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"In what AWI battles did “state” regiments fight?" Topic

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18th Century

940 hits since 11 Feb 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2018 3:28 p.m. PST

Not Continentals, not militia, but state regiments.
I don't recall seeing any battles in which they fought.

And how did they perform ?

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Feb 2018 4:09 p.m. PST

Were they state regiments "in service with the Continental Army" ?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2018 4:44 p.m. PST

Give me a bit to check, but I'm pretty sure the Pennsylvania State Musketeer Battalion and Miles' Pennsylvania State Rifles are both with Washington for the 1776 campaign, and the Pennsylvania State Regiment and the Pennsylvania State Artillery for the 1777. But the State Regiment converts to Continentals (13th PA) in November, and the Artillery about June, though it isn't officially the 4th Continental Artillery for a couple of years. Smallwood's Maryland State becomes Continentals in the course of the 1776 Campaign--I think after Long Island and before Fort Washington. Do we want to do the Pennsylvania and Maryland Flying Camp units, or are we counting them as Continentals? Anyway, after 1777, you're mostly talking--well, security forces: they guard prisoners, keep order and I think sometimes pull duty on the western frontiers, but they're not usually integrated with the field armies or in major actions. But Berg complains that it's often hard to draw the line.

I'm in the process of feeding all the officers into a database. Give me a few years, and I'll be able to tell you whether they were younger or older or had more or less education and experience. But on the basis of impressions so far the Maryland and Pennsylvania units are officered by men indistinguishable from the Continentals. There's no big turnover when they become Continentals, and no change in drill and discipline.

Bill N11 Feb 2018 5:15 p.m. PST

Elements of the Virginia State Artillery Regiment served in the 1780 siege of Charleston and was captured. Other elements of this regiment along with the Virginia Garrison Regiment served at the Battle of Camden. Their commander Porterfield was wounded in the early morning skirmishing and the unit was wiped out fighting beside the Maryland continentals. Dabney's virginia state command participated in the 1781 Virginia campaign.

South Carolina raised some state forces in 1781 that participated in a number of skirmishes.

I believe Republic of Vermont troops fought along side New Hampshire and Vermont militia and Warner's regiment at Bennington.

A number of other state units were converted to continentals or leant for continental service. Both Rhode Island and Connecticut had units called state troops, but I don't know whether they were state troops or militia, and do not know their service records.

historygamer12 Feb 2018 5:23 a.m. PST

I want to say that some fought at Brandywine (PA state regiments).

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2018 6:45 a.m. PST

Berg's book on continental army units states that a detachment of the Va Garrison reg't went to Camden, along with some cavalry and artillery. I would like for the author to have been more specific, because it can easily be interpreted that the artillery and cavalry were also detachments of state line, so it could be that Va state troops headed to Camden as an ad-hoc legion, breaking up and getting assigned by branch for the battle.

RudyNelson12 Feb 2018 7:12 a.m. PST

Maybe the Siege of Savannah.
The forces that fought Cornwallis in the Carolinas was a combination of State and regular troops. IIRC without my notes, VA sent several regiments south.

Bill N12 Feb 2018 9:09 a.m. PST

@79thPA-I had forgotten about Nelson's Virginia cavalry.

My impression is that Jefferson dispatched elements of the Virginia State Garrison Regt, the Virginia State Artillery and Nelson's horse, and possibly some militia, numbering combined around 300-350 men under Porterfield's command. There is nothing I have seen which indicates this force was intended to be a legion rather than separate commands under a common commander, but the details are sparse. They left Virginia shortly after Buford's 3rd Virginia Continental Detachments marched south to join Lincoln's forces opposing Clinton. Because they had not reached South Carolina before Charleston fell, Porterfield's command survived Charleston and Waxhaws. They operated in North Carolina until deKalb, Gates and the Continentals arrived. Armand tried to have Porterfield's troops incorporated into his Legion. By the time of the battle of Camden their strength had been reduced in part because of expiring enlistments. The cavalry and infantry units seem to have operated separately at Camden. I am not sure whether the elements of the Virginia State Artillery operated as gunners or served as infantry with the State Garrison Regt.

Supposedly a handful of Nelson's horse were with Morgan at the Battle of Cowpens.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2018 10:00 a.m. PST

It looks like we are thinking along the same lines. I used poor terminology, as I meant that the force would have looked like a legion on paper but, as you note, the force was destined to be assigned to other units rather than remain as a unified Va command. Thanks for your insight.

Rawdon12 Feb 2018 12:40 p.m. PST

Good stuff from Bill N. about the southern campaign. I'll just add that near the end of the campaign a small unit of North Carolina state infantry was also raised. Information is sparse but my hunch would be that their state of training was little better than that of militia.

ocollens Supporting Member of TMP14 Feb 2018 11:00 a.m. PST

Babits Devil of a Licking gives Virginia State troops under Lawson, North Carolina under Connelly and South Carolina under Hammond and Pickens (these included cavalry and riflemen) at Cowpens.

Virginia Tory15 Feb 2018 7:36 a.m. PST

I was under the impression Green's and Hawes' Virginia regiments at Guilford were state troops (not Continentals, although they are often identified as such). Might be in Babbits' _Long, Obstinate and Bloody_.

Bill N15 Feb 2018 8:35 a.m. PST

It has always been my understanding that the 1st and 2nd Virginia at Guilford Courthouse (sometimes referred to as the 4th and 5th Virginia) were Continental units. Their commanding officers were Continentals. Other officers had previous Continental service. Troops in the 1st contained some survivors of the disasters at Charleston and Waxhaws. The rest were mostly 18 month volunteers and draftees, possibly augmented by men who previously had guarded the Saratoga POWs. I also have not been able to trace either unit to any of the Virginia State formations in existence before 1779. That said I have seen one pension application from the 2nd which refers to the troops as entering Continental service AFTER Guilford Courthouse. So perhaps they were state troops at Guilford after all.

I had forgotten about Lawson's company at Cowpens. It shows up on various orders of battle, but to date I have not seen any further information on this unit.

Brechtel19815 Feb 2018 5:51 p.m. PST

Porterfield's light infantry, a state unit, fought at Camden in August 1780. Porterfield was killed in action there.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2018 8:23 a.m. PST

Apparently a lot more than I thought.
I assumed that when an OOB lists "3rd Virginia", it meant a Continental regiment.
Food for thought.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2018 10:15 a.m. PST

Working from memory here because I don't have my files with me.

Connecticut State Regiment in the New York/New Jersey campaign.

South Carolina State Regiment at Eureka Springs.

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