County Longford, Ireland
|Died||16 March 1806|
|Years of service||1775–1781|
|Rank|| Colonel (Continental Army)|
Major General (Militia)
|Commands held||4th Continental Artillery Regiment|
Thomas Proctor or Thomas Procter (1739 – 16 March 1806) commanded the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment during the American Revolutionary War. He was born in County Longford, Ireland, emigrated to British America, married in 1767 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and joined the carpenter's guild in 1772. Receiving a commission as an artillery captain in October 1775, he proceeded to raise a company of Pennsylvania state artillery. After a second company was recruited, Proctor was promoted to major and both companies joined George Washington's army. Proctor led his gunners at Princeton in January 1777. The state authorities elevated Proctor to the rank of colonel and charged him to recruit an eight-company Pennsylvania State Artillery Regiment a month later.
In June 1777 Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment officially became part of the Continental Army. He played an important role in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown in 1777 and at Monmouth in 1778. He went on the Sullivan Expedition against the Iroquois Nation in 1779. His regiment was renamed the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment in August 1779. He took guns into action at Bull's Ferry in 1780. The hot-tempered Proctor often quarreled with the Pennsylvania civil authorities and this led him to resign from the army in April 1781.
Proctor served as county sheriff of Philadelphia in 1783–1785 and City Lieutenant of Philadelphia in 1790. Secretary of War Henry Knox named him to go on a peace mission in 1791 to the Native American tribes near Lake Erie. Proctor was appointed a brigadier general of militia in 1793 and the following year was sent to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion. In 1798 he became a major general of militia. He died at Philadelphia in March 1806, having outlived his second wife by two years.
Proctor was born in County Longford, Ireland in 1739. With his parents Francis and Betsey Proctor, he moved first to Nova Scotia and then to the American colonies. At some point in the 1750s he took up the carpenter's trade. The year 1759 found him at Fort Pitt where he met the Seneca chief Captain Joseph Hays.He married Mary Fox on December 31, 1766 in Philadelphia. They would have four children, Anna (1788-1858), Jacob (1774-1856), Mary (1789-1842) and Thomas (1784–1861). Proctor had a younger brother Francis Jr. who was born in the 1750s and died in 1814. In 1772, he joined the Carpenter's Guild in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and remained a member until his death.
After the outbreak of the American Revolution, the state of Pennsylvania authorized an artillery company on October 16, 1775.Proctor asked the state Council of Safety to appoint him captain on October 27 and his request was immediately granted. While other state troops were sent to the Flying Camp (reserve), the artillery company was retained near Philadelphia to defend Fort Island. At first, Proctor's company mustered only 25 men but it increased to 100 by May 1776.
A muster roll from July 31, 1776 showed Proctor's company numbering 114 soldiers. The staff included one captain-lieutenant, one first lieutenant, one second lieutenant, one lieutenant fireworker, one quartermaster sergeant, and one clerk. The company also counted three sergeants, three corporals, eight bombardiers, 24 gunners, 69 matrosses, six musicians, five drummers, and one fifer.The gunners served on the USS Hornet (10) during an engagement with the British HMS Roebuck (44) . Pleased with the gunners' performance, the state added a second artillery company to create the Pennsylvania State Artillery Battalion on 14 August 1776. At the time, John Martin Strobaugh was appointed captain of the 1st Company, Thomas Forrest became captain of the 2nd Company, and Proctor was promoted to major. Proctor vigorously recruited enough gunners and matrosses to fill both companies. The Pennsylvania State Artillery Battalion transferred to George Washington's main army on 23 September. In October the state re-enrolled the soldiers for the duration of the war.
On December 22, 1776, Forrest's 2nd Company mustered with Washington's army in the strength of two officers and 50 men with two brass 6-pounders.In the Battle of Trenton four days later the battery is said to have two 5½-inch howitzers in addition to the pair of 6-pounders. Together with two guns under Alexander Hamilton and three guns under Sebastian Baumann, Forrest's guns dominated King Street with their fire and silenced the two Hessian cannons opposing them. In the Battle of the Assunpink Creek on January 2, 1777, Forrest had six cannons supporting a 1,000-man delaying force under Edward Hand. The American artillery commander Henry Knox stated that he had "30 to 40" guns at Assunpink Creek. These included 18–19 guns guarding the bridge, 12 guns at the upper fords and several more at the lower fords. The next day, Proctor led his artillerists at the Battle of Princeton. After the engagement, he added a captured British brass 6-pounder cannon to his battery. Since he did not have enough horses to haul an additional piece, he left behind an old iron 3-pounder cannon.
When Knox went on leave on January 17, 1777, he appointed Proctor temporary commander of the army's artillery. Proctor capably performed this duty, though some Continental officers were annoyed that a man with a state commission was elevated above them.On February 6, 1777 the battalion was expanded into the Pennsylvania State Artillery Regiment, with orders to recruit eight companies from the eastern part of the state. The new regiment was detached from the main army. Proctor accepted promotion to colonel commanding the regiment on February 20. A company from the regiment was roughly handled at the Battle of Bound Brook on April 13, losing two cannons, two officers and about 20 men captured. On June 10, 1777 the state regiment became Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment and first transferred to the Middle Department before being attached to the main army a few weeks later on July 14. Washington ordered Proctor's regiment to Trenton, New Jersey to join Francis Nash's brigade where it arrived about July 24. After getting news of the British landing in Chesapeake Bay, Nash's troops and Proctor's gunners were instructed to move to Chester, Pennsylvania on August 22.
During the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, Proctor's Pennsylvania Artillery manned a 4-gun lunette on a knoll that overlooked Chadds Ford. Two of the guns were French-made 4-pounders, another was a 3-pounder Hessian prize that was rebored as a 6-pounder and the last was an 8-inch howitzer cast in Philadelphia.At 8:00–9:00 am an artillery duel began between the American guns and the British artillery on the west side of Brandywine Creek. Sometime afterward, Washington conferred with Proctor on how things were going. At 5:30 pm the British mounted a major assault across the creek. Firing canister shot, Proctor's guns caused considerable casualties before the British successfully stormed the lunette. The Americans claimed to have saved two of the cannons.
During the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777, the American first wave encountered 100–120 men of the British 40th Regiment of Foot shut up in the Benjamin Chew House and flowed around the obstacle. When the reserves arrived, Knox convinced Washington that the place must be captured. Two cannons of Proctor's Artillery plus two captured British 6-pounders were already firing at the building. Staff officer Timothy Pickering suggested that the guns be brought to bear on the front of the building, so this was done. The front doors were quickly blown open and the shutters splintered but unknown to the gunners the front of the house was constructed of stone two feet thick, impervious to light cannons. For two hours, the guns blasted the masonry with round shot or fired canister at the second story, but all American infantry attacks were repulsed with heavy losses.
On February 27, 1778, Washington wrote from Valley Forge that Proctor's Regiment suffered "considerable" casualties in the 1777 campaign and serious desertion since. Because of the weakness of his artillery arm, Washington ordered Harrison's Artillery Regiment to join him at Valley Forge.
At the Battle of Monmouth on 28 June 1778, Proctor led 12 guns in William Alexander, Lord Stirling's wing which was in Washington's main body.After Charles Lee's advance guard was driven back at mid-day, the advancing British encountered the American main body. There were five infantry brigades in line with two detachments covering the left and another infantry brigade screening the right. Under the direction of Knox, the 12 guns were massed in a large battery on the forward slope of Perrine's Ridge about 1:00–1:30 pm. The American 6-pounders and 4-pounders engaged in an inconclusive 2-hour artillery duel with a British concentration that included two 12-pounders, six 6-pounders and two 5½-inch howitzers. When four American cannons under Thomas-Antoine de Mauduit du Plessis took the British gun line in enfilade from Comb's Hill about 3:00 pm, British army commander Henry Clinton ordered a withdrawal.
By August 4, 1778, Proctor's Regiment counted only 220 men, so a few weeks later he applied to the Pennsylvania Council to enlist men from other states and it was granted. The regiment was finally accepted into the Continental Army on September 3. Until this time, the unit belonged to Pennsylvania even though it served with the Continental Army. There were frequent clashes between President Joseph Reed and Proctor over the matter of supplies. At this time Proctor demanded new uniforms which were supposed to be black for the artillery, but he insisted on letting his officers wear blue coats. Reed complained to Washington and it was determined that Proctor officers must conform to the new uniform policy in the following year. Reed remarked that Proctor only recognized the authority of Pennsylvania when he needed a favor. On May 18, 1779 Congress finally commissioned Proctor as colonel in the Continental Army.
Proctor went on the Sullivan Expedition against the Iroquois Nation. He accompanied John Sullivan's 2,500-man main column with four 3-pounders, two 6-pounders and two howitzers.A force of Iroquois and Butler's Rangers tried to ambush the Americans in the Battle of Newtown on August 29, 1779. When the enemy presence was discovered, Sullivan launched an enveloping attack. Proctor's guns opened fire and some of the howitzer shells exploded in the rear of the enemy position. Thinking that the Americans were attacking from behind, many of the Iroquois immediately ran away. The remaining warriors and the Rangers eventually retreated before the numerically superior Americans, but casualties were few on both sides. The expedition ruined the Iroquois Nation by wrecking their towns and burning their crops, but it did not stop the warriors from attacking American settlements. Proctor's Regiment was renamed the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment on August 10, 1779.
Congress recommissioned Proctor as colonel on April 21, 1780. Under the command of Anthony Wayne he was present at the Battle of Bull's Ferry on July 20. The cattle raid was successful but the Americans were unable to storm a blockhouse manned by Loyalists despite a bombardment by four cannons. Proctor's role is known because British Major John André penned a satirical poem about the battle called the Cow Chace that mentioned the American artilleryman. Infuriated over the Pennsylvania Council's promotion of officers without his approval, Proctor tendered his resignation on April 9, 1781. Reed wrote to Washington that he was pleased to be rid of such a difficult officer.
Washington wrote a letter to Proctor accepting his resignation as follows. "I am sorry to find that the situation of your domestic affairs renders it necessary for you to quit the service. It always gives me pain to part with an officer, but particularly so with one whose experience and attention have made him useful in his profession. I cannot in justice to you permit you to leave the army without expressing my approbation of your conduct upon every occasion since you joined me in 1776, and wish you success in the line of life which you have now embraced." From December 25, 1782 to October 22, 1783 Proctor held a commission from Congress as major.
Proctor served as sheriff of Philadelphia County from October 20, 1783 to October 14, 1785.His wife Mary died on July 15, 1789. He was appointed as City Lieutenant of Philadelphia on September 10, 1790 to fill a vacancy. On March 10, 1791, Knox, now Secretary of War appointed him to go on a peace mission to the Wabash and Miami tribes near Lake Erie. Proctor left two days later and spent two months among the Native Americans. Governor Thomas Mifflin appointed Proctor a major of artillery on May 17, 1792 and brigadier general of militia on April 12, 1793. Proctor was given command of a brigade of 1,849 men to put down the Whiskey Rebellion on August 7, 1794.
Proctor married Sarah Ann Hussey on March 3, 1796 and they had one child, Mary (d. 1842).He was named major general of militia on June 7, 1796. He experienced financial difficulties, especially in getting compensation for expenses from the state of Pennsylvania. For example, he was not reimbursed for a horse that was killed at Brandywine until 1793. Proctor died at his home on Arch Street between Fourth and Fifth in Philadelphia on March 16, 1806 and he was buried at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church on Third Street. His second wife Sarah preceded him in death on March 23, 1804. He was a Freemason and founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati in Pennsylvania.
The 6th Pennsylvania Regiment, first known as the 5th Pennsylvania Battalion, was a unit of the United States of America (U.S.) Army, raised December 9, 1775, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for service with the Continental Army. The regiment would see action during the New York Campaign, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth, and Green Spring. The regiment was disbanded on January 1, 1783.
The 8th Pennsylvania Regiment or Mackay's Battalion was an American infantry unit that became part of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Authorized for frontier defense in July 1776, the eight-company unit was originally called Mackay's Battalion after its commander, Colonel Aeneas Mackay. Transferred to the main army in November 1776, the unit was renamed the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment on 1 January 1777. It completed an epic winter march from western Pennsylvania to New Jersey, though Mackay and his second-in-command both died soon afterward. In March 1777 Colonel Daniel Brodhead assumed command. The regiment was engaged at the Battles of Bound Brook, Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown in 1777. A body of riflemen were detached from the regiment and fought at Saratoga. Assigned to the Western Department in May 1778, the 8th Pennsylvania gained a ninth company before seeing action near Fort Laurens and in the Sullivan Expedition in 1778 and 1779. The regiment consolidated with the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1781 and ceased to exist.
The 11th Pennsylvania Regiment or Old Eleventh was authorized on 16 September 1776 for service with the Continental Army. On 25 October, Richard Humpton was named colonel. In December 1776, the regiment was assigned to George Washington's main army and was present at Assunpink Creek and fought at Princeton in January 1777. During the spring the unit assembled at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a strength of eight companies. The soldiers were recruited from Philadelphia and four nearby counties. On 22 May 1777 the regiment became part of the 2nd Pennsylvania Brigade. The 11th was in the thick of the action at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown in 1777. It was present at White Marsh and Monmouth. On 1 July 1778, the unit was consolidated with the 10th Pennsylvania Regiment and the 11th Regiment ceased to exist. Humpton took command of the reorganized unit.
The 8th Virginia Regiment or German Regiment was an infantry unit that served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Authorized in January 1776, the regiment was raised from men of several northwestern counties in the strength of 10 companies. Its first commander was Colonel Peter Muhlenberg, a clergyman and militia leader. The unit marched to defend Charleston, South Carolina in 1776, but saw no fighting. At the start of 1777, the 8th Virginia moved to join George Washington's main army. When Muhlenberg was promoted to general officer, Colonel Abraham Bowman took command of the unit.
The 2nd North Carolina Regiment was an American infantry unit that was raised for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. In 1776 the regiment helped defend Charleston, South Carolina. Ordered to join George Washington's main army in February 1777, the regiment subsequently fought at Brandywine and Germantown during the Philadelphia Campaign. After most other North Carolina regiments were sent home to recruit, the 1st and 2nd Regiments remained with the main army and fought at Monmouth in June 1778. The regiment was transferred to the Southern Department and was captured by the British army in May 1780 at the Siege of Charleston. Together with the 1st Regiment, the unit was rebuilt and fought capably at Eutaw Springs. The 2nd was furloughed in April 1783 and officially dissolved in November 1783.
The siege of Fort Mifflin or siege of Mud Island Fort from September 26 to November 16, 1777 saw British land batteries commanded by Captain John Montresor and a British naval squadron under Vice Admiral Lord Richard Howe attempt to capture an American fort in the Delaware River commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Smith. The operation finally succeeded when the wounded Smith's successor, Major Simeon Thayer, evacuated the fort on the night of November 15 and the British occupied the place the following morning. Owing to a shift of the river, Fort Mifflin is currently located on the north bank of the Delaware adjacent to Philadelphia International Airport.
At the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777 a colonial American army led by General George Washington fought a British-Hessian army commanded by General William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe. Washington drew up his troops in a defensive position behind Brandywine Creek. Howe sent Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen's 5,000 troops to demonstrate against the American front at Chadd's Ford. Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis took 10,000 troops on a wide flank march that crossed the creek and got in the rear of the American right wing under Major General John Sullivan. The Americans changed front but Howe's attack broke through.
The 2nd Continental Artillery Regiment also known as Lamb's Continental Artillery Regiment was authorized on 1 January 1777 as Colonel John Lamb's Continental Artillery Regiment. As originally constituted, the regiment included 12 artillery companies from New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The bulk of the regiment served in the Hudson Highlands, though some companies fought with George Washington's main army from 1777 to 1779.
The 1st Continental Artillery Regiment, also known as Harrison's Continental Artillery Regiment, was authorized on 26 November 1776 as Colonel Charles Harrison's Continental Artillery Regiment. Raised for service during the American Revolutionary War, as originally organized, the regiment comprised 10 artillery companies from Virginia. Two of the artillery companies existed since early 1776. The regiment was first assigned to the Southern Department, but in March 1778 it was reassigned to General George Washington's main army. In August 1779, the unit was renamed the 1st Continental Artillery Regiment. It continued to serve with the main army until April 1780 when it was transferred to the Southern Department. In May 1780, Maryland artillery companies formally joined the regiment, making a total of 12 companies. In January 1781, the regiment was reorganized with 10 companies. Furloughed in the summer of 1783, the regiment was disbanded in November the same year. Elements of the regiment fought at Monmouth, Charleston, Camden, Hobkirk's Hill, Eutaw Springs, Yorktown, and Combahee River.
The 4th Continental Artillery Regiment, also known as Reign’s Continental Artillery Regiment, was an American military unit during the American Revolutionary War. The regiment became part of the Continental Army on 10 June 1777 as Colonel Thomas Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment. It was made up of eight artillery companies from eastern Pennsylvania. At the time of the regiment's formation, two companies were already in existence, one from as early as October 1775. One company served at Trenton in December 1776 where it performed well in action. In February 1777, Pennsylvania expanded its two-company battalion into an eight-company regiment. After officially joining the Continental Army, the regiment saw much fighting in the Philadelphia campaign in late 1777. Elements of Proctor's Regiment fought at Monmouth in June 1778 and joined the Sullivan Expedition in summer 1779.
The 3rd Continental Artillery Regiment also known as Crane's Continental Artillery Regiment became part of the Continental Army on January 1, 1777, as Colonel John Crane's Continental Artillery Regiment. The regiment was made up of 12 artillery companies from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including some companies that had served in Henry Knox's Continental Artillery Regiment. The regiment served with George Washington's main army. Three artillery companies in Ebenezer Stevens' Provisional Artillery Battalion had a separate existence in the Northern Department until the end of 1778 when they rejoined the regiment.
Henry Monckton was the fourth son of John Monckton, 1st Viscount Galway, and the younger half-brother of the more famous Robert Monckton.
Walter Stewart was an Irish-born American general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
Charles Harrison was born into the noted Harrison family of Virginia. His brother was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and his nephew William Henry Harrison later became president. At the beginning of the American Revolutionary War he became lieutenant in a company of artillery from Virginia. When the state expanded its small artillery battalion into a regiment in November 1776, Harrison was appointed commander with the rank of colonel. Initially named Harrison's Continental Artillery Regiment, the unit was renamed the 1st Continental Artillery Regiment in August 1779. He joined George Washington's main army in time to fight at Monmouth. In 1780 he led his gunners at Camden and the following year he commanded Nathanael Greene's artillery at Hobkirk's Hill.
Hartley's Additional Continental Regiment was an American infantry unit of the Continental Army that served for two years during the American Revolutionary War. The regiment was authorized in January 1777 and Colonel Thomas Hartley was appointed its commander. The unit comprised eight companies from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. When permanent brigades were formed in May 1777, the regiment was transferred to the 1st Pennsylvania Brigade. Hartley's Regiment fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown in 1777. The unit helped defend the Pennsylvania frontier against Indian raids in the Summer and early Fall of 1778. In January 1779, following a resolution of the Continental Congress the regiment, along with Patton's Additional Continental Regiment and part of Malcolm's Additional Continental Regiment, were combined to form a complete battalion known as the "new" 11th Pennsylvania Regiment. The new 11th participated in the Sullivan Expedition in the summer of that year. In January 1781 the new 11th merged with the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment and ceased to exist.
Grayson's Additional Continental Regiment was an American infantry unit that served for two years and three months in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Like other Additional Regiments, Grayson's remained directly under George Washington's control, unlike state regiments. Authorized in January 1777, the unit's nine companies were recruited from the colonies of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Raised by Colonel William Grayson, the regiment participated in actions in Northern New Jersey in early 1777, at Brandywine in September 1777, at Germantown in October 1777, and at Monmouth in June 1778. In April 1779 the regiment was absorbed by Gist's Additional Continental Regiment and ceased to exist.
Richard Parker was an American colonel who fought in the American Revolutionary War. Son of prominent Virginia jurist Richard Parker, Parker received an officer's commission in a Virginia regiment early in the conflict. He probably was present at Great Bridge and Norfolk. Promoted to major, he fought at Trenton in December 1776 and commanded the regiment at Second Trenton and Princeton in January 1777. At Brandywine in September 1777 he led a detachment of light infantry in delaying the British. The next month he fought at Germantown. Promoted to colonel at Valley Forge, he led a picked detachment at Monmouth in June 1778. In May 1779, George Washington ordered him back to Virginia to recruit a new regiment. After being sent south with a new unit of reinforcements for Charleston, South Carolina in late 1779, he died of wounds received at the Siege of Charleston in 1780.
The "German Battalion" was an infantry formation of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Authorized in May 1776 as an extra Continental regiment, the battaltion recruited ethnic Germans from Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Thomas-Antoine de Mauduit du Plessis or Thomas Duplessis or Thomas-Antoine du Plessis-Mauduit was a French officer who fought with the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Born in Brittany, he ran away to sea at age 12 and voyaged in the eastern Mediterranean Sea for a time. Later, he attended a famous French artillery school. He was among a number of volunteers to join the fledgling American army in 1777, especially distinguishing himself for bravery at Germantown and skill at Red Bank. At Valley Forge he helped train American officers in the finer points of tactics and artillery handling.
The 103rd Engineer Battalion is an engineer battalion of the United States Army, raised from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. It is one of several current units with extensive Colonial era roots and campaign credit for the War of 1812.