State Society of the Cincinnati
OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
On 29th August, 1883.
WILMOT G. DeSAUSSURE,
CHARLESTON, S. C.
WALKER, EVANS & COGSWELL, PRINTERS.
Nos. 3 Broad and 109 East Bay Streets.
GENTLEMEN OF THE STATE SOCIETY
OF THECINCINNATI OF SOUTH CAROLINA:
You have been invited to assembly this evening to commemorate an interesting anniversary. On 29th August, 1783, at the first meeting held in Charleston, the State Society of the Cincinnati of South Carolina was organized, and its officers elected. We are met on this, the first centennial of the organization, to do reverence to the memories of those patriots, who, through disheartening trials, and severe privations, steadfastly adhered to the principles of liberty which led them into opposition to, and war with, one of the most powerful, if not the then most powerful, nation of the civilized world; whose courage and constancy through all such trials and privations, and whose stern refusal to listen to the blandishing invitations to return to British allegiance and favor, resulted in, and gave, independence to the United Colonies, making them free and independent States.
The citizens of the United States, who enjoy the liberties won by their clear perception of the rights of the people, and live under a free government by the people for the people, owe a reverent debt of gratitude to the memory of such patriots. We, the members of the Cincinnati Society, "instituted by the officers of the American army, at the period of its dissolution, as well to commemorate the great event which gave independence to North America, as for the laudable purpose of inculcating the duty of laying down in peace arms assumed for public defense, and of uniting in acts of brotherly, affection, and bonds of perpetual friendship the members constituting the same," peculiarly, perform but a pious duty, when we assemble to do reverence to their memories. The centennial of the institution in South Carolina makes this a fitting time, when we, the members of the South Carolina Society, should express our gratitude to, and reverence for, those brave and conscientious men. In the lengthening vista of time, in the growing consciousness of mankind as to the true principles of government, year by year, will grow more luminous the wisdom of those who perceived that to the governed belonged, as unalienable rights with which they are endowed by the Creator, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; "that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, when any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." And as in such growing consciousness, such wisdom becomes more luminous, the greater and greater will become the reverence for, and gratitude to, the men who perceived these true principles of government, and perceiving, mutually pledging to each other therefor, their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors.
It is not now necessary to consider the causes, which led to the opposition by the colonies; suffice it to say the motives were high and patriotic. Pacific remonstrance’s were the answered by defiance, and flowed by more arbitrary exaction’s. The seizure of the stamps, the destruction of the teas, the resolutions to consume home products, was regarded as acts of rebellion, to be crushed out by the military force. Boston was heavily garrisoned, and coercive, military aggression was threatened. Delegates from the colonies were assembled in Congress to deliberate upon the proper course to be pursued. The delegates, and the people f the colonies, yet hoped for a redress of their grievances, and scarcely contemplated separation from, and independence of, the mother country. Even so late as 26th March, 1776, the colonial Congress of South Carolina, in the temporary constitution then adopted, declared it a temporary act "until the accommodation of the unhappy differences between Great Britain and America can be obtained (an event which, through traduced and treated as rebels, we still earnestly desire)." But while so gathered in deliberation, the commanding officer in Boston, carrying out the coercive military policy of his government saw fit to send Lieut. Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn, with troops, to seize the military stores gathered by the authorities of the colony of Massachusetts for the defense. In the gray dawn of that memorable 19th April, 1775, when Major Pitcairn, upon the commons at Lexington, Massachusetts, ordered the company of minute men, barley about sixty in number, to disperse, and not being obeyed, fired upon this little handful of militia, killing Ensign Robert Munroe, and Private Jonas Parker, Isaac Muzzey, Jonathan Harrington, Samuel Hadley, John Brown, Caleb Harrington, and Asahel Porter, he inaugurated for his government a contest for a principle which will never cease until the axioms for government promulgated in the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, shall become the acknowledged, recognized ones which must prevail between the governments and the people of the world. And the blood shed by those brave men in that early morning, was the first in which was laid the cement for the mutual friendship, to perpetuate the remembrance of which, and of the great event to which it led, the Society of the Cincinnati was instituted. To these protomartyrs to the great principles of political liberty and equality we, not only as citizens of the North American Republic, but as lovers of our kind, owe so reverent a debt of gratitude that we would be recreant ingrates did we not at a fitting time express it. And we, as members of the Society instituted to perpetuate, not only the remembrance of the great event but to preserve the memories of the friendship formed by our ancestors under the pressure of a common danger, and, in many instances, cemented by their blood, would be untrue to the promises made to our forefathers, did we not, at such time as this, perform the pious duty of recalling the names and deeds of those gallant patriots. Gentlemen of the State Society of the Cincinnati of South Carolina, I invite you to rise, and with me bow in grateful, reverent homage to the memories of the protomartyrs in the cause of American Independence, Ensign Robert Munore, and Privates Jonas Parker, Isaac Muzzey, Jonathan Harrington, Samuel Hadley, John Brown, Caleb Harrington, and Asahel Porter.
Prior to this momentous event, the defense of American liberties had been conducted by the several colonies. Each had raised and equipped its own troops, and directed such movements as seemed best calculated to further the purposes for which such forces had been enrolled. Lexington was quickly followed by the beleaguerment of Boston, and it became so manifest that a war of magnitude had been entered upon, that the Continental Congress, on 15th June, 1775, "Resolved, That a general be appointed to command all the Continental forces raised, or to be raised, for the defense of American liberty. The Congress then proceeded to the choice of a general, by ballot, and George Washington, Esq., was unanimously elected." Gentlemen, you need no invitation to rise at this name; instinctively, you will do so, expressing in your hearts and countenances the inexpressible gratitude to, and reverence for, that pure patriot, that able commander, that wise counselor, that modest gentleman, to whom, Primus inter pares, it has been accorded by the American people, that he should be called "First in War, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen."
This appointment may be said to have been the inception of the army on the Continental establishment. Lossing, in the Field Book of the Revolution says: "The subject of the appointment had been informally discussed two or three days before, and John Adams had proposed the adoption of the Provincial troops at Boston as a Continental Army." General George Washington formally took command of the forces around Boston on the 3rd July, 1775, and on 4th July, 1775, issued an order, a part of which is as follows: "The Continental Congress having now taken all the troops of the several colonies which have been raised, or which may be hereafter raised, for the support and defense of the liberties of America, into their pay and service, they are now the troops of the United Provinces of North America; and it is hoped that all distinction of colonies will be laid aside, so that one and the same spirit may animate the whole, and the only contest be, who shall render, on this great and trying occasion, the most essential service to this great and common cause in which we are all engaged." I have not had access to any proceedings of the Continental Congress, and am unable to give the act, ordinance or resolution under which the colonial troops were taken into the Continental service. Nor have I been able to find the numbers of the regiments, the commanders, or officers. It seems to me, that the Society of Cincinnati owe it to one of the purposes of its institution, the perpetuation of the remembrance of that vast event, to endeavor to collect the regimental and other organizations which formed the Continental Army, with the names of as many of the officers attached to each, as is practicable, and to publish these in some form which will be permanent, and easy of access. We of this day are largely ignorant upon this subject, and know not even where to seek the information. Were it possible, it would be desirable to obtain a record of every man who composed that army. The private soldiers who bore the brunt of the war, whose bleeding feet stained the snows of the winter quarters at Valley Forge, and returned unpaid, to desolated homes, and cheerfully resumed the plough and other agricultural implements laid down in order to take up the musket and the sword in the defense, are as much entitled to our admiration and veneration, as the officer by whom they were led. This is impracticable, and the Cincinnati should endeavor to do as much as it can, by collecting and preserving the organizations and names of officers.
By the provisional articles between the United States and his Britannic Majesty, signed at Paris, on 30th November, 1782, "his Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz: New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, to be free, sovereign and independent States; that he treats with them as such." This terminated the long war of the Revolution. The army was not disbanded until a later period, but practically, the war was ended.
Savannah was evacuated by the British, on 11th July 1782; Charleston was evacuated on 14th December 1782; New York was not evacuated until 25th November 1783. A general treaty was signed at Paris on 20th January 1783, and on 17th April 1783, the Continental Congress issued a proclamation of a cessation of hostilities by sea and land. But so long as any part of the United States was occupied by British troops, the Continental army could not be disbanded, but under Washington’s advice, Congress passed a resolution granting him leave to issue furloughs as he thought proper. Acting under this resolution, he did grant many, enabling the troops to return home and prepare for the duties of civil life, but retaining a sufficient number in cantonment to meet any emergency which might arise. It was while things were in this condition, that the Society of the Cincinnati was instituted. In his Life Washington, Irving says: "The officers in the patriot camp on the Hudson were not without gloomy feelings at the thought of their approaching separation from each other. Eight years of dangers and hardships, shared in common and nobly sustained, had welded their hearts together, and made it hard to rend them asunder. Prompted by such feelings, General Knox, ever noted for generous impulses, suggested, as a mode of perpetuating the friendships thus formed, and keeping alive the brotherhood of the camp, the formation of a society composed of the officers of the army. The suggestion met with universal concurrence, and the hearty approbation of Washington. Meetings were held, at which Baron Steuben, as senior officer, presided. A plan was drafted by a committee composed of Generals Knox, Hand, Huntington, and Captain Shaw; (Captain Shaw is reputed to have drawn the plan), and the Society was organized at a meeting held on the 13th of May, at the Baron’s quarters in the old Verplanck House, near Fishkill. By its formula, the officers of the American army in the most solemn manner combined themselves into one Society of friends; to endure so long as they should endure, or any of their eldest male posterity, and in failure thereof, the collateral branches who might be judged worthy of becoming its supporters and members. In memory of the illustrious Roman, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus, who retired from war to the peaceful duties of the citizen, it was to be called ‘The Society of the Cincinnati.’ The objects proposed by it were to preserve inviolate the rights and liberties for which they had contended; to promote and cherish national honor and union between the States; to maintain brotherly kindness toward each other, and extend relief to such officers and their families as might stand in need of it. Individuals of the respective States, distinguished for patriotism and talents, might be admitted as honorary members for life; their numbers never to exceed a ratio of one to four. Washington was unanimously chosen to officiate as President of it, until the first general meeting, to be held in May, 1784."
It was under such circumstances, and for such purely patriotic and friendly purposes, that in the Cantonment on the Hudson, on 10th of May, 1783, the Society of Cincinnati was purposed; on the 13th of May, 1783, was instituted by a declaration of the objects of its institution; and on the 10th of June, 1783, organized, by "Resolved, That his Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief, be requested to officiate, as President-General, until the first general meeting, to be held in May next," by the election of a Treasurer-General and a secretary-general, and the adoption of the badge, or order, called for in the institution.
The country having just emerged from a long and exhaustive war, one object of which had been the establishment of republican equality as contra-distinguished from any privileged class or order, the institution of a society, admission to which was confided to a comparatively small number, and made hereditary, and the adoption of a distinguishing badge, or order, naturally gave rise to apprehension. The Society of Cincinnati was violently assailed, and denounced as being dangerous to the young republican liberty. Inflammatory pamphlets were written in one part of the country; in another, ridicule was sought to be thrown on the society; in another, sturdy patriots, whose names were and still are dear to the American citizens, sought, by what they deemed valid reasoning, to show how the republican equality of the citizens might be endangered. I do not mean to say that those who thus assailed and denounced the Cincinnati were influenced by the cause presently to be mentioned, but I do mean to say, that the men who most determinedly opposed it, were men, who according to the institution, were not entitled to membership.
Writing of the Cincinnati, McMaster, in his History of the People of the United States, says: "The verdict of posterity has long since acquitted the founders of the Cincinnati of any evil designs against the life of the State. But it would have been a hard task to have brought to this mind the men, who, in 18783, heard with mingled feelings of alarm and disgust, that a military order had been established, that its honors had been made hereditary, that Frenchmen had been admitted to its ranks, that a petition had been laid at the foot of the throne, had been graciously received, and that the Eagle and the blue ribbon of the Cincinnati were daily to be seen in the proudest of courts, where no subject had ever before been permitted to wear the decorations of a foreign State. Scarcely a larger share of public attention is now enjoyed by the society than is bestowed on many social and literary clubs which from time to time hold receptions and gave dinners to guests from over the sea."
So great had been the popular clamor in regard to the society, that at the first general meeting, held at Philadelphia, on Tuesday, 4th of May, 1784, "The President then arose; expressed the opposition of the State of Virginia and other States; observed that it had become violent and formidable, and called for serious consideration; desired the members of the several States to declare the ideas which prevailed in their countries with regard to our institution, and the various manners which they had pursued to obtain this knowledge."
The delegates to the States Societies who were present successively stated the opinions of the people of their several States. In every one of the States, except New York and Georgia, the feeling against the Society was announced as decided.
"The President General arose and acknowledged the information from all the States; endeavored to prove the disagreeable consequences which would result to the members of the Cincinnati from preserving the institution in its present form; illustrated the force and strength of the opposition to it in a variety of examples, supported by his own knowledge, and information from confidential friends: proposed, as the most exceptionable parts, and that require alteration in their very essence, the following, viz: the hereditary part, interference with politics, honorary members, increase of funds from donations, and the damage which would be the result to community from the influence they would give us; declared that, was it not for the connection we stood in with the very distinguished foreigners in this institution, he would propose to the Society to make one great sacrifice more to the world, and abolish the order altogether, the charitable part excepted; that, considering the connection which we stood in with France, the particular situation in which our Society had placed some of their officers, he was willing, provided we could fall on a middle way, that would neither lead us to be displeasing of them, or encouraging the jealousies and suspicions of our countrymen, to adopt it. But he doubted if this was possible; and if it should so appear on a full investigation, he was determined at all events to withdraw his name from amongst us.
From the journals of that meeting, it would appear that the General Society adopted, and proposed for adoption by the State Societies, such modifications as would remove the objections which had been made. It would also appear that the proposed modifications were never adopted by the State Societies. Meanwhile, the clamor against the Cincinnati abated; it became evident that, so far from endangering the public liberties, it served rather to keep alive the memories of the principles for which the war of the Revolution was fought. And it became recognized, and is now recognized, as a purely patriotic, historical institution, whose aim is to perpetuate the remembrance of the great event which gave liberty to the American States; to keep alive the friendships formed by our forefathers under the pressure of a common danger, and, in many instances, cemented by their blood; and a determination to promote and cherish between the respective States, "that union and national honor so essentially necessary to their happiness and the future dignity of the American Empire."
Who remembers that touching scene in New York, on Thursday, 4th December 1783, where "the principle officers of the army, yet remaining in service, assembled at Faunce’s, to take a final leave of their beloved chief? Washington entered the room where they were all waiting, and taking a glass of wine in his hand, he said, "With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glourious and honorable." Having drunk, he continued, "I cannot come to each of you to take my leave, but shall be obliged to you if each will come and take me by the hand." Knox, who stood nearest to him, turned and grasped his hand, and while the tears flowed down the checks of each, the Commander-in-Chief kissed him. This he did to each of his officers, while tears and sobs stifled utterance. Washington soon left the room, and passing through corps of Light Infantry, he walked in silence to Whitehall, followed by a vast procession, and at two o’clock entered a barge to proceed to Paulus’ Hook on his way to lay his commission at the feet of Congress at Annapolis. When he entered his barge, he turned to the people, took off his hat, and waved a silent adieu to the tearful multitude; "who, it is repeated, that remembers this parting, can doubt with what strong attachment Washington regarded the Society of the Cincinnati? Who that has read Washington’s letter to Barton, in 1788, in which he says: "I make these observations with the greater freedom, because I have once been a witness to what I conceived to have been a most unreasonable prejudice against an innocent institution, I mean the Society of the Cincinnati. I was conscious that my own proceedings on the subject were immaculate. I was also convinced that the members, actuated by motives of sensibility, charity and patriotism, were doing a laudable thing in erecting that memorial of their common services, and friendships," can doubt the purity of feeling with which he became associated with the Cincinnati? Assured then, of his attachment to the Institution, and the purity of feeling which induced his association with it, how grand and patriotic was his declaration, that if the popular apprehension could not be allayed, "he would propose to the Society to make one great sacrifice more to the world, and abolish the order altogether."
Upon this centennial of the organization of the State Society of the Cincinnati of South Carolina, it would be in interesting to trace the history of the General Society, and of the several State Societies, during the century; but it would weary you were it attempted at this our social gathering, even if I had the ability to do so. An abler voice, and at a more fitting time, should take up the subject, and place upon a permanent record the history of one of the most purely patriotic and historical Orders which the world has ever known.
I invite your attention, gentlemen of the South Carolina Society, on this occasion, more particularly to the memories of those brave men who became of the Continental establishment in South Carolina, and to the organization and continuance of the Cincinnati, as a State Society, in South Carolina during such century.
At the first meeting of the South Carolina Society of the Cincinnati, at Charleston, on the 29th August 1883, the following officers were elected, viz:
Major-General William Moultrie, President
Brigadier-General Isaac Huger, Vice-President
Major Thomas Pinckney, Secretary
Captain Charles Lining, Treasurer
Lieutenant James Kennedy, Assistant Treasurer
Lieutenant Samuel Beekman, Steward
John Sandford Dart, Esq, Steward
And on 6th October 1883, the following were appointed as the Standing Committee:
Colonel Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Colonel Barnard Beekman
Lieut. -Col. Wm. Washington
Major Robert Forsyth
Captain Felix Warley
Lieutenant Charles Brown
Doctor David Oliphant
The loss of our records forbids us from saying who assisted at the organization, and the original roll of members, happily preserved, does not aid in informing us. Our printed list of members is copied from that roll as nearly in order as practicable, but the roll was not signed in columns, and hence it is very conjectural in what order, or at what dates, the original roll was signed.
The newspapers of that day contain no reference to the organization, nor any advertisement for a meeting. It may, therefore, be supposed that the meeting was held upon notice to those entitled to be present. The earliest paper notice which I have found, is the following, in the Carolina Gazette of the 6th of July, 1784, viz:
"By Order Of The President.
"An extra general meeting of the Society of the Cincinnati established in this State, will be held at the City Tavern, on Tuesday, the 27th inst., at ten o’clock in the morning, when the members are requested to attend punctually at said hour.
"5th of July, 1784."
In the Columbia Herald, of the 4th of July, 1785, appears as follows:
"Anniversary Of The Cincinnati.
"The Anniversary of the Society of the Cincinnati, established in this State, will be celebrated on Monday, the 4th day of July inst., at the City Tavern.
"Dinner on the table at three o’clock.
"Henry Collins Flagg,
"William Smith Stevens,
In the Colombian Herald, and Gazette of the State of South Carolina, of the 6th of July, 1785, under the head of local news, notice is taken of the parade of troops, and it adds, "His Excellency, the Governor (attended by many gentlemen) reviewed the whole under arms, being drawn up from the State House down Broad Street. And, afterwards, gave an elegant entertainment at the City Tavern, to a number of gentlemen, among them the Consul and vice-consul of his most Christian Majesty, the officers, civil and military, of the State, the members of the Cincinnati Society, and several strangers," &c.
In the Evening Gazette of the 5th of July, 1786, under the local head, in noticing the celebration of the 4th of July, it is said: "The members of the Cincinnati and South Carolina Society dined at the City Tavern."
The above are all the notices able to find, up to that time. Whether this was in consequence of the meager notices at that period, of locale events; or to the custom which, then. largely prevailed, of summoning members to society meeting by personal summoning members to society meeting by personal summons rather than by public advertisement; or to the disinclination of the Society to obtrude itself on public notice, in consequence of the popular clamor; it is impracticable now to tell.
In 1787, the popular clamor appears to have greatly subsided, and the Cincinnati had a public celebration, which is noticed in the Morning Post of the 5th of July, 1787, as follows: "The Society of the Cincinnati assembled at the President’s house, and from thence walked to St. Michael’s Church, where a most excellent sermon, where a most excellent sermon, adapted to the great and eventful, was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Purcell. The society then paid their respects to the Governor, at his house; from whence they adjourned to the City Tavern, and after the business was over, they dined and spent the remainder of the day with the utmost hilarity."
On the centennial day of the organization in South Carolina, it has seemed to me, that it would interest you, to learn something of the institution of the Society, and the earlier account, so far as it can be now be gathered, of our State Society. But there is a duty which rests upon us, and to which your attention is invited. It is to put in some permanent shape, an account of what troops of South Carolina were upon the Continental establishment, and to tell something of those who have presided over our State Society.
I have sought in vain, to find some official record, which would give me the troops on the Continental establishment from this and the other thirteen States. There are records in the State Department at Washington, which would give much information, but they have never, to the best of my knowledge, been published, and from some idea of State policy are so jealously guarded from public examination, as to be practically sealed books. Desiring to obtain a list for the archives of this Society, of the South Carolina troops, application was made to the Department; a very courteous reply was received, in which it was said: "I regret to state that the communication of such information would be contrary to the established rules of the Department governing the archives. Facts concerning the military services of the officers and soldiers of the Revolution can only be made known to the legal heirs of the same. This restriction it is deemed necessary to maintain until there shall be fixed by Congress a limitation as to the time when claims relative to the Revolution can be presented." Debarred from authentic, official records, by this answer, the committee which prepared the pamphlet published in 1881, endeavored as far as practicable to make out a list of the regiments, &c., furnished by South Carolina. Upon this occasion, it will be of interest to give some additional information.
Prior to the battle of Lexington, following the plan indicated by the Congress, which assembled at Philadelphia, the several Colonies had called Provisional Congresses. So long as the Colonies acted under the Royal form of government, the Governors, who appointees of the British Crown were able to prevent, if they could not control legislation, cramped their Legislative assemblies. The Provincial Congress being composed of delegates from the peoples of the Colonies, and without the counteracting control of the Royal Governors, were able to do those revolutionary acts which could not be done through the Legislative Assemblies. Such a Provincial Congress had been called in South Carolina; it assembled on 11th January 1775, and unanimously chose Colonel Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, as its president. Various acts were done by it in the way of remonstrance to the British acts of aggression, and on 17th January 1775, presented to Lieutenant-Governor William Bull, who declined to recognize the Congress. Upon his declining to do so, the Congress adopted, on 17th January 1775, the following resolution:
Resolved, That it be recommended by this Congress to all the inhabitants of this Colony, that they be diligently attentive in learning the use of arms; and that their officers be requested to train and exercise them, at least, once a fortnight."
And the Congress adjourned until it shall be summoned to convene by the Charles Town General Committee.
Things were in this condition, "when, on the 19th day of April, war was declared against America, by the British troops firing upon the inhabitants of Lexington, an account of which flew over the whole continent, and now all hopes of a reconciliation were at an end, and recourse to arms was the only and last resort." In consequence of the battle of Lexington, the General Committee immediately summoned the Provincial Congress to meet on the first day of June.
The reasons given for their call were:
The Provincial Congress assembled on the appointed day, "on our first meeting they determined upon a defensive war; and the forth day it was resolved to raise two regiments of five hundred men each. The day after the officers of the first and second regiments of foot were balloted for, it was resolved to raise a regiment of cavalry rangers of five hundred men."
The officers elected were:
Field Officers of the First Regiment: Christopher Gadsen, Colonel; Isaac Huger, Lieutenant Colonel; Owen Roberts, Major.
Field Officers of the Second Regiment: William Moultrie, Colonel; Isaac Motte, Lieutenant Colonel; Alexander McIntosh, Major.
Captains of the First and Second Regiments: Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Barnard Elliott, Francis Marion, William Cattell, Peter Horry, Daniel Horry, Adam McDonald, Thos. Lynch, William Scott, John Barnwell, Nicholas Eveleigh, James McDonald, Isaac Harleston, Thomas Pinckney, Francis Huger, William Mason, Edmund Hyrne, Roger Parker Sanders, Charles Motte, Benjamin Cattell.
First Lieutenantsin the First and Second Regiments: Anothy Ashby, James Ladson, Richard Singleton, Thomas Elliott, William Oliphant, John Vanderhorst, Robert Armstrong, John Blake, Glen Drayton, Richard Shubrick, Richard Fuller, Thomas Lesesne, Benjamin Dickinson, William Charnock, John Mowatt, Joesph Ion, James Peronneau, John A. Walter, Thomas Moultrie, Alexander McQueen.
Field Officers of the Regiment of Rangers: William Thomson, Lieutenant Colonel; James Mayson, Major.
Captains of Rangers: Samuel Wise, Eli Kershaw, Edward Richardson, Ezekiel Polk, Robert Goodwin, Thomas Woodward, John Caldwell, Moses Kirkland, John Purvis.
First Lieutenants of the Regiment of Rangers: John Lewis, P. Imhoff, Charles Heatley, Alexander Cameron, Richard Winn, John Donaldson, Hugh Middleton, Lewis Dutarque, Francis Boykin, Samuel Watson.
The foregoing is collated from Moultrie’s and Ramsey’s War of the Revolution in South Carolina.
As a matter of course, as the war progressed, many additional officers were added to these regiments, and appointments made in the additional organizations which where raised. It is impracticable to give all of their names, but as many have been collected as possible, from various sources, and are given in the pamhlet reported by the Committee, and published by the Society in 1881.
The Regiment of Rangers was subsequently known as the Third Regiment.
When these regiments were raised, there was in existence in Charleston an organized military corps of many years standing, known as the Charleston Battalion of Artillery, consisting of two companies, and officered as follows: Thomas Grimball, Jr., Major; Thomas Heyward, Jr., and Edward Rutledge, Captains; Anthony Toomer, Charles Warham, Daniel Stevens, and Benjamin Wilkins, Lieutenants.
The threatening appearance in 1775 also called into existence in Charleston another military organization, the German Fusiliers, officered by Alexander Gillon, Michael Kattiesen, Boquet, and Dupont.
These two organizations were never upon the Continental establishment, but their gallant services entitle them to be noticed on this occasion. Until the siege and capitulation of Charleston, in 1780, they were constantly called upon for active military service. At the Battle of Port Royal Ferry, the Artillery bore an arduous and honorable part. The German Fusiliers also acted most gallantly at the battle. Subsequently, at the siege of Savannah, the German Fusiliers formed a part of the storming party led by Colonel John Laurens against the Spring Hill redoubt, and their determined courage was evinced by the fact that Charles Shepheard, their Captain, and Joseph Kimmel, their First Lieutenant, were left dead upon the field of battle, together with a number of members of the Company.
At the siege of Charleston, in 1780, both of these organizations were conspicuous, the Artillery manning the works at the town gate. With the capitulation, they became prisoners of war.
What has just been said of the Charleston Battalion of Artillery and the German Fusileers is an episode, and, properly, has nothing to do with the purpose for which we are assembled. Yet I should not say this, for all the soldiers who contribution to achieve American Independence should be in especial reverence by the members of the Cincinnati Society, and whether such soldiers upon the Continental establishment, or in State service, it is the grateful duty of so purely an historical, patriotic society as ours to commemorative their services, and seek to preserve a record which will transmit them to posterity.
The Provincial Congress, having at this June session ordered the raising of the above stated regiments, supplemented their proceedings by appointing a council of safety, to which was entrusted the administration of affairs during the recess of Congress. In the proceedings of this Council of Safety will be found a large number of names of the officers of the three regiments above recorded, to whom commissions were issued.
The Provincial Congress reassembled on 1st November, 1775, and on the 13th November, 1775, "Resolved, That as there is a great want of men to manage and fire the artillery in Fort Johnson and the other fortifications now erected and such batteries as it may hereafter be thought necessary to erect, a regiment of artillery be forthwith raised and embodied, to serve either garrisons or otherwise, by land or water, as the service of the colony may require, to consist of three companies of one hundred men each, including noncommissioned officers and gunners."
On 14th November 1775, the following were elected officers of the Regiment of Artillery:
Lieutenant Colonel Commandant, Owen Roberts, Esq. Major, Hon. Barnard Elliott.
Captains Barnard Beekman, Esq; Charles Drayton, Esq.; Sims White, Esq.
Paymaster, Paul Townshend, Esq.
Surgeon, John Budd, Esq.
Additional commissions for the officers in the regiment will also be found in the proceedings of the Council of Safety.
On 17th November, it was "Resolved, That the Regiment of Artillery now to be raised and embodied, be the fourth Regiment in the service of the colony; and that officers of equal rank in the four regiments in the colony service, shall take precedence according to the dates of their respective commissions."
In March 1776, the Provincial Congress resolved to raise two regiments of riflemen:
Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Huger is appointed Colonel of the 1st Regiment.
Major Alexander McIntosh is appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the 1st Regiment.
Benjamin Huger, Esq., is appointed Major of the 1st Regiment.
Captains: Hezekiah Maham, Benjamin Tutt, George Cogdell, William Richardson, John Brown, Francis Prince, David Anderson, Thomas Potts (Ramsey omits David Anderson and Thomas Potts, and in their places puts Richard Richardson, Jr., William Henderson, John Bowie).
Officers of the 2nd Regiment of Riflemen: Thomas Sumpter, Esq., and Lieutenant Colonel.
William Henderson, Esq., Major.
Captains: James Duff, Richardson, Jr., Samuel Taylor, George Wage, and William Brown.
On the 26th of March 1776, the Provincial Congress adopted a Constitution, by which the form of government became changed from a Province into an independent State, choosing its own Legislative and Privy Council, President and other State officers. From thenceforth, the Acts as they appear upon the Statute books, are those of the State government; the first being "An ordinance for making dispositions of money for the support of government, and to enable His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief of South Carolina, for the time being, to exercise certain powers, in manner therein mentioned," signed by the Speaker of the Legislative Council, the Speaker of the General Assembly, and assented to in Privy Council on the 6th of April, 1776, by John Rutledge, first President of the State of South Carolina.
On the 11th of April, 1776, an ordinance relative to the duties of Muster-Master-General was passed, "That the Muster-Master-General, or his deputy, shall muster each respective regiment, independent company and detachment of regular forces of this Colony, and each ship’s crew in the service thereof, not less than once in every three months," &c.
In the General Assembly held under such Constitution, on the 20th of September, 1776, it was "Resolved, That this House do acquiesce in the resolutions of the Continental Congress of the 18th of June, and the 24th of July last, relative to the putting of the two regiments of infantry, the regiment of rangers, the regiment of artillery, and the two regiments of riflemen in the service of this State, upon the Continental establishment."
Of this resolve, General Moultrie says, "by this resolve, the South Carolina officers came into the Continental line as youngest officers of their different ranks."
It will thus be seen that South Carolina placed upon the Continental establishment, certainly, six regiments of troops of different arms, not later than the 20th of September 1776. That such was the fact is further evinced by an Act of the 28th of March, 1778, a part of the preamble to which is, "Whereas, a regard for our own welfare, and the interests of America, renders it indispensably necessary that the six regiments of this State on the Continental establishment should be completed without delay," &c., and is still further shown by the preamble to an Act of the 29th of January, 1779.
In April 1779, after the capture of Savannah by the British General Prevost of that army invaded South Carolina, and besieged Charleston. Just prior to his invasion, on 19th February 1779, the General Assembly passed an ordinance for raising and supporting a regiment of Light Dragoons for the public service. Of this, it is said in the Statute at Large: "Too much obliterated to be copied;" and it is not given in Grimke’s Public Laws, except by its title. It is therefore impracticable now to say, whether such regiment was intended as a part of the Continental establishment.
Of it, Ramsey, after speaking of the effort to raise the militia, says: "Every effort was made to strengthen the Continental Army. Additional bounties and greater emoluments were promised as inducements to exchange the recruiting service. The extent and variety of military operations in the open country pointed out the advantages of cavalry. A regiment of dragoons was therefore ordered to be raised, in which the following appointments took place:
Daniel Horry, Colonel
Hezekiah Maham, Major
John Canterier (Couterier), John Hampton, Benjamin Screven, Richard Gough, Thomas Giles, Isaac Dubose, Captains.
That such an organization was in the field, appears from General Moultrie’s letters in May, 1779, and according to the tenor of General Washington’s order of the 4th of July, 1775, it would seem as if such regiments should be included among the troops of South Carolina upon the Continental establishment. If this is so, it was the seventh regiment contributed by South Carolina to the Continental establishment.
At the capitulation of Charleston to the British on 12th May 1780, among the troops which were surrendered, was a detachment of Light Dragoons, in which three Captains. The over-running of the State followed this capitulation by the British, and the establishment of fortified posts in various places. The Governor and civil authorities had left the Syaye, and, to all appearances, by the British authority were firmly re-established, and South Carolina relegated into a colony. But, in the midst of the gloom, began to appear that brilliant struggle by the people against overwhelming odds, for the recovery of their liberties, and the driving of their foes from their soil. Moultrie says: "That war was now carried from the lower to the upper part of South Carolina, and into North Carolina, and the friends of independence were obliged to retreat before them into North Carolina. Among the most conspicuous and useful of these was Colonel Sumpter, who had formerly commanded the Fifth South Carolina Regiment; a brave and active officer, and well acquainted with the interior parts of North and South Carolina. The exiles from South Carolina joined their friends in North Carolina, and made choice of Colonel Sumpter to command them; at the head of this small body of republicans, he returned into South Carolina, almost without arms or ammunition, and no stores to supply their wants, and when most of the inhabitants had given up the idea of supporting their independence; in this situation did he oppose himself to the victorious British Army; they sometimes began an action with not more than three rounds per man, and were obliged to wait to be supplied with more, by the fall of their friends or enemies in battle." In another place, he says: "Although there was no Continental army in South Carolina for several months, it can never be said she was a conquered country, whilst Generals Sumpter and Marion each kept a body of men in the field in support of her independence."
Either at Beechamville, in Chester County, by a party of determined Whigs, under the leadership of Captain John McClure, the militia, or at Mobley’s, in Fairfield County, under the leadership of Colonel William Bratton and Captain John McClure, two militia officers, the first blow was struck for the recovery of the State. Both of these affairs were, about June, 1780, and from thenceforward until, on 14th December, 1782, Charleston was evacuated by the British, the militia of South Carolina, under officers such as above named, or such as General Picknes, Sumter, and Marion, were so conspicuous in their services in the defense and recovery of the State as to have repeatedly received the thanks of the Continental Congress. While the war in the Northern States was largely conducted with Continental troops, that in South Carolina and Georgia, after these States were overrun, was largely conducted with militia, or organized forces designed as State troops. The undaunted courage, indomitable energy and zeal, fortitude under the greatest of privations, and constancy under most depressing and untoward circumstances, of these gallant heroes of the Revolutionary War, entitle them, not only to the undying gratitude of their countrymen, but should, and if their services had been properly known, probably would, at the institution of the Cincinnati, have led to their being included among those who were entitled to membership therein. Those who instituted the Society knew little or nothing of the war in South Carolina and Georgia, and, naturally, confined it to that class of troops with which they were accustomed to associate. But, as members of the Cincinnati, an order instituted to commemorate the great event which led to American Independence, we may, nay, should, on this anniversary, commemorate the great services rendered by the militia of South Carolina should put on record our appreciation of, and reverence for, the brave men who, from the depths of the swamps, emerged whenever an opportunity presented to strike for their country, and strove to rescue it from the tread of the British coldiery. Gentlemen of the Cincinnati of South Carolina, unite with me in doing homage to the memories of the brave militia of South Carolina for their services in the rescue of the State.
In July 1780, General Gates was sent to South Carolina, with Continental troops of the Maryland and Delaware lines, and in the disaster at Camden, on 16th August 1780, the State was again deprived of a Continental army, and again thrown on the militia for defense and rescue. It was while Gates was on this march to Camden, that Marion joined him with "his ragged command, worse than Falstaff ever saw, and excited the ridicule of the well-clad Continentals." Of this militia Colonel H. Williams, said: "Their appearance, was in fact, suburlesque, that it was with much difficulty the diversion of the regular soldiery was restrained by the officers; and the General himself was glad of an opportunity of detaching Colonel Marion, at his own instance, toward the interior of South Carolina, with orders to watch the motions of the enemy, and furnish intelligence." It was this ragged militia, to ragged, when the British invaded Charleston, to be allowed to form a part of the troops which occupied that city, because their nakedness would have shocked decency, that prepared the way by its heroic exploits, for the successful after campaign of General Greene, and without its services in such campaign he would, in all probability, have been unsuccessful. Marion, at Britton’s Neck, at Nelson’s Ferry, at Fort Watson, at Georgetown, at Parker’s Ferry, dealt redoubtable blows, and prepared the way for the evacuation of Camden, and for Eutaw, Pickens, at Cowpens, at Auguste, and by his ceaseless beating up of various British outposts, largely contributed to the same result. Sumter, the first to resume on a scale of any magnitude, the warfare for the rescue of his State, at Hanging Rock, at Blackstocks, at Fishdam Ford, by his operations around Orangeburg, led to the withdrawal of the garrison at that post, to Eutaw, and eventually, with Marion’s men, to the shutting up of the British within the fortifications of Charleston. Colonel Harden, Major John Hampton, Colonel Richard Hampton, Colonel Wade Hampton, Colonel Henry Hampton, Captain Samuel Hammond, Captain Tarlton Brown, Captain William Butler, Captain William Martin, Captain John Starke, Colonel Thomas Taylor, Captain James Taylor, Colonel John Thomas, Jr., Captain Joshua Toomer, Colonel James Williams, Colonel Henry White, General Richard Winn, able assistants and coadjutors with Marion, Pickens and Sumter, formed parts of that determined militia army which first checked the current of conquest, and contributed towards driving the British army into the sea. If this episode seems foreign to our special purpose, pardon it, I pray you. I cannot forget that to these men, is largely due the liberties of South Carolina, and I cannot but believe that I discharge a duty to the purposes of the Cincinnati Society, in putting on record the services of such men.
In October, 1780, General Greene succeeded to the command of the Southern Department, and availing himself of the spirit which had been aroused, and wisely using the services of those who had encouraged such spirit, began the campaign which with many vicissitudes and depressing reverses, yet grew brighter each day, until that memorable 14th December, 1782, when, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, he escorted Governor Matthewes to the State House. When "from windows, balconies, even house tops, the troops were greeted with cheers, waving of handkerchiefs, and cries, "God bless you, gentlemen, welcome! Welcome!" A campaign which so endeared him to the people of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, as to lead the Legislatures of those States to express the graduated of the people in substantial evidences.
When General Gates entered upon the command of this department, he found but a handful of Continental troops, and proceeded to organize forces as rapidly as practicable. First, he availed himself of all the militia and partisan corps, which he found in service. Then in March 1781, "General Sumpter, with the approbation of General Greene, raised three small regiments of Regular State troops." At or about two, and probably five, regiments of Light Horse; these regiments of Light Horse were to be raised under Colonel Peter Horry, Colonel Hezekiah Maham, Colonel Henry Hampton, Colonel Wade Hampton, and Colonel Middleton. In writing to Colonel Peter Horry, on 24th September 1781, in relation to the regiment of Light Horse being enlisted by him, General Greens says of them: "As the very name of regular soldier fills them (the Tories) with terror." Whether these troops were upon the Continental establishment or not, it is impracticable to say without official data, which I have not access to. The officers raising thee commands appear to have regarded themselves as in the regular service. Writing of Colonel Maham’s Command, General Greene, on 16th January 1782, said: "My intention with respect to that corps was, that it should stand upon the same footing as Lieut. -Col. Lee’s Legion, which is called an independent corps." I do not know whether General Green had any authority to empower the raising of troops, and if he had any authority, how far it extended in embracing such troops as a part of the Continental establishment. But it may fairly be presumed that he acted within what he regarded as the scope of his authority. In the Constitution of 1778, it was provided that the Continental Congress shall have authority "to agree upon the number of land forces, and to make requisitions upon each State for its quota, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in such State, which requisition shall be binding, and thereupon the Legislature of each State shall appoint the regimental officers, raise the men, and clothe, arm, and equip them, in a soldier like manner, at the expense of the United States." In February, 1782, General Greene, writing to Colonel Peter Horry, says: "I have been told that you and Colonel Maham have engaged your men upon different pay than what is given to the Continental cavalry, but you must at once see the inconvenience such a step must produce to the service; I cannot think it has any foundation, but conclude that whatever extraordinary allowance was made was in the country and not in the pay. You will please make me an exact return of your non-commissioned officers and me, the term of service they are engaged for, and the conditions of bounty and pay; also, the number of your horses, clothing and accoutrements of every kind. I am making out a general report to General Washington and the Minister of War, of the state and condition of the forces of the Southern Department; the returns are wanted immediately." If it is remembered that when General Greene took command of the Southern Department, the civil authority in South Carolina was fugitive, and no Legislature could be assembled upon which to make a requisition for the State’s forces, nor was assembled, until by the services of the troops he had, and had called into existence, the British were locked up in Charleston, it may fairly be inferred, that in the orders placing him in command of the Southern Department, General Greene was empowered to raise troops, and arm and equip them in a soldier-like manner, at the expense of the United States. While, therefore, the troops so raised under his authority would be designated as State troops, they would yet be upon the Continental establishment, as being raised, armed and equipped at the expense of the United States. General Greene in his report of the battle of Eutaw, discriminates between the militia, which were truly States troops, for the Constitution of 1778, provided that "every State shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined military," and what he designates as State troops, when he says, "and Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson, with the State troops, our left." And Colonel Otho Williams, in his account of the killed and wounded at that battle, discriminates by using as distinctions, "South Carolina Line," "South Carolina State Officers," "South Carolina Militia." It is not then, a violent inference to say, that the troops raised under the authority of General Greens were troops furnished by South Carolina upon the Continental establishment, and that the regiments under General Sumter, and the regiments under Colonels Peter Horry, Hezekiah Mahan, Henry Hampton, Wade Hampton, and Middleton, should be added to the seven regiments spoken of in a proceeding part of these remarks. It may be, that in these regiments may be found one clue to the jealous secrecy with which the returns, &c., have been guarded from general publication.
In the century, which has passed since the organization of the State Society of the Cincinnati of South Carolina, there have been ten Presidents of such society. Of these, five were participants in the trials and danger of the Revolutionary War.
At the organization, on the 29th of August 1783, as before stated, Major-General William Moultrie was elected first President. By continuos, annual, re-elections, he held the office of President, until his death, on the 29th of September 1805. He was succeeded by Major (subsequently, in the war of 1812, Major-General) Thomas Pinckney, who, in like manner, held until the 4th of July, 1826; when, having been elected President-General in place of his distinguished brother, Major-General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, deceased, he declined a re-election to the office of President of the State Society. Major Alexander Garden, the next President, served from the 4th of July 1826, until his death on the 24th of February 1829. Major James Hamilton was elected as successor of Major-Garden, on the 4th of July 1829, and continued in office until his death on the 26th of November 1833. On the 4th of July 1834, Dr. William Read was elected President, and served until the 21st of April 1845, when this venerable and aged soldier and patriot ceased the warfare of life. At his death he was the last serving Continental officer in South Carolina, and, it is believed, the last surviving Continental officer, but one Major James Lovell of Lee’s Legion. Dr. Read died at the advanced age of ninety-one years, and was the last of our presidents who had shared in the battles of the Revolution.
General James Hamilton was elected President, and continued as such until the 4th of July 1850, when, having removed from the State, he declined re-election.
Hon. J. Harleston Read, on 4th of July 1850, was elected as successor of General James Hamilton, and was annually re-elected, dying as President on the 23rd Ma, 1859. On 4th of July 1859, Henry A. DeSaussure, Esq., was chosen to fill Mr. Read’s place, and he, also, died in office as President; his death was on 9th December 1865. Hon. James Simons, his successor, was elected President on 4th July 1866, and he, too, died still invested with the office of President; he died on 26th April 1879. The last business act of his life was to preside over the Society at the quarterly meeting of 19th April 1879. On 4th of July 1879, the Society honored me by electing me as President. I am the tenth President, and you have been pleased to re-elect me annually.
It will be seen that the Presidents have continued in office from the first election until their death except two, which resigned for reason above stated. This conservative usage of re-election has characterized the General Society, and, so far as I know, all the State Societies. We are a band of social brotherhood to perpetuate the friendships of our ancestors, to commemorate the great event, which their services brought about, and to keep fresh the memories of that event and those services so long as our posterity and we remain. With us, therefore, there should be no strife for office. Our officers are senior brethren, made so by our own election.
Gentlemen of the Cincinnati of South Carolina, assembled on this Centennial Anniversary of the organization of our State Society, we cannot but recall the remembrance of the vast event, which led to the Institution. We cannot but feel rekindled the friendship formed by our ancestors under the pressure of a common danger. We enjoy the benefits flowing from the former; we should cherish as a precious heritage the memories of the later. Recalling both, upon such occasion, instinctively we turn towards those patriotic men and brave soldiers who maintained the bloody conflict of eight years. Unite, then, with me, in acknowledging our gratitude to the memories, and to the officers and soldiers of the Revolution, whether of the Continental establishment, the State Lines, or the militia; pay the reverent homage due to men who staked their lives and fortunes for the achievement of political liberty, and having achieved it exhibited to their countrymen that they had learned and appreciated "the duty of laying down in peace arms assumed for public defense."
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