Friday, March 7, 2014

Charles Thomas Philpott - One of George Washington's soldiers

                    Charles Philpott,  2 David Philpott,  3 Enos Philpott,  4 Rebecca Philpott,  5 Lula Jane Johnson,  6  Charles Mabry Copeland,  7 Charles Thomas Copeland, Sr, 8 Charles Thomas Copeland, Jr.

1753 – 1836

Charles Thomas Philpott, one of 8 children, was born in Charles County, Maryland.  At age 8, his father died.  Following his mother's death when he was  13, Charles and a younger brother, Zachariah, became wards of their Uncle Barton Philpott, a merchant and a planter in Frederick County, Maryland (at that time, Frederick County was considered the "far Western frontier").

In 1776, Charles, age 23 and unmarried, volunteered to serve in a "flying camp battalion" in Maryland ( a militia unit assigned to fight beside troops from Delaware and Pennsylvania and from Maryland to New York – wherever they were most needed). During his five months as a volunteer, he was engaged in skirmishes on “York Island” (now Manhattan Island) near Kings Bridge, at Tuckahoe Heights, White Plains and at Fort Washington on York Island.

After applying for a discharge from the militia, he enlisted in the regular army and  served as a sergeant in the 7th Maryland Regiment from December 4, 1776 to December 4, 1779. During those three years he never returned home.

Second Maryland Continental Infantry, 1777

Shortly after enlisting in the Maryland Regiment, he escorted 50 Tories who had been taken prisoner “somewhere in the North and were confined in jail in Philadelphia” to Frederick Town, MD where they were to be held.  From Frederick Town he headed to Princeton. On his way, he passed through New York, Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and frequently met up with General George Washington, General Israel Putnam and General John Sullivan.

In his pension application dated 10 October 1832 , Charles testified that during that period of time he had fought at Staten Island on August 21, 1777, Brandywine on September 11, 1777 and Germantown on October 4, 1777 and also participated in some minor skirmishes. (William T. Graves, "Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements & Rosters")

General John Sullivan
The Battle of Staten Island :  a raid by Continental Army troops under Major General John Sullivan (pictured) against British forces on Staten Island on August 22, 1777. 

After British Lieutenant General William Howe had sailed with most of his army from New York in July, the Americans recognized that the British position on Staten Island was vulnerable, and planned an attack.  Sullivan's raid was well-executed. However, it suffered from a shortage of boats to effect the crossing and one of its detachments was misled by its guide to the front of the enemy position and about 200 of his own men were taken prisoner.

Although he was accused of mismanaging the raid, a court martial later exonerated the General of all charges. 1,000 patriots and 3,000 British forces fought that day, with 10 Americans and 600 British troops killed or missing. ( of Staten Island)

The Battle of Brandywine   took place on September 11, 1777 and involved the American army under Major General George Washington and the British army under General Sir William Howe, during which the British defeated the Americans and forced them to withdraw toward the rebel capital of Philadelphia.

After a stiff fight, Howe's wing broke through the newly-formed American right wing and crumpled the American left wing. As Washington's army streamed away in retreat, he brought up elements of Nathanael Greene's division, which held off Howe's column long enough for his army to escape to the northeast. The defeat and subsequent maneuvers left Philadelphia vulnerable. The British captured the city on September 26, beginning an occupation that would last nine months. ( of Brandywine)
•   Sgt. Philpott also participated in The Battle of Germantown outside Philadelphia, again involving both General Washington and General Howe. This was a pivotal battle which involved a number of errors made by both generals. 

 Despite those errors, the French were impressed with the Americans, which led to the French making a commitment to support the American Revolution.

After being discharged in 1779, he was paid $120 for his three years of service and returned home where, on February 14, 1780, he  married a neighbor, Elizabeth Garrett Mockoboy, a young widow whose husband had died soon after their marriage. Charles and Elizabeth  had 8 children before she died in 1793.  In 1794, he married Elizabeth Hubbard with whom he had four more children.

In 1790, Charles sold his land in Maryland and joined 4 of his brothers and their families in migrating up the Shenandoah Valley where they eventually settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  

Although some of this land is still owned by Philpott descendants, much of it is now under the waters of "Philpott Lake" in the Fairy Stone State Park.  "Philpott Dam" was constructed on the Smith River in 1952 to protect the valley land in Henry County, Virginia.  

He lived for many years next to Reuben Nance (another soldier who will be featured in this blog).  Both the Philpott and Nance families were very large and many of the children intermarried, including David Philpott and Sarah Nance, direct ancestors of our branch of the family.

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