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Captured and killed, Aug. 1781, "Lochry's Defeat"-18k

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Captured and killed, Aug. 1781, "Lochry's Defeat"-18k

J. Longley (View posts)
Posted: 1085047625000
Classification: Query
August 21, 22 and 24, 1781, Ohio River and mouth of the Wabash River, present-day Lawrence County, Indiana


The sixth year of the Revolutionary war was perilous on the western frontier. British Rangers and their indigenous allies operated at will from Detroit and Niagara into the Mohawk Valley, west and central Pennsylvania, present West Virginia and against Kentucky settlements.

With Fort Pitt vulnerable while Continental and many State troops were occupied in the South and East, Gen. George Rogers Clark persuaded Virginia authorities and Gen. Washington that Clark should lead an attack on Detroit. Gathering resources in men, arms and supplies proved more dream than reality in the course of several months' planning and negotiations. Finally Clark decided to risk an expedition at least into Ohio country, gathering about 400 Virginia troops and militia to rendezvous at Ft. Henry (present Wheeling). At least 100 Pennsylvania recruits from the Ft. Pitt vicinity of old Westmoreland County were expected to join them by July 24.

The Pennsylvanians under Col. Archibald Lochry, Lieutenant of Westmoreland County, took longer to form than was hoped. They left Pittsburgh on July 25 in 5 Companies in a force of about 80. At Ft. Henry they learned that Clark's body had left and set another rendezvous point down the Ohio. Col. Lochry's group arrived at the second point to find that Clark had again moved on, both groups short of supplies and weary of trying to slog along shore and manage boats and horses. Col. Lochry and his men nonetheless continued downriver, hoping to catch up with the main body.

Accounts vary as to how a group from Gen. Clark's force under Maj. Charles Crecraft was taken on the Ohio August 21, a few with Capt. Shannon were taken on the next day, and how exactly most of a Company that had deserted Clark's group made its way upriver only to encounter Lochry's men. But on August 24, near the mouth of the Wabash River, most of this body went ashore and some remained on a boat or raft on the River.

A British account sums up the ensuing ambush:

Letter, Guy Johnson to His Excellency General Haldimand, Niagara, 18th Septr. 1781: ". . . . I have received agreable intelligence from several Indian partys, and some are returned . . . The other party with Capt. Skerop is still out, but the most material intelligence will be transmitted by Brig'r. Powell respecting the Success of the Indians on Ohio with Capt. Brant who fell upon a part of Clark's Troops killed 37 [and] took 64 in the former of which was the Comman'g Officer, [and] in the latter a Major [and] several Officers, and as Mr. McKee has now Joyned, [and] they are become about 700, They will probably defeat Mr. Clarks intentions who by the Papers taken seems to be but poorly Supported. . . ." (_Haldimand Papers, British Library Additional Manuscripts_ #21,767, folio 226, excerpt transcribed by the undersigned).

Gen. Clark's force turned back. Clark and at least some of his force sojourned in Kentucky (then part of Virginia) for some time. Gen. Clark's _Orderly Book_ for the expedition period, dated July 8, 1781- November 18, 1782, is among the Lyman C. Draper manuscripts, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, document 63J1-129.

The following document is not titled in the manuscript, but its subject is identifiable by the names listed and by the capture dates given in prisoner-of-war records (see below). Lower-case letter prefixes, added by the transcriber, indicate which of the seven sub-commands each man belonged to (see below). Some are listed without prefixes; they were either command/field staff or not allocated to a unit in available material.

A part of a name in brackets [ ] is supplied by Lt. Anderson's list or POW lists (see below). Significant name variants in parentheses ( ) are from Capt. Stokely's list (see below).

* * * * * * * * * *

1. Colo. [Archibald] Lochry
b 2. Capt. William Campbell
3. Ensn. Relph [Ephraim Ralph]
4. Ensn. Maxwell
5. Ensn. [Daniel] Cahel
c 6. Serjt. [Hugh] Galaher (3)
f 7. Serjt. [Samuel] Evans
e 8. Serjt. Ebenezer Burris
d 9. Serjt. [Jno] Fursyth
d 10. Serjt. [Jas] Blask [Black]
b 11. Sgt. [William] Allison
c 12. Corpl. [Isaac] Paton
c 13. [Corpl.] John Gibson
c 14. John Young
c 15.Robert Dougan
c 16. John Straiton
c 17. John Burns
c 18. W'm Hudson
c 19. John Pheasant
f 20. Zenis Hardon
f 21. John Miligan
f 22. John Corn
f 23. Mathew Lamb
d 26. W'm Cain
d 27. Adam Ervin [Erwin]
d 28. Peter McLin
d 29. Archibald Askin [Erskin]
g 30. David Elinger [Allinger] (Dilinger) (1,3,4)
g 31. George Butcher
g 32. Peter Bareckman
g 33. Josia(s) Brooks
g 34. John Row
g 35. Jonas Peter
g 36. Ja's McRight
b 37. John McKinley

a 1. Major [Charles] Craigraft [Crecraft], VA/PA, 30
c 2. Capt. Thomas Stokely, PA, 27
d 3. Capt. [Robert] Orr, 30
e 4. Capt. Samuel Shannon
c 5. Lt. [Jos.] Robinson
f 6. Lt. Isaac Anderson
d 7. Lt. [Samuel] Craig, 22
b 8. Lt. [Jas.] (John) Scott
g 9. Lt. [Mel(k)r] Baker, VA, 35
d 10. Ens. [Patrick] Hunter, PA, 22
11. Adjt. [John] Guthrie
12. Qrmr. [Richard] Wallace
c 13. Serjt. Jno Trimble
f 14. Serjt. [Norman] McCloud
15. Patrick Johnson
c 16. Richard Fleming, VA, 29
c 17. Robert Watson, PA, 22
c 18. Abram Anderson
c 19. Michael Ha(i)re, PA, 33
c 20. William Mar(r)s
c 21. John Sence
c 22. Mic'l Miller
c 23. Patrick Murphy
c 24. Joseph Baily
c 24. James Cain
c 25. John Smith
f 25. Ja's McPherson
f 26. William Martial (Marshal), VA, (4)
f 27. Peter Conoly
f 28. John Farrel
f 29. Denis McCarty
e 30. Solomon Atkin [Aikens], PA, 21
e 31. John Lavear
e 32. Mathias [Josias] Fisher, PA, 21
e 33. George Dice [(Hice)], VA, 21 (3,4)
e 34. John Porter, PA, 30
e 35. John Smith, PA, 20
d 36. Ad'm Oury
d 37. Sam'l [Campbell] Lefever, 22
d 38. John Hunter
d 39. Joseph Ervin (Capt. Irwin), 50 (4)
d 40. Manassa Coyl [Kile], PA, 23
d 41. Hugh Stear
g 42. John Cat, VA, 24
g 43. Volantine Lawrence
g 44. Jacob Lawrence, 20
g 45. Christian Fast
g 46. Charles McLin [(McGinn)], PA, 26 (3,4)
g 47. W'm Roach [Roark], PA, 22
g 48. Henry France [Franks]
g 49. Ab'm Highly, VA, 20
g 50. George Mason, PA, 23
b 51.W'm Witherenton, PA, 21
b 52. Cairy Cuighly [Quigley], PA, 25
a 53. Tho's James
a 54. Tho's Atkison
a 55. John Stackhouse
a 56. William Clark, VA, 26
a 57. Eliha [Elihu] Risley
b 58. Ja's Dunseith
59. Daniel Cain
b 60. William Hurst, PA, 22
b 61. Robert Wilson
b 62. Isaac [Ezekiel] Lewis, PA, 22
a 63. Alex'r Burns, VA, 45
d 64. Hugh More, PA, 33

Prisr's 64

A true Copy
A't S. DePeyster

* * * * * * * * * *

Source Notes
Thanks to Rick Toothman for pointing to the Kentucky Historical Society source and to Chris McHenry's book on this episode. Thanks also to Brian Core for help with the Kentucky source.

The principal source of the above list is British Library, _Additional Manuscripts, Gen. Frederick Haldimand Papers_: #21,845, folio 125, copy of list of the killed and captured made by British Maj. Arent S. DePeyster in Detroit, transcribed from microfilm by the undersigned. Microfilm was kindly supplied by the Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa. Another transcript of Maj. DePeyster's list was published in _National Genealogical Society Quarterly_, September, 1928.

Maj. DePeyster's list is curiously detailed as to identities of both the captured and killed. The other accounts of killed and captured in various actions out of Detroit and Niagara occasionally highlight well- known officers, but otherwise only list numbers of scalps, killed, captives taken and civilians released. It is labeled a "true Copy" of a list not otherwise identified. How it came into Gen. Haldimand's hands is unknown. No correspondence transmitting the list to Headquarters has been found. Since it lists those killed as well as many captives who were not documented by the Commissary of Prisons, it cannot be presumed to have been transmitted with a group of prisoners taken to Quebec. Since it includes among those killed Sgt. Ebenezer Burris, who according to Lt. Anderson was killed in an accident before the ambush, it must have been compiled with active co-operation of the survivors, especially officers. Since it is a very impressive list of one of the largest groups of Rebels taken outside a settlement-fortification setting, possibly it was kept as a private memorandum of that fact, perhaps even by Joseph Brant. It may have been seen as a counterpoint to the still-captive British troops surrendered by Burgoyne.

Maj. DePeyster's list is here supplemented by captured Pennsylvania Officers' Commissions in British Library's _Haldimand Papers, Additional Manuscripts_, #21,842, folios 188 (Ens. Patrick Hunter, Westmoreland County PA Militia, 10 June 1780), 190 (Lt. Joseph Robinson, Capt. William Campbell's Light Dragoon Troop, 1 Aug. 1781) and 221 (Lt. John Scott, Capt. Thomas Stokely's Company of PA Rangers, Aug. 1781), that provided accurate first names and unit identifications.

Age and place of residence for some captives are from lists of prisoners-of-war held in Quebec in British Library's _Haldimand Papers, Additional Manuscripts_ #21,843, especially folios 213, 279-281, 289-293 and 295-296, Prisoner-of-war lists from the Commissary of Prisons, Montreal. The prisoners were taken to Sandusky, most were then taken on to Detroit, and 39 of the 64 captives were sent to Quebec. The lists were generated as persons were brought in, moved or exchanged, with periodic overall lists of rations to account for. The undersigned read and largely transcribed these before the happy discovery that Chris McHenry had published a slightly abridged transcript of most of these lists in _Rebel Prisoners at Quebec 1778-1783_ (Lawrenceburg, IN: By the author, 1981), with admirably few errors and omissions.

According to a footnote in Reuben G. Thwaites and Louise Kellogg, eds., _Frontier Defense on the Upper Ohio, 1777-1778_, Capt. Shannon escaped from Sandusky and reached a hill opposite Wheeling, where he was retaken by a "marauding Indian" and tomahawked (Madison, WI: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1912; reprinted by Heritage Books, 1993; pp. 46-47).

The original document lists men mainly by Company, without identifying the arrangement. The inferred Company identifications are supplemented by the captured Commissions, above, and by the list of Isaac Anderson, from his _Diary August 1, 1781-July 16, 1782_, Cincinnati Historical Society Manuscript Collection; a photocopy and transcript or the _Diary_ is in McHenry, _The Best Men of Westmoreland_ (Lawrenceburg, IN: By the author, 1981). Lt. Anderson escaped from Montreal with Qmr. Wallace on May 26, 1782, and reached Philadelphia on July 2, 1782. Anderson provided a copy of this list and first- hand news of the expedition to the Supreme Executive Council; the list was poorly transcribed and published in the _Pennsylvania Archives, First Series_. A transcript of Lt. Anderson's _Diary_ is among Lyman Draper's manuscripts, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, document 13J52-64. It was also published in James McBride, _Pioneer Biography_ (Cincinnati, OH: 1869-1871) I:278-287. Lt. Anderson's list omitted a few men listed in Maj. DePeyster's copy, but added some not in DePeyster's list: two men he attributed to Capt. Robert Orr's Company: Jno Stewart and Jos. Crawford, both said to have been killed, and Pvt. John Allenton, attributed to Capt. Stokely's Company. Lt Anderson's allocation of men to units is denoted in the above transcript by letter prefixes: a = Major Crecraft's; b = Capt. Campbell's; c = Capt. Stokely's; d = Capt. Orr's; e = Capt. Shannon's; f = Capt. William Shearer's under Lt. Anderson; g = Capt. Michael Catt's under Lt. Baker.

Capt. Thomas Stokely's list of men he remembered in Lt. Baker's command, dated June 7, 1813, (source not given), is transcribed in Chris McHenry, _The Best Men of Westmoreland_.

Another list of Capt. Catt's Company is transcribed and published as a Pay Roll from the George Rogers Clark Illinois Papers in the Virginia State Library: Margery Heberling Harding, comp., _George Rogers Clark and His Men_ (Frankfort, KY: Kentucky Historical Society, 1988, Document Miscellaneous 15, p. 97). It identifies the unit as "Capt. Michael Catt's Compy in the Volunteer Regiments Commanded by Colo. Zacquille Morgan, Raised for the Western Expedition under the Command of Brigadier General Clark," and is dated "from the time of joining the Army (June y. 28th 1781) until the 13th day of August following." This roster includes a few men not involved in the incidents that resulted in the above lists (Capt. Michael Catt, Ensn. Josiah Sanburn, Sergt. Wm. Murphy, Pvt. Jno. Vandiments and Pvt. John Smith) and has columns listing dates "When Deserted." The published version also has columns for "When taken by Colo. Lochry," "When Restored to arms," "When taken Prisoner in Battle," When Landed in the Jersies" and "When Dischgd.," information taken from sources other and later than the Pay Roll. Aside from the five men not involved in the above, all of this Company are listed as deserting on August 12 and being taken by Colo. Lochry on August 14. Note that an additional John Smith was killed and another by that name was captured. Some of the men of this Company at the time resided in present German, Georges and Nicholson Twps. of Fayette Co., PA, which Virginia considered to be within its Monongalia County until 1783; some resided in present Monongalia County, WV, and at least one resided in present Harrison Co., WV.

A Payroll of Capt. Stokely's Company of Westmoreland County Rangers, by James Nicholson, dated 17 July 1783, from Comptroller General's records, Pennsylvania Archives, Microfilm Roll 20, frame 1177, is transcribed in McHenry, _The Best Men of Westmoreland_. This supplements a few name identifications as noted above.

Of the survivors, the following applied for Pensions based on their Revolutionary War service: Thomas Stokely; Robert Orr; Isaac Anderson; Samuel Craig; Patrick Hunter; Michael Hair; James Kean; James McPherson; Denis McCarty; Mathias Fisher; George Hice; Adam Owry; Manassa Coyle; Hugh Stear; Jacob Lawrence; Christian Fast; William Roark; Henry Franks; Abram Hiley; George Mason; William Worthington; Cary Quigley; William Hurst; Ezekiel Lewis. The Company service of Lt. Craig and of Ens. Hunter are found there. Also of interest is the application file of Alexander Brandenburgh.

Microfilm of the _Haldimand Papers_ is commercially available.

* * * * * * * * * *

Transcribed and submitted by Judy Longley for fair use of researchers for personal use, with the hope of encouraging factual research into events on the western frontier. The transcriber hereby warns researchers that name-spellings herein are her best effort to render those as given in the source document and the above-described contemporaneous material. No claim is made that such spellings would correspond to those believed or adopted by relatives or descendants, past or present. Copyright 2004 by Judy Longley. Reproduction by any means or commercial use of this transcript or of the explanatory notes without permission is strictly prohibited. Any quotation must be credited to the transcriber as well as to the original sources of this compilation, transcription and explanatory notes.
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