The BOAT SERVICE - 
BATTEAUMEN

American Revolution

    

  

Source:  This article was written by James F. Morrison; included in November 1986's newsletter from Col. Frederick Fissher's Regiment of Tryon County Militia, 3rd Battalion .  


  One of the least known civilian service performed during the American Revolution.  Although they were not considered soldiers and they received higher pay than soldiers, they did perform military duties, fought in battles and many of them were either killed, wounded or taken prisoner.  These companies served on the North River (now called the Hudson River) and the Mohawk River supplying all fortifications with supplies from Albany.  These men when applying for pensions could not use this service to obtain a pension as they had to prove at least six months military service and many of these served only in the boat service and were denied a pensions on these grounds.

  The following excerpt is from William Feeter's pension (No. S13013) who had served about four years in the boat service in Samuel Gray's Company.

  "In the year 1780 - deponant again enlisted to carry provisions to Fort Stanwix and other forts west of Schenectady as before stated & went to Albany in February to muster and was sent home to remain till the river opened in the Spring - at which time deponant went to Schenectady & commenced boating & continued in the same service most of the time till late fall, Samuel Gray was Captain or had command & direction of the boats - & each boat was manned by these men during the Summer the boats then in number as deponant believes were on their way to Fort Stanwix & had proceeded as far as Fort Schuyler where the City of Utica in the County of Oneida is now situated when they were informed by a friendly Indian that the Indians commanded by Brant were in ambush up the river to Surprise & take the boats - The Boatmen landed & picketed in a Small Spot of ground adjoining the bank of the river opposite their boats to secure themselves against the Attack of the Indians.  They sent an express immediately to Schenectady for relief & Genl Van Rensselaer came up the Mohawk River collected the militia in his way & relieved them after they had been there Eleven or Twelve days - & guarded them Safe to Fort Stanwix - "

  The following is excerpted from Lieutenant Samuel Tallmadge's Journal for 1780 in ORDERLY BOOKS OF THE FOURTH NEW YORK REGIMENT AND THE SECOND NEW YORK REGIMENT, ed. Almon W. Lauber, 1932, p. 540.  ..."The Waggon Master is to see the Waggons to the Boats and Return them to Camp as soon as they are Unloaded.  Mr. Barret is to go with the Boats to Fort Schuyler and there to Remain unloaded till the troops Arrive, Capt Gray of the Battow Men is to proceed with all possible Dispatch, with the Boats under his Command"... Dated Orisco Novr 21st 1780.

  There were several companies of BATTEAUX during the war and following is a list of the captains:
EVERT VAN EPS (1776)
William Peters (Peterson) saw service mostly on the Hudson River
PETER H. EHLE (1779) Sullivan-Clinton Campaign and the Onondaga Campaign
JOHN MARTIN (taken prisoner on August 2, 1777 at Fort Schuyler and imprisoned ay Quebec, company was disbanned)
SIMEON DEGRAFF saw service on the Hudson River
JOSEPH PEEK saw service on the Hudson River
John Leffler saw service on the Hudson River
John Mynderse who also served on the Hudson River.

  Susan Watkins who recently visited the National Archives in Washington xeroxed muster rolls of some of these companies for me and for which I am very thankful for her assistance.  There are many men in these companies who were from Tryon County.

  The following Muster Roll of Captain Samuel Gray's Company was taken from REVOLUTIONARY WAR ROLLS 1775 - 1783, microfilm reel 122.

 

Payroll of Capt. Samuel Grays Compy of Batteumen &c in the service of the 
United States of America from from the date of their respective enlistments
to the 29th Feby 1780

Date of
Enlistment 1780
    Officers & Men's Names No. Days in
Service
Amt of Wages
Jany 15 Capt. Samuel Gray (1) 46 147     4    0
20 Leut Peter Kyser(2) 41 114   16    0
20 Serjt Henry Kartwright(3) 41 106    12   0
20 Serjt Andrew Gray(3) 41 106    12   0
20 Jacobus Van Vorst 41 98     8    0
20 Albert Vedder 41 98     8    0
24 John Fitzgerald 38 91     4    0
24 James Williams 38 91     4    0
24 Andrew Dunham 38 91     4    0
24 Adam Smith 38 91     4    0
25 George Kelly 37 88   16    0
24 John Stuart 38 91     4    0
25 William Veeder 37 88   16    0
25 Coenrat Kilts 37 88   16    0
25 Christopher Kill 37 88   16    0
25 Henry Wafel 37 88   16    0
29 Robert Alen 32 76   16    0
Feby 1st Alexr Morough 29 68   12    0
1 David Burns 29 68   12    0
5 Christian Edick 25 60    0    0
5 Nicholas Kesler 25 60    0    0
5 Thomas Bell 25 60    0    0
5 George M. Weaver 25 60    0    0
5 John Weaver 25 60    0    0
5 Frederick Smith 25 60    0    0
5 Coenrat Fults 25 60    0    0
5 Coenrat Edick 25 60    0    0
5 Henry Timerman 25 60    0    0
5 Peter Suits 25 60    0    0
5 Jacob Lap 25 60    0    0
5 George Stansel 25 60    0    0
5 Jacob Pealer 25 60    0    0
9 Hanyost Fink 20 40    0    0
9 Peter Young 20 40    0    0
13 John Kyser 16 38   8    0
13 Henry Canter 16 38   8    0
19 John M. Martin 10 24   0    0
19 Peter McGardner 10 24   0    0
19 Frederick Bowen 10 24   0    0
19 George House 10 24   0    0
20 Lawrence Hilts 9 21  12   0
20 Peter Hilts  9 21  12   0
20 Nicholas Kestler Jun 9 21  12   0
20 Ichobod Bony 9 21  12   0
21 Henry Nellis 8 19   4    0
21 John Boyer 8 19   4    0
21 Michael Potter 8 19   4    0
21 Adam Bellinger 8 19   4    0
26 William Forgison 4 9   12   0
26 James Forgison 4 9   12   0
27 Henry Rickmoyer 3 7    4    0
29 Henry Van D Warker 1 2    8    0
       Total Amount: 

  3105   12   0

The above payroll is Just & True
By me
Signed Samuel Gray

   

Wages per day for the Men listed were 48. with exception of the following:
1. Capt. Samuel Gray's wages: 64 per day.
2. Leut Peter Kyser's wages: 56 per day.
3.  Serjts Henry Kartwrightand Andrew Gray's wages:  52 per day.

  


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Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:35:33 PDT