Conclusion Of The Revolutionary War
July 28, 1779, Barney Cuningham receipted for £11 3s. for one hand-vice for use of brig "Holker."
July 30, 1779, Thomas Fell receipted for thirty-six pounds for two muskets for use of brig "Holker."
Aug. 2, 1779, Thomas Lee receipted for fifteen pounds in part of prize money.
Aug. 2, 1779, George Geddey receipted for two hundred and four dollars by bounty paid David Forsyth and James McNeil, masters-at-arms.
The April preceding the "Holker" had captured a schooner of ten guns and forty men, and also two armed sloops early in the month of July, before she lay at Chester to refit and recruit her crew. In July, 1780, the "Holker" had an engagement off the coast of New Jersey with the loyal privateer "Lord Rodney," in which the cutter, after an action of an hour and a half, was captured, her commander, Samuel Moore,1 and five of her crew killed, and twenty wounded. The "Holker" suffered severely in the engagement, her loss being six killed, including the first lieutenant, and fourteen wounded.2
The war-cloud had drifted away from Chester County, and never since that time have the good people of this section of the commonwealth been disturbed by the tread of hostile forces in martial array. But, although the husbandmen could resume their labors without the constant dread that inimical parties might gather the harvests and lay waste their fields, the State of Pennsylvania still made heavy demands on the public both for men and means to carry on the war.
1 Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. vi. p. 255.|
2 Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. i. p. 370, in note C, it is said that the captain of the "Holker" was killed. The captain of the "Lord Rodney" was, but Matthew Lawler, captain of the "Holker," lived to be mayor of the city of Philadelphia from 1801 to 1804, both years inclusive.
In the fall of the year 1778, when Sir Henry Clinton, in accordance with instructions from the ministry, had detached five thousand men to the West Indies and three thousand to Florida, the destination of these troops being unknown, the mysterious preparations aroused widespread apprehension as to the objective point of the expedition. Naturally the public disquietude was increased when the attack on Little Egg Harbor and the butchery of the sleeping, unarmed infantry attached to Pulaski's brigade, was known. On October 19th, Council ordered that the militia in the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, Bucks, and Lancaster should be held in readiness to march at the shortest notice, but the minute-men were not further called out that year, nor were they in June, 1780, when Gen. Knyphausen crossed from New York and made an incursion into New Jersey. The purpose and extent of that movement being unknown, Council, on the 12th of that month, ordered the fourth class of the militia of the counties of Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester to hold themselves in readiness to march to the support of the Continental army, should later intelligence indicate that such a movement was necessary. But orders to take the field were not issued. Not long afterwards, on July 28th, President Reed wrote a complaining letter to Col. Robert Smith, that Chester was lagging behind the other counties in forwarding volunteers, and urged him to exertion in furnishing the quota of militia, which must report, he said, according to Washington's command, at Trenton, by the 12th of August. In September of the following year (1781), after the army had gone southward, and Benedict Arnold was making preparations to undertake his infamous expedition, under the British flag, against New England, on September 25th. Col. Smith was again ordered to hold the militia of the county in readiness to march on a moment's notice to Newtown, Bucks Co., notwithstanding there was no recent tidings of the movements of the enemy at New York. The troops had assembled on the occasion, and had already begun to move as required, for, on October 10th. Col. Smith wrote Council that, as ordered, the fourth class of the militia of Chester County had twice marched, but as often the orders had been countermanded, and the men were on furlough till further commands were issued. The order to march had been countermanded before the troops left the county, and as but few of the enrolled men failed to appear, the fines on the delinquents would amount to a very small sum. The cost of supplying necessaries for the men was considerable, and hence, as the time was short, there was a general objection to assessing on the delinquents the "whole costs of the tour." No further particulars respecting the calling out of troops appear during the remainder of the war; although on Jan. 30, 1781, James Moore received five hundred pounds to enlist men into the Pennsylvania line from Chester County.
The incidents happening in the county now became of little general interest. On March 30, 1780, Col. Robert Smith was appointed lieutenant of the county, with Col. Thomas Cheyney, Lewis Gronow, Andrew Boyd, Thomas Levis, and Robert Wilson as sub-lieutenants. On June 8th the quartermaster-general stated that Col. Boyd had been instructed to send sixty wagons and teams from Chester County, but none had up to that time reported. Council, therefore, on the 21st, ordered a requisition on the several counties for wagons, fixing the quota of Chester at forty, which,