Providing practical, down-to-earth advice for family historians since 1995, online since 1985.
Revolutionary War Troop Movements
I have a research question and know that you are just the person to ask. I have an ancestor, Ebenezer TEMPLE, who fought in Col. John Lamb's 2nd Continental Artillery in the Revolutionary War. He served in Capt. Lieut. Joseph Savage's Detachment of Capt. Robert(?) Walker's Co. I don't know whether he was with Joseph Savage later when he became a captain and got his own company. My sense is that Ebenezer TEMPLE then served under Capt. Robert(?) Walker. He also served under Capt. Jacob Reed. His pension papers mention several places where he served, but I am seeking additional information.
Do you know how to find out about troop movements? From what I understand, artillery regiments were seldom all together as one unit. With the exception of some winter encampments and an action such as the Siege of Yorktown, the companies and even detachments were sent different places to support various infantry regiments.
Specifically, I am trying to find out if Ebenezer TEMPLE was at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78 (he's not on the muster rolls on the Valley Forge website, although soldiers he served with are listed) and at West Point on 25 September 1780 when Benedict Arnold defected to the British. I know that Col. John Lamb was at both of these places, but I don't know if Ebenezer TEMPLE was there or sent elsewhere.
How do I track the movements of the companies and/or detachments of Col. John Lamb's Artillery?
Many, many thanks in advance for your help.
Good to hear from you again! Your email has pointed up two things:
1. The National Park Services online listing of WHO was at VALLEY FORGE is woefully inadequate, particularly when it comes to citing the source documents for the participant's list. http://www.nps.gov/vafo/ , most specifically: http://184.108.40.206/VFMuster/index.htm .
2. Locating unit histories (original manuscripts, microfilmed copies, printed compendiums) is the challenge of genealogists interested in an ancestor's military service. These are typically located in archives and libraries that specialize in history and/or genealogy.
SOLUTIONS TO YOUR RESEARCH CHALLENGE
A. DETERMINE THE DATES OF MILITARY SERVICE for your ancestor from muster rolls, pay stubs, pension files, etc.
B. OBTAIN A COPY OF THE MILITARY UNIT'S HISTORY & COMPARE IT TO THOSE DATES OF SERVICE. I would look at the following:
-- US Army Military History Institute - http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usamhi/ "The Library of USAMHI has an excellent collection of unit histories of the U.S. Army. Some of these consist of formal, official compilations of "after action reports" or similar summaries done immediately after a conflict, brief historical summary pamphlet-like publications, unofficial or commercial book length publications, "yearbooks" done at the end of a training cycle or after a year tour in a longer conflict, and occasionally a personal memoir confined to a soldier's experience with one unit. Researchers are likely to be familiar with division and regimental histories done for frontline combat units, but the USAMHI unit history collection ranges from formations as large as Army Groups to special platoons. Generally speaking, National Guard units and area-based reserve units are often better represented than Regular Army units, and overseas wartime service is better documented than eras of peacetime or training."
MYRT'S NOTE: Since you provided the name of your ancestor's unit, I got curious, and went to http://www.google.com . I copied and pasted the words: "Col. John Lamb's 2nd Continental Artillery" (without quotes) to the search box, and was pleased with the hit list including:
Col. John Lamb's 2nd Continental Artillery - National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/colo/specevent/lambs2.html
Description of a Manuscript available at the Military History Institute: http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/reference/revbib/arty.htm
Revolutionary War Reenactors Master List http://www.revwar.com/reenact/master_list.html
BINGO - A bibliographic citation at the next website explained that the Revolutionary War Rolls, National Archives Microfilm Publications, Record Group 93, M246, Washington, 1980 include reel 117 to Reel 120, Lamb's 2nd Continental Artillery Regiment. The website is titled: "The music of the Army..." An Abbreviated Study of the Ages of Musicians in the Continental Army Part 1 of 2) by John U. Rees. ©1993, 2002. (Originally published in The Brigade Dispatch Vol. XXIV, No. 4, Autumn 1993, 2-8.) http://www.revwar75.com/library/rees/musician1.htm "There were young musicians who served with the army. Fifer John Piatt of the 1st New Jersey Regiment was ten years old at the time of his first service in 1776, while Lamb's Artillery Regiment Drummer Benjamin Peck was ten years old at the time of his 1780 enlistment. There were also a number of musicians who were twelve, thirteen, or fourteen years old when they first served as musicians with the army."
Revolutionary War Unit List http://www.justice101us.com/usrevlist.htm
BINGO - Gale Publishing - Microform Guide http://microformguides.gale.com/Data/Download/3073000A.rtf This file lists 3 pages of Col. John Lamb's Second Regiment of Continental Artillery documents on film, which can be ordered through the Manatee Central Library in Bradenton where you live. A Sample entry reads: "Col. John Lamb's Second Regiment of Continental Artillery, New Jersey and New York. (American). June 8 - August 19, 1779. Contains brigade and regimental orders. Regiment was part of Henry Knox's artillery brigade. Locations: Whippany, N.J. and Chester, N.Y. Kept by Chilian Ford, Adjutant. 110 pages. Reel: 8, No. 90."
There were 160 additional Google hit list entries for you to peruse. We haven't even begun to discuss a search of the Library of Congress catalog at: http://loc.gov and the National Archives http://www.archives.gov .
Happy family tree climbing!