Royal Highlanders in the American War of Independence

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SarahND
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Royal Highlanders in the American War of Independence

Post by SarahND » Fri Sep 01, 2006 8:01 pm

Hello all,

In Legends of Loudoun : an account of the history and homes of a border county of Virginia's Northern Neck by Harrison Williams (1938) there is a tale of "Highland Prisoners taken by Captain James and Richard Barron in the Ship Oxford" who were sent to Loudoun County, Virginia on 24 June, 1776. One of those named was a John Gunn who may or may not be my ggg grandfather. I would like to try to find out more about him in case he is the right one.

On this site:
http://www.electricscotland.com/history ... pter13.htm

it appears to talk of the same group who were taken prisoner, and refers to them as recruits for Fraser's Highlanders, "April 14, 1776, the Royal Highlanders, in conjunction with Fraser’s Highlanders, embarked at Greenock to join an expedition under General Howe against the Americans....The Royal Highlanders lost but one of their transports, the Oxford, and at the same time another transport in company with her, having on board recruits for Fraser’s Highlanders, in all two hundred and twenty men.They were made prizes of by the Congress privateer, and all the officers, arms and ammunition were taken from the Oxford, and all the soldiers were placed on board that vessel with a prize crew of ten men to carry her into port. In a gale of wind the vessels became separated, and then the carpenter of the Oxford formed a party and retook her, and sailed for the Chesapeake. On June 20th, they sighted Commodore James Barron’s vessel, and dispatched a boat with a sergeant, one private and one of the men who were put on board by the Congress to make inquiry. The latter finding a convenient opportunity, informed Commodore Barron of their situation, upon which he boarded and took possession of the Oxford, and brought her to Jamestown. The men were marched to Williamsburgh, Virginia, where every inducement was held out to them to join the American cause. When the promise of military promotion failed to have an effect, they were then informed that they would have grants of fertile land, upon which they could live in happiness and freedom. They declared they would take no land save what they deserved by supporting the king. They were then separated into small parties and sent into the back settlements; and were not exchanged until 1778, when they rejoined their regiments."

Would any of you military specialists know where I might find information about the fate of those prisoners, and if they all rejoined their regiments or not? The Legends of Loudoun book seemed to suggest that not all of them left. If some of them stayed behind in Virginia, I may have found my man... right name, right place-- and new evidence seems to indicate that the only other one in the area is the wrong one.

Thanks for any advice,
Sarah

Liz Turner
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Post by Liz Turner » Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:52 pm

Dear Sarah

Did you have any luck with your quest?

Liz
Fife: Nicolson, Cornfoot, Walker, Gibson, Balsillie, Galt, Elder
NE Scot: Nicolson, Lindsay, Haliburton, Ross
Edin & Central: Nicolson, Blaikie, Stevenson, Ross, Hotchkiss, Suttie, Christie, Clelland, Gray, Purvis, Lang, Dickson
Ross & Cromarty: Ross

SarahND
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Post by SarahND » Thu Oct 19, 2006 8:02 pm

Hi Liz,
Thanks for asking. No, I haven't heard a word out of anyone on this. The plot has thickened though, in the interim. Three matches have come in that tie the DNA of my Gunn line to the Gunns of New England, who supposedly descend from a Jasper Gunn born possibly in Essex about 1606. So perhaps he wasn't a different, Virginia Gunn as had been thought. However, there are some folks with the surname Elliot who also match up :shock: So... everyone is trying to figure out what happened, whether it was an Elliot who fathered a Gunn, or a Gunn who fathered an Elliot (and they thought no one would ever find out! :wink: )
Great fun :D
Sarah

Liz Turner
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Location: Renfrewshire, Scotland

Post by Liz Turner » Thu Oct 19, 2006 8:05 pm

Well it will certainly keep your mind sharp, tracking all the possibilities!

Liz
Fife: Nicolson, Cornfoot, Walker, Gibson, Balsillie, Galt, Elder
NE Scot: Nicolson, Lindsay, Haliburton, Ross
Edin & Central: Nicolson, Blaikie, Stevenson, Ross, Hotchkiss, Suttie, Christie, Clelland, Gray, Purvis, Lang, Dickson
Ross & Cromarty: Ross

DavidWW
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Post by DavidWW » Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:14 am

Sarah

See http://www.regiments.org/regiments/uk/inf/078fraser.htm for possible sources on Fraser's Highlanders and similarly http://www.regiments.org/regiments/uk/inf/042Black.htm for The Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch) .

That early I'm not sure if extant records would show that a man had spent time as a prisoner before returning to the regiment.

David

CaptainP
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Re: Royal Highlanders in the American War of Independence

Post by CaptainP » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:27 pm

Private John Gunn was a member of Capt. John Smith's company of the 42nd Regt and was captured when the transport Oxford was recaptured off the Virginia coast. As stated above he was sent to Loudoun County, but he did not remain in that area. He is listed in a document titled :Return of the Mens names belonging to his Majesty’s 42d. or Royal Highland Regimt, Prisoners of War at Lancaster Augt. 16th. 1777. He is shown in that document that he "came 3d May 1777." [Source: Lib. of Congress, Peter Force Papers, Series 9, Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Reel 104.] He was exchanged in 1778 and returned to Capt. George Dalrymple's Co. (Dalrymple had traded companies with Capt. Smith) under a document titled:"List of Officers &c belonging to the Service of Great Britain sent from Philadelphia to New York October the ______ 1778 under the care of _____ " [Source: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Thomas Bradford Papers, Land and Naval Prisoners, p. 17.] At the end of the War [1782 muster] John Gunn (now spelled Gun) is still listed in the same company (which had reverted back to Capt. Smith's command). He is not listed among the 42nd Regt. soldiers who took their discharges and settled in Canada and he is not listed in the group of soldiers who were discharged at the end of the war and returned to Scotland. Accordingly he traveled with the regiment to Nova Scotia at the end of the war where they remained until Aug. 1789 at which point the regiment returned to Scotland after an absence of 13 years.

Hope this helps. Sorry Gunn is not your guy.

Paul Pace
author: Kilts & Courage, the Story of the 42nd or Royal Highland Regiment in the American War of Independence, 1776 - 1783.(manuscript)

SarahND
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Re: Royal Highlanders in the American War of Independence

Post by SarahND » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:51 pm

Thanks, Paul. I'm trying to get this straight. So, John Gunn was not listed under those who took their discharges and went to Canada, nor was he listed as one who was discharged and went back to Scotland at the end of the war. But what you are saying is that he did stay in Nova Scotia with the regiment until 1789 and then went back to Scotland at that time?
As you say, that would seem to prove that he is not my man, but it is good to have the documentation to clear the doubt-- thanks!

All the best,
Sarah

P.S.Do you live close enough to do research at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania? Lucky man! I was there for one day last March and wished I had more time.

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