the fort surrendered.” John served in the Rhode Island Regiment until his desertion from the regiment on
September 24, 1782 (Muster Roll). John worked as a laborer in North Providence after the war, but had no family.
Capt. Stephen Olney and Capt. William Allen both made declarations for John Strange in his pension application
on December 10, 1824. The notice of John Strange’s death was published in the Providence Journal in 1827:
“John Strange, aged 70 years, a revolutionary pensioner; was a drummer; he beat the drum at the 50th anniversary
of Independence at Providence; [died] at Swansey [Massachusetts], June 17, 1827” (Arnold’s Vital Records of
Rhode Island, Providence Journal Deaths S - Z, p. 44). (Some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Franklin Tenant (Tennant)

Franklin was from North Kingstown, R.I. He enlisted in Capt. William Allen’s Company of the Second Rhode Island
Regiment on January 1, 1777 and served with the same company in 1778 and 1779. He was likely wounded
at the Battle of Red Bank on October 22, 1777 (December 1777 Composite Muster Roll). In early 1781 he was
transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s Light Infantry Company where he served in the Virginia and Yorktown
Campaigns. He was transferred to “Armand’s Corps of Horse” on November 1, 1781 after the Battle of Yorktown
(All information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. John Thomas

John served with Capt. John Carr’s Company of Col. Christopher Lippitt’s Regiment in 1776. After surviving the
Trenton and Princeton campaigns, John was discharged from Lippitt’s Regiment on January 18, 1777 in Peekskill,
New York. John enlisted in the First Rhode Island Regiment on May 10, 1777 in Capt. Silas Talbot’s Company as
a Corporal. Cpl. Thomas was transferred to Capt. David Dexter’s Company in May 1778. By Fall of 1779, John had
been reduced to a private and was serving in Capt. Coggeshall Olney's Light Infantry Company. John was court-
martialed on October 16, 1779 for abusing Mr. Joseph Cole, an elderly man, at North Kingstown, R.I. the night
of October 15. John was found guilty and sentenced to 100 lashes (Israel Angell Diary, p. 82; "Israel Angell
Colonel of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment," by Louise Lewis Lovell, Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1921, Appendix 2,
Orderly Books, p. 282). However, John was promoted back to Corporal, and was later transferred to Capt. Stephen Olney’s
Light Infantry Company in early 1781 (some information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).
Soon after the Yorktown Campaign, John became sick and died in the service on November 15, 1781 (p. 77, Regimental
Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Samuel Thompson

Samuel was born in Boston, Massachusetts and was a laborer living in Hopkinton, Rhode Island at the time of his
enlistment. He enlisted in Capt. Ebenezer Flagg’s Company of the First Rhode Island Regiment in 1777. At the
time of his enlistment, Samuel was 5’ 8.5 inches tall with dark hair and a light complexion (p. 4, Regimental
Book, Rhode Island Regiment (1781 - 1783), Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.).
Private Thompson was transferred to Col. Angell’s Second Rhode Island Regiment in May 1778. Samuel was court-
martialed on October 14, 1779 for abusive behavior to the Officer of the Day while on guard duty. He was found
guilty and sentenced to be reprimanded ("Israel Angell Colonel of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment," by Louise Lewis
Lovell, Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1921, Appendix 2, Orderly Books, p. 281). Samuel joined Capt. Stephen Olney's
Light Infantry Company in early 1781. After the Yorktown Campaign, he served with the Rhode Island Regiment until
his desertion from the regiment on September 24, 1782 (most information from RWTFI, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.).



Pvt. Sylvester Woodman, Pension S45160

Sylvester was born March 24, 1760 in Little Compton, Rhode Island. He enlisted in the First Rhode Island Regiment
(Capt. Silas Talbot’s Company) at Little Compton, Rhode Island on May 15, 1777, running away from an apprentice
position in Little Compton as a cordwrainer to become a soldier (“Biographical Review: This Volume Contains
Biographical Sketches of the Leading Citizens of Madison County New York,” Boston, Biographical Review Publishing
Co., 1894, p. 170). He was transferred to Col. Angell’s Regiment in May 1778. Sylvester joined Capt. Stephen Olney's
Light Infantry Company in 1781. He stated in his affadavit that he was at the Battles of Red Bank, Monmouth, and
Springfield. He was discharged from the Rhode Island Regiment on June 15, 1783. Sylvester Woodman married Merebah
Brownell of Rhode Island, who died in 1816. He moved his family to Madison, Madison County, New York in 1796 (Madison
County was a part of Herkimer County at that time). He bought a lot of woodland and cleared the land himself into a
working farm. Sylvester had a total of 11 children (“Biographical Review,” p. 171). He married as his second wife
Betsy ( ? ), who died in 1843. Sylvester worked on his farm the rest of his life near Lake Moraine. Sylvester died in
Madison County on August 23, 1835.





Gravestone of Sylvester Woodman in the "Rebeccah Cemetery," a part of
Americana Village, American Management Association White Eagle Conference
Center, Lake Moraine, Madison County, New York.
Grave location from Madison County Genweb Website:
https://sites.rootsweb.com/~nymadiso/woodmanc.htm
and the AMA White Eagle Conference Center Website:
http://www.whiteagle.com/source/americana.htm






Gravestone of Merebah (Brownell) Woodman in "Rebeccah Cemetery."






Gravestone of Betsy ( ? ) Woodman in "Rebeccah Cemetery."





Pvt. John Wilbour (Wilbur) , Pension W14165

John Wilbour was born in Little Compton, Rhode Island about 1762. He was a new recruit
to the Rhode Island Regiment, enlisting in January 1781 for 3 years. John served through
the Yorktown Campaign in the Light Company and was honorably discharged in December 1783.

After the war, John Wilbour married Marcy Grinnell of Little Compton, R.I., and moved to
Nantucket Island. John died at Nantucket on January 19, 1851, the father of ten children.





“On Command” Soldiers from Rhode Island's “Black Regiment”

Two soldiers from the “Black Regiment” are documented to have served “On Command” with the Light Infantry Company
of the Second Rhode Island Regiment in 1780 (see First Rhode Island Regiment muster rolls). At the beginning of 1781,
the same two soldiers are listed as regular members of the Company (see February 1, 1781 Muster Roll above). What these
two soldiers' roles were in the Company remains unclear. Since neither of these two soldiers was listed on the
July 31, 1781 pay roll for the Light Infantry Company, it is likely that they were acting as messengers, managing
the Company's baggage, carrying supplies/ammunition, or possibly acting as servants for the Company's officers. The
soldiers are listed below with the information that I have found about them.




Pvt. Sampson Hazzard (Hazard), BLW 3236-100
Sampson served in Capt. Ebenezer Flagg's Company of the “Black Regiment” in 1778. He is not listed in the Rhode
Island 1777 Military Census, nor in Rider's monograph, so it is unclear whether he was a slave prior to his service
in the “Black Regiment” and the integrated Rhode Island Regiment. Sampson was 5’ 3.5 inches tall with “black hair”
and a “black compexion” (p. 37, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment, Microfilm, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.); his height was below the minimum 5’ 6 inches desired for Light Infantry service (see General Washington’s
February 1, 1781 General Orders). Sampson survived the war, and was living in Providence, R.I. in 1790
(1790 Federal Census, Rhode Island). He did not file a claim for a Pension File.




Pvt. Cato Varnum (Vernon)
Cato served in Capt. Thomas Arnold's Company of the “Black Regiment” in 1778. He was a former slave of the
Vernon Family of Newport. He is not listed in the Rhode Island 1777 Military Census. Cato was also 5’ 3.5 inches
tall with “black hair” and a “black compexion” (p. 37, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment, Microfilm, Rhode
Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.; note: Cato and Sampson are listed with the Eighth Company of the
Rhode Island Regiment in the Regimental Book - - the segregated Eighth Company was made up of all Black and Native
American privates); his height was below the minimum 5’ 6 inches desired for Light Infantry service. After the
Yorktown Campaign, Cato served as a waiter to a Major McPherson (R.I.R. Muster Rolls; Rider, p. 79). Thus, the
evidence seems to indicate that Sampson and Cato were not serving as regular infantry soldiers but rather as
support personnel in the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment. Cato served in the Rhode Island
Regiment until his discharge on June 15, 1783. He is not listed in the 1790 Federal Census, so what became of
him after the war is unknown.




Pvt. Thomas Stafford , Pension S42408, BLW 3583-100-24

Thomas enlisted in Col. Christopher Greene's Regiment in March 1777. Thomas was a drummer and became a Corporal by
1780 in the “Black Regiment,” but he deserted on February 15, 1780 (First Rhode Island Regiment muster roll).
Thomas claims to have served with the Second Rhode Island’s Light Infantry Company in 1780 (Pension File), and
he did join Capt. Coggeshall Olney’s Light Company on September 25, 1780 (Muster Roll) after returning from
desertion in August 1780 (p.89, Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment, Microfilm, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, R.I.). He served as the drummer of Capt. Stephen Olney's Light Infantry Company in February 1781
(see February 1, 1781 Muster Roll above), but he is not listed on the July 31, 1781 Pay Roll for the Light Company.
Thomas was born in Coventry, R.I. and was 5’ 7.5 inches tall with “dark hair” and a “light complexion” (p.4,
Regimental Book, Rhode Island Regiment, Microfilm, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, R.I.) indicating that
he was Caucasian. Thomas lived in Florida, New York after the war.











Captain Stephen Olney, Pension S46399

Stephen Olney was born in 1755 in North Providence, Rhode Island to an old and distinguished Rhode Island Family.
He was a descendant of original R.I. immigrant Thomas Olney (Bef. 1605 - 1682) of Providence, R.I. Stephen grew
up on his father Joseph Olney’s farm in North Providence. By the eve of the Revolution, Stephen had joined the
North Providence Rangers, an independent town-formed militia. After the British fired upon the Americans at Lexington
in April 1775, Stephen was commissioned as an Ensign in Daniel Hitchcock’s Regiment (the 14th Continentals) in May 1775
and served until the end of the year. Hitchcock’s Regiment served at the Siege of Boston. In January 1776, Stephen Olney
was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 11th Continental Regiment commanded by Col. Daniel Hitchcock. The unit saw
combat at the Battles of Long Island (New York), Harlem Heights (New York), White Plains (New York), Second
Trenton (New Jersey), and Princeton (New Jersey). The unit was discharged in February of 1777 to create a new
Continental Army that would serve three years or the duration of the war. On February 11, 1777, Stephen Olney was
commissioned as a Captain commanding an infantry company in the new Second Rhode Island Regiment (Continental).
He led his company at the battle of Red Bank (New Jersey) and through the difficult winter at Valley Forge. In June
1778 Capt. Olney and his company fought at the Battle of Monmouth (New Jersey) before returning to Rhode Island to take
part in the Battle of Rhode Island in August. The Second Rhode Island Regiment remained in Rhode Island on
garrison duty until the British left Newport, Rhode Island in late October 1779. By November, Olney’s Company
and the rest of the Second Rhode Island Regiment marched to Morristown, New Jersey to survive another difficult winter.
In June 1780, the British tried to attack the supply base at Morristown and Capt. Stephen Olney and his company fought
them at the Battle of Springfield, where in a fierce fight Stephen was wounded in the arm. During the Summer of 1780,
the Light Infantry Company of the Second Rhode Island Regiment, under the command of Capt. Coggeshall Olney, was
detached from the regiment to join Lafayette’s Light Infantry Corps. The Light Infantry Corps camped and trained
together as an independent unit. By the Fall of 1780, Coggeshall Olney’s Company had returned to the Second
Rhode Island Regiment, which went into winter quarters in the vicinity of West Point, New York. The First
Rhode Island Regiment (“Black Regiment”) marched to New York and consolidated with the Second Rhode Island
Regiment to form the “Rhode Island Regiment” in February 1781. Just before the “Black Regiment” arrived at
West Point, Capt. Stephen Olney was ordered to take command of the Light Infantry Company and join the
Light Infantry Brigade command of the Marquis de Lafayette. The Light Infantry Brigade with Capt. Olney’s
Company marched to Virginia where it participated in Lafayette’s Virginia Campaign and distinguished
itself during the Yorktown Campaign in October 1781. In December 1781, Capt. Olney’s Company returned to the
Rhode Island Regiment, where it continued to act as the light infantry company of the regiment. The Rhode Island
Regiment under Lt. Col. Jeremiah Olney marched to Philadelphia in December 1781 and remained there through the
winter. In March of 1782, Capt. Stephen Olney resigned his commission and returned to Rhode Island. After the
war, Stephen Olney worked on his farm and served in the Rhode Island General Assembly and in several official town
government positions for North Providence, including Town Treasurer. Stephen had a reunion with General
Lafayette on his tour of the U.S. in the 1820’s. The two met on August 23, 1824 on the steps of the
Rhode Island State House in Providence (“Old Providence: a Collection of Facts and Traditions relating
to various Buildings and Sites of historic interest in Providence;” printed for Merchants National Bank of
Providence, 1918, Providence, R.I., p. 31).
Stephen Olney died at North Providence on November 23, 1832, aged 77 years. He was buried in his family’s
cemetery in Olney Park off Smithfield Road in North Providence, Rhode Island.






The family cemetery of Capt. Stephen Olney in the Olney Park in North Providence, R.I.
Capt. Olney’s grave is in the center back of the cemetery.






Gravestone of Capt. Stephen Olney in Historic Cemetery NP006 in North Providence.









Some Interesting Statistics and an Analysis

Of the 40 men of Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company of the Summer of 1781, here are the numbers who:


died in the service after Yorktown and before the close of the war: 4

Private Edward Champlain, Private John Thomas, Private Benjamin Jackson,
Private Mathew Hart



were lost at sea after the war and before 1790: 2
Sergeant Joseph T. Brown, Private John Chadwick



were documented to have deserted the Rhode Island Regiment in September 1782: 6

Private Samuel Thompson, Private Farmin Dye, Private Uriah Jones,
Private David Edwards, Private Benjamin Bennett, Private John Strange


Note: Of the 12 men listed above, only Uriah Jones and John Strange filed documents personally for
a pension file or a bounty land warrant. Although both men deserted in September 1782, John received a pension
while Uriah's application was rejected for desertion.


were documented former fishermen, mariners, or served in the Naval Service: 4

Private James Ogg, Private John Chadwick, Private Charles McAfferty,
Private Benjamin Jackson



were documented at the October 14, 1781 attack by Capt. Olney’s account: 7



were also documented at the October 14, 1781 attack by pension files: 3

Private Durphy Springer, Private John Randall, Private Uriah Jones



were very likely at the October 14, 1781 attack based on wounds reported in their pension files: 2

Private Zebulon Scriven, Private Joshua Smith






A List of the known and likely Wounded from Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company after the attack on Redoubt 10
on the night of October 14, 1781 (Gimat’s Battalion, Lafayette’s American Light Infantry Division):

Captain Stephen Olney
Sergeant Joseph T. Brown
Sergeant Edward Butterick
Private Zebulon Scriven
Private John Randall
Private Peter Barrows
Private Joshua Smith












If that’s not enough evidence, let’s look at some interesting before and after muster rolls:







This is the top of the original August 1780 muster roll of Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company in the Second
Rhode Island Regiment. Note that some of these men would march south with Capt. Olney in Lafayette’s Detachment.





Bottom portion of the August 1780 muster roll of Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company dated October 2, 1780 in
Camp Orange Town, New Jersey. Both images from Microfilm M246 “Muster Rolls,” Roll # 87, courtesy of the
U.S. National Archives.





This is the top of the original June and July 1780 muster roll for the Light Infantry Company of
Capt. Coggeshall Olney. Compare the men on this list to the July 1781 list of Capt. Olney’s Company. Notice
any names in common?





Bottom portion of the original June and July 1780 muster roll for the Second Rhode Island Regiment’s
Light Infantry Company dated September 8, 1780 in Hackensack, New Jersey. Both images from Microfilm M246
“Muster Rolls,” Roll # 87, courtesy of the U.S. National Archives.




We have a couple of Muster Rolls for the Light Infantry Company from 1781: one on February 1, 1781 and one
(a pay roll) on July 31, 1781. Both of these muster rolls have been reproduced on this web page. Let’s also
look at the muster roll of the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment from January 1782:





This is the top portion of the original January 1782 muster roll of the Light Infantry Company of the
Rhode Island Regiment. The Rhode Island Regiment was in winter quarters at Philadelphia at this time.





Bottom portion of the original January 1782 muster roll of the Light Infantry Company of the Rhode Island Regiment.
Both images from Microfilm M246 “Muster Rolls”, Roll # 87, courtesy of the U.S. National Archives.


Analysis
Some new men have been added to the company due to deaths and sickness, but 36 of the names from the July 31, 1781
muster roll are seen on this January 1782 list dated February 18, 1782 in Philadelphia, PA. Note that Edward Champlain
is listed as having died on January 24, 1782 and that Peter Barrows and John Randall are in the hospital (recovering
from gunshot wounds received on October 14, 1781). In this January 1782 muster roll, we also see evidence that a couple of
black soldiers have rejoined the Light Infantry Company as regular members - - Cato Varnum and Sampson Hazzard were
black (see Rider, pp. 49 - 50, citation below, describing an honorable discharge certificate for Cato Varnum). By
December 1781, the Light Infantry companies of Lafayette’s Division were returned to their parent regiments.
Capt. Stephen Olney’s Company reunited with the integrated Rhode Island Regiment at Yorktown, then sailed and marched to
Philadelphia where they stayed until May 1782. A few of the black soldiers would serve with the Light Infantry Company
of the Rhode Island Regiment in early 1782. However, the black soldiers of Col. Christopher Greene’s original 1778
“Black Regiment,” who from 1778 to 1781 never numbered more than 190, had been reduced as a segregated group by desertion,
sickness, and some deaths in 1780 and 1781 (see Sidney S. Rider’s “Historical Tracts No. 10” (full citation below) for a
well-researched, mostly accurate (Rider did not look at many muster rolls!), and somewhat scathing portrayal of the
“Black Regiment”). With their integration into the Rhode Island Regiment in early 1781, the black soldiers joined the
white veteran soldiers of the original 1777 First and Second Rhode Island Continental Regiments and several white
replacement recruits. For those who actually take the time to do some research and look at the original muster rolls of
the Rhode Island Regiment in 1782 and 1783, it is very clear that the black soldiers made up about 30% of the regiment’s
total compliment of soldiers in 1781 [a number that drops to about 18% in early 1783 due to sickness deaths], hardly a
“majority.” While the contributions of the black soldiers of the “Black Regiment” are important and should be rightfully
acknowledged, I don’t believe historical facts should be distorted under the guise of “political correctness.”









SOURCES

U.S. National Archives Microfilm M804, "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files,"
(Specific Pensions and Bounty Land Warrants listed above).

U.S. National Archives Microfilm M246, "Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783" (Original Muster Rolls - -
First Rhode Island Regiment (1777 - 1780), Second Rhode Island Regiment (1777 - 1780),
Rhode Island Regiment (consolidated - - 1782 - 1783).

Revolutionary War Transcription File Index, Rhode Island State Archives, Providence, Rhode Island.

“Regimental Book,” Rhode Island Regiment, 1781 - 1783, Microfilm Section, Rhode Island State Archives,
Providence, Rhode Island.


Israel Angell, "Diary of Colonel Israel Angell," New York Times Reprint, 1971 (Original Manuscript Transcribed
by Edward Field; Published by Preston and Rounds Co., Providence, R.I., 1899)

Benjamin Cowell, “Spirit of ‘76 in Rhode Island: or Sketches of the Efforts of the Government and
People in the War of the Revolution.” Boston: A. J. Wright (Printer), 1850

Catherine Williams, "Biography of Revolutionary Heroes containing the Life of Brig. Gen. William Barton
and also, of Captain Stephen Olney," published by the author, Providence, R.I., 1839

"Journal of Ebenezer Wild," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2nd Series, Vol. VI,
October 1890, pp. 130 - 157.

Sidney S. Rider, “Rhode Island Historical Tracts # 10: An Historical Enquiry Concerning the Attempt to
Raise a Regiment of Slaves by Rhode Island during the War of the Revolution,” Providence Press
Company, Printers, 1880.


Website: "Rhode Island Historical Society Library Manuscripts Division: Revolutionary War Military Records":
http://www.rihs.org/mssinv/Mss673sg2.htm

Website: "Captain Tew's Company of Colonel Angell's Regiment" Reenactment Group with Regt. History:
http://home.comcast.net/~fredra/2ndrir.html

Website: "Lafayette's Virginia Campaign (1781):" http://xenophongroup.com/mcjoynt/laf_va.htm

Website: "George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress" (includes Washington's General Orders):
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/gwhome.html

Website: "The Virginia Campaign and the Blockade and Siege of Yorktown 1781" by Colonel H.L. Landers, 1931
(Available on U.S. Army Center of Military History) Website:
http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/RevWar/Yorktown/AWC-Ytn-fm.htm


Daniel M. Popek, "They '...fought bravely, but were unfortunate:' The True Story of Rhode Island's 'Black
Regiment' and the Failure of Segregation in Rhode Island's Continental Line, 1777-1783," AuthorHouse, 2015;
a new book on Rhode Island's Continental Line written by an Army Brat native of Rhode Island.