How many Generals served in the American Revolutionary War ?

+10 votes
153 views
I always thought a General of the American Revolutionary War was a significant and rare authority person, a person who actually commanded the battles during the war years. Is it appropriate to put this category on the profile of Ephraim Hinman-390. The Hinman Genealogy written by his son Royal Ralph Hinman says of his father born 1753 "... when a young man he was a captain of a military company, quarter-master and an assistant commissary general of issues in the war of the Revolution and served to the close of the war...After the close of the war, he was promoted by regular grades to the office of Major, Colonel and Brigadier General ..." He doesn't seem to be in the same rank as Ethan Allen or George Washington, etc.
WikiTree profile: Ephraim Hinman
asked in The Tree House by Sheila x G2G6 Mach 2 (26.2k points)

Fantastic question.  He sure sounds notable to me!

WikiPedia doesn't have him yet but they have Royal

Well there were the Generals who led troops and then there were the armchair generals sitting in their houses or the pub. :-)
I would point out that your own question says "after the close of the war, he was promoted...." - if this is accurate he was not a General of the American Revolution.

If I recall correctly an Assistant Commissary General would at the very most 'equate to' a Colonel, but I get the sense from what you have quoted that he was a Captain who may have been employed (locally) within his organization in a job typically held by a Major.
So the pen is mighter than the sword ! Royal Ralph Hinman, author of many publications some of them listed in his wikitree profile.

Keep in mind the Brevet given at the time of retirement.

 

3 Answers

+4 votes

Elaine, the info I found most useful was the criteria which bears repeating:

  • was a nation's top civilian responsible for directing military affairs
  • held a commission of at least major general or rear admiral in an organized military during the conflict
  • was the highest-ranking member of a given nation's force that participated in the conflict (if that rank was not at least major general)
  • was the highest-ranking member of a given state/colonial militia
  • was a provincial or territorial governor who is documented to have directed a military action
  • was a Native American tribal leader who is documented to have had a leadership position in a military action
Sheila - What are those criteria for? Also does the 4th bullet imply that a state militia does not count as an organized military under the 2d bullet?
thank yu glad to help

 

Elaien
+3 votes
Was Hinman a General in the Continental Army? This source says he was a Brigadier General of the Connecticut militia: https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=_Al5AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA76 For what it's worth, Ethan Allen was apparently never a General in the Continental Army either. He was a Brigadier General of the Vermont militia and later a Colonel in the Continental Army. With several grades of General and lots of different militias as well as the Continental Army, there were lots of generals.

Brigadier General of a State militia was a big deal, but I always find it funny when people want to attach a military prefix to an ancestor, when it turns out that they were just an officer in the local town militia where basically half the able bodied men in town were officers at one time or another.
answered by Chase Ashley G2G6 Pilot (111k points)
edited by Chase Ashley

The criteria are cut and pasted from the wikipedia entry Elaine provided. Following that criteria Ephraim is NOT a General of the American Revolution.

Ephraim Hinman born 1753 was 23 years old when 'the shot was heard round the world' and 30 years old when the war ended in 1783. His son says in the Hinman Genealogy that Ephraim "was a captain of a military company, quarter-master and an assistant commissary general of issues... after the close of the war, he was promoted by regular grades to the office of Major, Colonel and Brigadier General"

Google further provides the item that Joseph Trumbull was the first commissary general of the Continental Army.  And then a dictionary definition of commissary general - an officer in charge of some special department of army service.

+3 votes
General Henry Knox born c.1750 should be counted. The text below comes from a book: Visionary General of the American Revolution written by Mark Puls.

"With respect to General Knox, I can say with truth, there is no man in the United States with whom I have been in habits of greater intimacy; no one whom I have loved more sincerely, nor any for whom I have had a greater friendship.

George Washington to John Adams"
answered by Kevin Sands G2G6 Mach 2 (28.1k points)

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