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Joel Fagg's Rev War Pension Declaration

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Revolutionary War Pension File #S2205 for Joel Fagg of MD

Declaration In order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress dated June 7th 1832. State of Tennessee, Maury County, County Court, September Term 1835. On this 16th day of September 1835 personally appeared before John Mack, Robert Wortham + Alexander Johnson Justices of said court presiding ---- Joel Fagg a resident of Maury County State of Tennessee aged Eighty years who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832. That he enlisted in the Army of the United States in the year 1776 in the last of July or first of August. He enlisted under Johnson Stone in Charles County in the State of Maryland, said Stone was a recruiting officer he was appointed a Major before we started to march, + was afterwards a Colonel - wounded while Colonel. When enlisted he went to Portobacco in said Charles county. Declarant was put in the company commanded by Capt. Joseph Marbury, Lieutenants Joseph Sims + Jacob Garner – the said Stone was Major – there was but the one company at Portobaco, we remained at Portobaco drilling every day until about the first day of October 1776. We then marched to Annapolis State of Maryland there we met three other companies. Major Stone took command of the then four companies – we stayed at Annapolis (+ drilled every day except Sundays) for about 4 or five weeks, waiting to get vessels to cross the Bay – we got vessels sometime in November + crossed the bay, he thinks they employed three saling vessels in crossing – the number exactly he cannot recollect. The troops saled up a small stream called Elk river + landed at a small village, the name of which he cannot recollect. We waited a few days there for orders. Orders came from Genl Washington for the new troops to march + join the grand army in the Jerseys. We marched on + passed the Delaware river a small distance above Philadelphia, the place at which they joined Washington he cannot precisely recollect. They were in the woods, but he thinks they marched two or three days after crossing Delaware River before they reached the main Army. The main Army was commanded by Genl George Washington, he understood the main army to be only about three or four thousand strong – Colonels Cadwallader + Ewing were there – during the first of the month of December we were marching about to different places in the Jerseys. On Christmas 1776 we were encamped a short distance below Trenton + Washington divided the army into 3 parts. He gave Cadwalader the command of one + Ewing of the another + Washington commanded the other. He understood that one part went to attack Burlington another part to attack Bennington, + he understood that both these failed from the ice in the Delaware river. When we crossed the Delaware he does not recollect but recollects that on Christmas the army was on the Pennsylvania side – the army were marched about a great deal immediately preceding that time. When Washington divided his army Declarant was placed in Washington’s division – on Christmas night after dark it was snowing very fast + sometimes sleeting – we struck our tents + marched off. Cadwalader + Ewing marched of their parts + Washington his. We under Washington marched up the river eight miles (as he understood) above Trenton, the river was full of floating ice, we heard the cracking of the ice before we got to the river – we crossed the river some in boats or flats + some on horses he thinks most of them went in boats except such as rode. He crossed in a ferry boat or flat. They were a good while crossing 3 or 4 hours – soon as we crossed we formed + marched on down the river to Trenton + got in sight of Trenton between daylight + sun rise it had quit snowing a while before day + the morning was clear – as soon as we got in sight of Trenton we formed for Battle in a great haste – so soon as we were formed Washington rode along the line + waved his sword towards the British + told us there were the enemies of our country + bid us to think of what we were going to do – he made a short but very affecting speech + ordered us to march + led the way – we rushed upon the enemy – the enemy did not discover our approach until we were charging upon them – they rallied their division + tried to form but we came upon them so fast that they were unable to do so. We killed some by shooting + some with bayonets – some only of us had bayonets – we had not much fighting to do – they surrendered very soon – we took 400 or 500 prisoners – we took and killed the greater part of the enemy except some horsemen who escaped. We took the prisoners + spoil on to Philadelphia which place we reached in two or three days – we marched back immediately to Trenton + got there he thinks about the 1st or 2d day of January 1777. We passed through Trenton + crossed the Sand Pink a crick near Trenton. The British came in to Trenton on one side when we went out at the other, + followed us to the Sand Pink, we stopped at the Sand Pink + placed our cannon at the ford of the Sand Pink to prevent the enemy from crossing. We left Trenton in the evening + after we crossed the Sand Pink the British came up + commenced firing at us + a constant cannonading was kept up until dark – when both armys quit + seemed to go to cooking + eating + then to sleep – after we eat + rested a while Washington directed the fires to be kept up to induce the enemy to think we were there - + after waiting for the enemy to go to sleep + every thing to get quiet – we sliped of with as little noise as possible and undiscovered by the enemy – the enemy as we were informed were greatly disappointed when day came to find that we were not there – when we left the camp at the Sand Pink we marched in the rear of the enemy on to Princetown at which place there was a body of the enemy – just as we got to Princeton about sun rise we met the British who were said to be coming to help Cornwallis to catch us. The battle commenced immediately, we were going down a hill side + met the enemy coming up – the battle was very hard, + at one time we gave back but Washington snatched a Standard + calling to us to come on + shaking the standard rushed upon the enemy – this revived the army + seemed to strike the army like lightening + they whole army fought with redoubled vigor. + we then soon put the enemy to flight – we took two or three hundred prisoners + we killed he thinks he understood between 120 + 150 men – we had of our men killed + wounded about 40 or 50 – we lost one of our bravest men a Colonel Mercer as he understood – soon after the battle Declarant took sick + did not know much of what took place after the battle. A great many of the new recruits of the army were badly frost bitten during the Trenton marching before related. Declarant amongst the rest was badly frost bitten – from the effects of the cold + the swelling of his lower extremities + the Rheumatism he was unable to travel + was left at the house of an old Quaker named Carney about ten miles from Princeton. He stayed six or eight week at Carney’s + he thinks after the Princeton battle the British went into winter quarters the place he cannot recollect, + the American army went to a place called Valley Forge as well as he can recollect. Declarant remained in the neighborhood of Carney’s unable to march in company with another soldier disabled in the same campaign by the name of William Maddox for three or four weeks after he left Carney’s this time was spent about one week at the house of one Song + the balance of the time the houses he does not recollect who they belonged to. We then in March trudged on slowly as we were able towards army as we could here of it moving about from place to place, + finally reached the army somewhere in towards Philadelphia he thinks tho he cannot recollect precisely. About this – the army by this time had improved very much + prospects had much improved. General Wm Smallwood after the battle of Princeton + before Declarant reached the army after his sickness at Carney’s joined the army + he thinks brought more men from Maryland + took command of the Maryland line. Declarant’s Captain Martwig was appointed [????]or + Hubbard Smallwood brother of the General Smallwood was appointed captain in his place. When Declarant joined the army he was still unable to do duty, was unable to go without crutches + he had been unable to walk without crutches since the Battle of Princeton – he remained about the army an invalid + unable to do duty until the last of August 1777, when it was thought that he would probably never be able to do duty again. Still on his crutches when Captain Smallwood gave him a furlough to go home – he left the army + went home on the last day of August 1777, with a promise to come back if he ever got able – he got home about the last of October 1777 – he remained at home about two years unable to do any work he stayed at his fathers house + got able to go without crutches in the spring of 1779. In May of 1779 the Roebuck came up the Potomac river + got up to Crary Island, but got no higher, it was supposed that she came up to find Washington’s house but could not get up for want of water – but [????]ed to land – for many Virginians were assembled, they burnt Marshals house on the Maryland side – Capt Lucket + Capt Garner in Charles County Maryland raised two companies of volunteer to guard Genl Smallwoods house + the county warehouse called Chickamicksin Warehouse at the mouth of the Chickamicksin crick on the Potomac – Declarant joined Capt Lucket’s company – his name was Samuel Lucket. The Roebuck a 74 gun ship as he understood the Foy a brig + the Otter a sloop as he was understood had passed up the Potomac before they arrived at the warehouse, we remained there until the Reobuck + her company went down + followed them down in St. Marys County the next county below, we were then discharged – we had nothing but muskets + only expected to keep the British from landing this they never attempted so that we had no fighting this time he served he thinks at least a month this trip. A regulation was made about that once that one man out of every eight had to go + the eight that I belonged to seven had hired one Ozed or Hozekia Roddy to go he went + served until Cornwallis was taken. He enlisted for three years or during the war on or about the 1st of August 1776 + served until the last of August 1777 + was not able to do duty again until the time of his enlistment had expired – Declarant cant recollect dates but he thinks in 1778 or 1779 General Smallwood called at his Declarants where he was staying to know if he had sufficiently recovered to join the army + Declarant believes that Genl Smallwood was on his way to join the Gates in the South + he was then unable to go.

Declarant was born in Charles county Maryland on the 4th day of September 1755, he has a written memorandum of his age in a Prayer book that Declarant copied out of a Prayer book of his father, in which his father kept a memorandum of the ages of his children. Declarant remained in said Charles county until about ten years after the Revolutionary War had ended – he then moved into Spottsylvania county State of Virginia 22 miles south of Fredericksburg – he lived there about 22 years – he then moved to Rockingham county North Carolina near Gov Martins he lived there about 10 or 12 years he then moving to Maury County Tennessee where he now lives and has lived since he left N. Carolina. He never had any written discharge the furlough he received from Captain Smallwood was burnt in Rockingham county N. Carolina in Declarants house which was burnt about 11 years ago. He was a private soldier in all the service he performed. Declarant was of opinion that he could never get a pension as he did not serve his full time, he has on that account never applied for a pension until this time. He did not receive information that induced him to believe he could get a pension until sometime in 1834 + he lives 17 miles from the courthouse at Columbia + being unable to ride a great part of his time he has delayed until now – he came to court last spring + had his declaration in part prepared, but could find no clergyman in town who could make the proper certificates – he knows of no one by whom he can prove his services. He has no written testimony of his services. He claims for the full term of three years in which he enlisted because he would have been in the army the whole time if he had been able, that he was not so as his indisposition was produced by exposure in the service but he was in active service 10 months of the term enlisted for + one month as a volunteer. Of the regular officers he saw, Washington, Smallwood, Stone, Cadwallader, Ewing, + Marbury + Col. Mercer = he knows of no clergyman in his neighborhood that can testify as to services but he knows one Leven Covey a clergyman who lives some distance from him who knew him in N. Carolina. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or an annuity except the present, + he declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency of any state. Sworn to + subscribed the day and year afforesaid in open court. Joel Fagg


Also in the file is a letter dated Chicago Jan 23d 1860 to the pension office trying to expedite a widow’s pension for Frances Fagg widow of Joel Fagg. “It will be impossible to obtain any more of her signature to any papers as she as I am informed, is already insensible – probably will live but a short time.” (from a law firm) There was a reply letter dated Feb. 2, 1860 from the pension office advising any delay was because they had not submitted the proper application, a copy of which had been sent to them last November.

A form summarizes the soldier’s service, says he died April 17, 1843, leaving a widow Frances, but no further data on file as to his family.

An affidavit from Levin L. Covey, clergyman of Maury County testified he knew Fagg 20 or 25 years, that he was truthful and of good character.

Another affidavit is from Jesse Pilkenton of Maury County who knew Fagg about 20 years and had heard his father, who served in the same war, talk with Fagg about their service.

The pension office only allowed for 6 months service at $20 per year. The land office in Annapolis could not find Fagg on any muster or pay rolls of the Revolution in their office.

A letter dated Columbia, Ten., Apl. 12, 1837, says Joel Fagg is a very old and infirm man and lives fifty-five miles from Nashville where the pension office is. He did not apply for his pension in 1836 because of this, and now they don’t want to pay him in March 1837 since it had been a year. They were asking for instructions from the war department on how to proceed. It was signed by James H. Thomas of Columbia (who later acted as his estate administrator).





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