Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christian Peters - one of many family soldiers

(Family lineage:  Brother of Elizabeth Peters, 1  Charles Walker, Jr  2Eliza Frances Walker 3,   Emarine Bartram 4, 
Queen Rebecca Dickerson  5,  Edna Bethel Franklin  6 ,  Judith Ann Hayward  7 )

1760 - 1837 

Since researching and writing about the Revolutionary soldier, John Copeland, I've discovered that the Copelands, Philpotts and Nances created several new branches on their family trees through intermarriage.  At the same time, the  Walkers, Callaways and Peters not only intermarried but - after fighting in the Revolution - packed up their families and moved together to Peterstown in New River, Virginia. 

Until now, only the Peters women who had married Walker men early in our country's history have been mentioned in family legends about their husbands/brothers/sons.  So now it's time to concentrate on the Peters men whose parents had migrated from Germany in 1737 and settled in Virginia where they raised their family.  Three of their sons (John, Christian and Jacob) fought with distinction in the Revolution; but for no good reason, I decided to focus on Christian who, at age 19, was finally old enough to join the fight four years after it began in 1775. 

Christian's involvement began when the Governor of South Carolina offered 1,000 pounds of tobacco ($33.33) to any man volunteering to fight with the militia against marauding Indians attacking settlers along the South Carolina/North Carolina border. 

Although he was a Virginia boy, Christian seized the opportunity to get paid while experiencing adventure away from home and hearth.  Grabbing his rifle, tomahawk and butcher knife, he joined his brothers and fellow Virginians in the fight and attained the rank of Corporal.  

It wasn't long, however, before his militia was absorbed into the "Virginia Line" which - with militias from the 12 other colonies -  fell under the umbrella of the Continental Army. This action was especially important to commissioned officers under the rank of Brigadier General who, before that time, couldn't be promoted except in their particular colony's  line.

Christian, known by this time as an expert marksman, quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant and was heavily involved in some of the more famous southern battles, including Cowpens on the South Carolina/North Carolina line, Hot Water, Jamestown and eventually Yorktown.  

Col. Daniel Morgan
Under the leadership of  Colonel Daniel Morgan, the infamous Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton and his 1,000 troops were defeated at Cowpens, which led to 600 British soldiers being captured.  During the battle, most of the Virginia men, including Christian, depended on  their personal long rifles, with which they shot down so many British officers that proper control of the British line was destroyed.  

 After helping to deliver those British prisoners, Christian received his discharge papers and a bounty for his service, which he traded to another soldier for a horse. It was a good deal for them both.  Christian could now get around on horseback instead of by foot and the former horse owner could return home with a little money and  an official discharge - even if it took a little longer to get there.

Now that he was officially back in the war, Sgt. Christian Peters  traveled with his
General "Mad" Anthony Wayne
regiment to Hot Water, six miles from Williamsburg, Va.  The hard-fought battle, which lasted only two hours and ten minutes, didn't go well.  The Americans were soundly defeated, which forced the survivors to fall back to Jamestown, where they joined General "Mad" Anthony Wayne's regiment in another bloody battle.  Luckily for Christian, he was assigned a position in an area far less dangerous and came out of the battle unscathed.  

Finally, in 1781, he re-connected with his brother, John, and brother-in-law, Charles Walker, in Yorktown where they participated in the battle and witnessed Cornwallis' surrender which finally brought an end to the long devastating war. 

Amazingly, the Peters, Walker and Callaway families came through the war pretty much intact and after being awarded bounties for their service, decided to build their post-war lives on New River, a tributary of the Kanawha River, in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia.  In 1785, Christian married his sweetheart, Anna Catherine Fudge who had only been 13 years old when he had left for war, and with whom he had nine children.  

As the years went by, Christian, a man of energy and drive, built a home which stood for many years. Among his enterprises were the building of the first grist mills in the community.  These mills would be considered very crude and rough affairs in today's world but of course they were built on the technology existing at the time and served their purpose.

Christian was awarded a pension for service to his country in 1833 and died four years later at age 77. In honor of his service, the U.S. Government furnished a war memorial tablet which was placed on his grave and unveiled with great ceremony.  

http://www.Virginia Militia in the Revolutionary War:McAllister's Data

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