Extract from Simeon Thayer's Journal by Simeon Thayer

An Extract from my Journal of some facts relative to my sufferings, during the last French War, and the late War between Great Britain and America.

At an early period of life, even at the Age of Sixteen Years I inlisted in the Rhode Island Regiment and served as a private. In 1757 I joined myself to the Massachusetts line that being my Native Race, under the command of Col. Fry and was for the most part in the body of Rangers with Rogers. About this time I was personally in Three engagements with the Indians in each of which of which Actions many of the Rangers were killed. In August of the same year I was in Fort Wm. Henry which was surrendered to Montcalm after being besieged Six days. In May 1775 I was honour'd, by the legislature, with the Commission of a Captain, in the Rhode-Island Regiment, in Genl. Greenes Brigade. On the 13th September I was chosen to accompany Arnold in his memorable march by the may of Kennibeck River to Quebec and in that unsuccessful attack on the Town, was with many other Officer and Soldiers made prisoner where I was kept closely confined Nine months, part of that in Irons on board a prison Ship before I was admitted on parole, I was afterward indulged with it for Three months. When I was exchanged I was appointed a Major in one of the Rhode-Island Regiments commanded by Col. Angell in the Year 1777, and marched to Red Bank. Here I was detached the Morning after my arrival 19th of October, with 150 men to join Col. Smith on Mud Island when the Enemies batteries were playing, where I continued three Days, when the Hessians appeared as if they intended an attack on Red Bank, I then received an express from Col. Greene to return with my troops to Red Bank about 12 Oclock, which I immediately complyed with and reached the Fort just as the Hessians appeared in sight. I commanded according to my rank during the Action and was detached after the Enemy had departed, about the dusk of the Evening with a Small Party to bring in the wounded. As I was employed in the human Service , Two Hessian Grenadiers came and told me that their Commanding Officer Count Donop was lying wounded in the edge of the Wood near where their Artillery had played, as it was near dark I Suspected they might mean to decoy me into a Ambush I therefore ordered them under Guard, telling them if they deceived me they should be immediately put to Death, to which they readily consented, and conducted me to the place where I found the Count lying under a Tree mortally wounded, he asked me if I was an Officer and of what Rank, of which being satisfied he surrendered himself as a prisoner to me when I ordered six of my Guard to take one of the Hessian Blankets from his pack and Carry him _____ with all possible care to the Fort where he was received By Col. Greene. Col. Smith who commanded on Mud-Island being wounded, it was necessary that Some Officer Should be appointed to Succeed him. Gen. Varnum who commanded at Woodbury sent his Brigade Major so two different Col.s whose rank intitled them to the Command, but for some reasons they declined, Tho' I was Sensible of the Importance of the Command, and that the whole Continent had their Eyes fixed on the Officer who was defending so important a post, and that he was open to the Censure of the World for any Misfortunes, much more for any misconduct during the Siege; yet when it was offered me I could not refuse my Country any Service in my power, and accepted it, and Continued as long as the Fort was tenable. Before the action at Monmouth, I was detached with General Scott to watch the motion of the enemy, I being then Major to Col. Sylla's detached Regiment, on the Evening before the Action, Scotts detachment was ordered to join the main Army, the next day being the 28th June 1778. The Action commenced, in which after undergoing great Fatigue I had the Misfortune to entirely lose the sight of my right Eye, by the Violence of the wind of a Cannon Ball. The next day by leave of the Commanding Officer of the Brigade I went on to Morristown with the Doctor Mate to attend me where I tarried five weeks. I so far recovered (though almost blind) as to join my Regiment as Rhode-Island four Days previous to Gen. Sullivans Retreat. I would just remark that when the Marquis De La Fayette was in danger of being Surprized at Baron hill Church I was detached by him with 300 Men to cover his retreat where there was scarce a probality of escaping without being Killed or taken prisoner, which However I effected and brought off the whole of my detachment in the face of the Enemy, the Marquis having moved off the Main body some time before. In June 1780 I was in the Action at Springfield Bridge in the Jerseys, in the Rhode-Island Regiment. I was also in the detached party that went to Morriseny January 1781. Many more transactions of Importance I have Omitted.

Simeon Thayer

transcribed from:

MSS27 Box #1
The Rhode Island Historical Society
121 Hope Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02906
Telephone (401) 751-7930

This transcription was done to support this organization's research and public education. It was a good faith effort, but errors are possible and differences due to interpretation of marks on the page. So researchers should access the original documents when possible.

To return to Tew's Company page.
last modified 01/02/06