30 September 2006

Siege of Charleston 1780 and David Montgomery W4039

For most of the Revolutionary War, David MONTOGMERY (W4039) of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina fought the Tories as a volunteer, serving for short periods as needed from about 1776 until at least mid-1780. His pension was granted for service as a private from Burke County, North Carolina, where he currently resided, "in the company commanded by Captain Alexander of regt. commanded by Col Polk in the NoCa [militia?] for 7 mo. 12 days."

Since each regular enlistment was for a three-month period, we know that David served in the regular militia for at least two full tours of duty. His last three-month stint - the only one for which not volunteered - put him on an ill-fated mission to Charleston, South Carolina. The Siege of Charleston, the beginning of which was signaled by the arrival of ships from New York carrying British General Clinton and 8000 men on 1 Feb 1780, ended ingloriously for the Americans on 12 May 1780. The battle for Charleston has been characterized as the worst defeat American troops suffered during the Revolutionary War. The British, who lost 225 men, captured the city; four ships; an arsenal; and a garrison of 5400 men (America's southern army). David was held as prisoner of war and later paroled. Undaunted, he continued to fight against the Tories until the war's end, though strictly as a volunteer. David asked for and drew his pension based on the tours of duty he served with the regular army.

What follows is a chronological history of his service transcribed from a portion of the original pension application filed by David Montgomery himself. Notice that the chronology below shifts without pause between the recording court clerk's point of view and that of David as the seventy-seven year-old gives his testimony and the Burke County court clerk hurries to write it down.

I've done my best to keep all the syntax, spellings, and punctuation found in the original record:

1st he went as a Volunteer under Captain James Alexander of the Mecklenburgh N Carolina malitia commanded by Col Thomas Polk against the Tories across Broad River into what is now [Rutherford County is struck through/deleted] known to be the upper part of South Carolina. defeated the Tories & drove them off the prisoners we took were sent to Salisbury. - we were out for 8 weeks. about the year 1776. --

2nd. he went under the same officers in the same service to a place called Cross Creek against the Scotch Tories got there after they were defeated went as far as Cambleton & the enemy being defeated & scattered we returned home. he think this was in in the Spring of 1776 or perhaps 1777. we were out or in other words called on to serve a three month tour & when we got home ["the" is struck through/deleted] were disbanded as having served the 3 months tour

3rd the next expedition was up into Lincoln that now is under Captain William Alexander Col. he cannot recollect only out a few weeks --

[4th - There is no 4th listed in this sequence; the clerk/recorder jumps from his 3rd point to the 5th one (below, next).]

5th the next regular Tour was for 3 months to Charleston under Captain James Ozborn in Regiment of Col Livington [Lunginton?] in the year 1780 or 1781 but knows with certainty that it was at the time Charlston was when Charlston was besiged by the Britis Army under General Clinton. We were in the town when was taken & made prisoners of war. & I was paroled. and never served a regular tour again although I often went out as a volunteer against the tories for a short time. I was drafted this 3 months tour for the Charlston expedition I have no dockumentary evidence of my services. and I hereby relinquish every claim whatever to a claim for a pension or annuity except the present and declare that my name is not on the pension list roll of the agency of any state.

Following David's death, his widow, Margaret [Allen] MONTGOMERY, drew his pension until her death in Cherokee County, North Carolina in July 1845. Then, following her death, another application was filed - this time by William BRADSHAW, husband of David's daughter Ann MONTGOMERY, on behalf of the heirs of David's widow. It is in that part of the Revolutionary War file that our best clues about David and Margaret's family emerge. From David's own part of his record, however, we get not only facts - his approximate birth date (1754 or 1755) and location ("in Pennsylvania Lancaster County"), for instance - but a good sense of the man himself.

Source: NARA Micropublication M805_593, 12 pages. David MONTGOMERY (File W4039). See also a brief summary of the Siege of Charleston online | here |.

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