COLONEL JAMES LIVINGSTON:
THE FORGOTTEN LIVINGSTON PATRIOT OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
Editor James F. Morrison
Members of the Col. James Livingston Historic Research Committee:
Pauline Wayne, Noel Levee, Lewis G. Decker, James Morrison, Robert Bedford,
Dr. Charles Noxon, Barbara Thompson and Brian Haggerty.
James Livingston was born on March 27, 1747 to John and Catryna Ten Broeck (daughter of Dirck and Margarita Cuyler Ten Broeck) Livingston1 at Albany2 . The following children were also born to John and Catryna: Robert, Margrieta, Richard (Dirck), Annatje, Janet, Abraham, Catherine and Maria.
The records are scarce on the Livingstons until about 17653 when John and his family are in Montreal and John is a thriving merchant. It is known that James was a lawyer by 1770 and living near Chambly. James apparently turned to a better trade and became a wheat merchant working with his father and brother Richard who remained at Montreal.
James married Elizabeth Simpson of Montreal (born Oct. 10, 1750) about 1770. To James and Elizabeth was born a daughter, Elizabeth on May 18, 1773 and a son, James was born on January 5, 1775.
In July of 1775, there were rumors that an invasion might take place in Canada by the Americans who were rebelling against King George of England but few thought that it was possible. Major General Philip Schuyler was given the task to gather an army for the purpose of invading Canada and to make it the fourteenth colony.
In July, Schuyler sent Major John Brown of Pittsfield, Massachusetts with letters and instructions to be carried to friends of the American government living at or near Chambly. While at Chambly, Brown visited Livingston to see what his opinion was concerning the local inhabitants as to whether they would join the invading army and take up arms against the English army occupying Canada.
Major Brown returned to General Schuyler with the intelligence that he had gathered and Livingston started to gather men to aid the invading American army when it reached Canada. Schuyler continued to gather supplies and troops at Crown Point but it was necessary to return to Albany because of his health and to speed up the supplies. Schuyler left his second in command General Richard Montgomery in command at Crown Point.
On August 30th, the American army under General Montgomery left Crown Point in batteaus and rowed up Lake Champlain to Isle La Motte where they put to shore and encamped. General Schuyler who had returned from Albany with more troops to Crown Point pushed on and joined Montgomery at Isle La Motte where he resumed command of the Canadian expedition.
In the morning of September 6th, General Schuyler with his fleet of batteaus went down the Richilieu River and later landed a little above Fort St. John. Fort St. John was under the command of Major Charles Preston of the 26th Regiment of Foot who had a garrison of about 450 British regulars plus Canadians and Indians.
No more had the Americans gotten out of sight of their boats when they were attacked by Canadians and Indians under Francois Thomas Verneuil de Lorimier. During the brief but hotly fought ambush, eight Americans were killed and another five were wounded before the enemy retreated into the safety of the forest. Lorimier had lost several killed and Captain Gilbert Tice4 of the Indian Department was severely wounded in the leg.
General Schuyler immediately set his men to the task of building breast-works for his troops and cannons and now the siege of St. John had begun. General Schuyler interviewed some of the local inhabitants about the garrison strength and was also informed that the British schooner the Royal Savage was also caught at anchor near the fort. Schuyler also received letters from Livingston who was at Point Olivier where he was busy recruiting Canadians and creating havoc among the British in that area. Livingston informed Schuyler that Captain Jeremiah Duggan, an Irish neighbor and himself with a party of Canadians attacked two British supply batteaus loaded with provisions and powder which they captured and had killed the eleven man guard. Livingston also said that he would continue in the area of Fort Chambly and continue to cut off British supplies and communications from reaching Chambly and St. John.
General Schuyler had become sick with the gout again returned to Fort Ticonderoga leaving General Montgomery in command of the expedition. Livingston with his men joined Montgomery at St. John and helped to build more breast-works for artillery batteries5 to better the bombardment of the fort.
Livingston returned to Point Olivier to continue recruiting wrote letters on the 16th and 18th6 encouraging the local Canadian militia to join Montgomery and drive the British from Canada. Governor Guy Carleton while in Montreal made a proclamation pardoning those Canadians who had taken up arms against his British troops and would return to their Canadian militia duties as loyal British subjects.
Livingston and Duggan7 now found it hard to recruit and some of their men deserted and accepted the pardon. General Montgomery also noticed the change in his Canadian allies which worried him.
Meanwhile the siege of Fort St. John continued with doing little damage to the fort. On October 11th, General Montgomery held a Council of War at his tent where it was decided to build a new battery emplacement. It was decided to build the new battery on the east side of the lake opposite the fort and redoubt. Colonel James Clinton of the Third New York Regiment8 was ordered to build this new battery with his regiment.
On the 15th, Livingston left Chambly and went to St. John to meet with his cousin by marriage General Montgomery9 to obtain heavier artillery to inflict damage on Fort Chambly. Livingston was given a nine pounder10 which he took by batteau that night under the cover of darkness back to Chambly.
On the 16th, Major Brown left St. John and marched to Chambly with another nine pounder. The combined forces of Livingston, Duggan and Brown were about 300 men with two nine pounders and now began the bombardment of Fort Chambly.
After two days of bombarding the fort was only slightly damaged and one garrison soldier had been slightly wounded. However, Major Joseph Stopford of the 7th Regiment of Foot surrendered the fort on the 18th to Livingston without even throwing the gunpowder into the Richelieu River (then called the Sorel River). Livingston went the six tons of gunpowder and the prisoners to General Montgomery. Major Preston learned of Fort Chambly's capture when three of the women prisoners were allowed to join their husbands then serving under Preston.
Canada's Governor Guy Carleton in late October with about 800 men left Montreal and sailed down the river in batteaus and canoes to relieve the garrison at Fort St. John.
Colonel Seth Warner with his regiment and the Second New York Regiment were stationed at an abandoned fortress known as Longueuil Castle. Colonel Warner had expected that the British would use the river to reinforce Fort St. John and on the 29th he obtained a four pounder to use against boats.
On October 30th, Governor Carleton on reaching Longueuil was met by the Americans under Col. Warner and a hot engagement ensued. After several hours of fighting, Governor Carleton retreated back to Montreal in defeat. Warner's men captured two Canadians bu the name of Jean Baptiste Despins and another named Lacoste. After examining the two prisoners, Colonel Warner sent the prisoners to General Montgomery.
On November 1st, General Montgomery opened up another bombardment on the fort which lasted for six hours. Considerable damage was done to the fort with three men of the garrison killed and another five were wounded.
At sundown, Montgomery sent the prisoner Lacoste under a flag of truce to Major Preston to acquaint him with Carleton's defeat at Longueuil and to convey Montgomery's demand for his surrender. Major Preston didn't believe Lacoste and wanted more proof. General Montgomery allowed Preston's representatives a Lieutenant John Andre' and Captain Edward Williams to interview Despins.
Andre' and Williams returned to the fort and gave their report to Preston. Andre' was satisfied that Lacoste and Despins were telling the truth and Williams presented Preston with Montgomery's surrender terms. Major Preston had only three days provision left, a small supply of ammunition, the fort was badly damaged and no hope of reinforcements in the near future now had no choice but to accept the surrender terms.
On the morning of November 3rd, Major Preston with his command marched out of the fort with the honors of war. General Montgomery on taking possession of the fort five orders to have it repaired and to have the schooner Royal Savage raised.11
On November 9th, Colonel Benedict Arnold arrived at Point Levy near Quebec with his half starved American soldiers. Arnold had marched to Canada by a different route through the colonies and most of it was through barren forest where very few white men had gone before. Arnold quickly sent dispatches to Montgomery asking for food, medicines and clothes while he rested his troops at Point Levy.
General Montgomery left St. John about the 9th and arrived at Montreal on the 11th. Montgomery sent his surrender terms under a flag of truce to Governor Carleton. Carleton accepted the terms but made his escape with several others to Quebec. At 10:00 A.M. on November 13th, General Montgomery with his men marched through the Recollet Gate and took possession of the City of Montreal.
On November 20th, General Montgomery appointed Livingston colonel and was given a warrant 12 to raise a regiment of Canadians. In eight days, Colonel Livingston raised a regiment of about 200 men and joined Montgomery at Sorel on the 28th.
On November 13th, Colonel Arnold with his men arrived at the City of Quebec and made preparations for a siege. On the 14th and 15th Arnold sent Captain Matthias Ogden with a flag of truce to demand the surrender of the city but he was fired on.
On November 30th, Captain Duggan arrived at Arnold's camp and had brought with him clothes and provisions. General Montgomery with his army joined Arnold at Quebec on December 1st.
During December the siege continued with bombardments and fortifying positions. Montgomery also sent flags of truce to the city to demand its surrender but they were in vain.
The following are extracts from Lieutenant William Humphrey's Journal for December of 1775, "10 This day they espied our battery - they fired upon it all day and hove some shells, but to no effect. 11 This day they fired very briskly but to no effect. 12 This day we fired a few shot from our battery."13
This kind of activity continued until December 27th when the American army planned to storm the walls. The following is again an extract from Lieutenant Humphrey's Journal, "27 This day the men were ordered to hold themselves in readiness to the shortest notice at about twelve at night, the army being divided according to the plan the Genl had laid. Part of our detachment proceeded to the Hill, the other part stayed to attack the Lower Town under the Command of Col. Arnold; but it was clearing up it was thought prudent to defer storming the garrison until a favourable opportunity."14
General Montgomery couldn't wait much longer to storm Quebec as the enlistments for most of his army would be up on January 1st. It was decided to make the assault on December 31st with the same plan as before. The plan of attack is taken from George Morison's Journal; "The plan of attack is as follows: The General to attack by Cape Diamond at the South end of the town, at the head of 200 men. Col Arnold to attack through the suburbs of St. Rock, at the head of 360 men, including the riflemen commanded by Captains Morgan, Hendricks and Smith; together with a piece of artillery. Col. Livingston and Major Brown at the head of the 160 Canadians and Massachusetts troops to make a false attack near St. John's gate. This was the central division; and were to let off the rockets, as signals for the general attack."15
Montgomery dined with some of officers on the night of December 30th, including Livingston and most likely the conversation centered on the attack plan and what they expected to do once inside the city as conquerors. After they left, Montgomery spent a restless night pacing the floor of the Holland House.
General Montgomery and Colonel Arnold assembled their troops at about 4:00 A.M. in the morning of December 31st and waited in a snow storm coming from the north east for the rocket signal.
Colonel Livingston with his 200 Canadians made their attack on the St. John's Gate and Major Brown fired the three rockets and began is attack on the Cape Diamond bastion. General Montgomery made his attack at the barricades near Cape Diamond and Arnold made his attack on the barricades at Sault au Matelot.
Livingstons' men failed to set the gate on fire and were driven off towards St. Rock and Brown's men were repulsed as well. General Montgomery found the first barricade unmanned approached the second. On his men stopping, Montgomery turned around to encourage them to follow him to victory and was fired upon from the second barricade. The British fired canister shot from their cannons and Montgomery with Captain Jacob Cheeseman, Captain John Macpherson and a few others fell dead.16 Colonel Donald Campbell now ordered a retreat and a retreat was begun in good order to their fortified camp.
Colonel Arnold attacked the barricades and carried them but he was also receiving heavy fire. Colonel Arnold received a severe wound in the leg and was carried back to the hospital at St. Roch. Arnold's men were eventually sourrounded and taken prisoners. The British pursued many of Arnold's men back to St. Roch (a suburb of Quebec) and Arnold ordered the wounded in the hospital to be armed and himself to have his pistols loaded and his sword nearby.
The British troops were fired upon by Captain Isaiah Wool with his six pounder which slowed the enemy's progress. Captain Wool was now joined by Colonel Livingston and the Third New York Regiment. After a hot fight the British retreated thus saving Arnold and the hospitals wounded from making their last stand. Hundreds of American soldiers had been killed, wounded or captured during the storming of Quebec but they still held on and continued the siege.
On January 8, 1776, the Continental Congress approved Montgomery's appointment of Livingston as colonel and was ordered to raise an Additional Continental Regiment. Livingston with eight other regiments were to continue their duty in Canada. Arnold was also commissioned Brigadier General on the same date and Livingston was assigned to Arnold's command.
The returns for Livingston's regiment for February of 1776 gives his regiments strength at 219 men including officers. In March his regimental return gives his troop strength at 206 men including officers. Arnold with his command still remained near Quebec but Carleton now awaited for spring when British reinforcements would be able to sail up the St. Lawrence to Quebec.
On May 6th, the British reinforcements did arrive at Quebec and the Americans retreated back to Montreal. In June, the Americans made their retreat from Canada back to Crown Point. Many Canadians such as James and his two brothers Richard and Abraham who were serving with James left their homes and property for good. James later claimed his total loss was $10,000.17
Livingston with his regiment was later sent to Albany with other regiments to garrison that area. General Schuyler wrote to Commissioners in Congress on November 6, 1776 asking the following, "What is to be done with the remainder of Livingston's, Hazen's and Duggan's Canadian Corps, and with the Canadian Refugees now in Albany?"18
John Nicholson, Cornelius D. Wynkoop, Livingston's regiments along with six others were only raised for 1776 as additional continental regiments and their terms would soon be up. Congress decided to change some of the past enlistment practices and changed the enlistment term from six months and one year to three years or the term of the war.
Livingston started to raise a new regiment in December of 1776 but Nicholson's regiment was disbanded and many of the officers19 and enlisted men joined Livingston's First Canadian Regiment. Livingston's regiment was sent to the Mohawk Valley to garrison many of the forts like Fort Dayton and Fort Johnstown.
Livingston's men were issued their uniforms and the following descriptions were taken from deserter descriptions in the Independent Chronicle of February 1777. Captain Timothy Hughes company had one man that wore a red British soldiers coat and another wore a lightish colored coat. Captain Abraham Livingston's company had one man that wore a blue coat faced with red and another with a light brown coat with white facings.20
Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Livingston remained at Fort Dayton (now Village of Herkimer) with one captain, two lieutenant, two sergeants, one musician and forty privates until he was relieved on May 24th by Captain Thomas Dewitt of the Third New York Regiment. Livingston's men did not relinquish the command of the fort to Captain Dewitt until the 25th because of Richard Livingston21 having been placed under arrest by orders of General Horation Gates. The small detachment of the First Canadian Regiment staged a small mutiny during the night in protest of the arrest.
Major Robert Cochran of the Third New York Regiment was sent across the Mohawk River with a bigger party by Lieutenant Colonel Marinus Willett to reinforce Captain Dewitt and quell the mutiny. Major Cochran ordered a court of inquiry into the matter with three of the court members from the Canadian Regiment, ten from the Third New York and Captain Elias Van Benschoten also of the New York Regiment serving as president.
Lieutenant Colonel Livingston with his detachment was eventually sent to Johnstown to join the rest of the regiment. Colonel James Livingston was at Albany during this time as his wife Elizabeth gave birth to another son, John on May 9th.
The first Canadian was at Johnstown22 until about the 21st of 22nd23 of July as they had been ordered on July 20th to join the American Army on the North River (now the Hudson River). They were to join Brigadier General Ebenezer Learnard's Brigade and join in the fighting the British Army under General John Burgoyne now advancing down the North River.
The following mention of Learnard's brigade is from Reverend Enos Hitchcock's diary, "Genl Nixon, Larnerd's & Tinbrook's Brigade came down from Sneak's (Snook's) Creek, Learnards encampd by Moses Creek." 24
On August 9th, the news of the defeat of Brigadier Nicholas Herkimer at Oriskany reached General Horatio Gates and the northern army on the North River. General Herkimer with about 800 men from the Tryon County Militia while on their way to the relief of the besieged garrison at Fort Schuyler (Fort Stanwix) were ambushed in a deep ravine on August 6th by Loyalists under Sir John Johnson and Indians under Joseph Brant and John Butler.
Herkimer's detachment was badly mauled, and that his relief column suffered over 200 men killed, another 150 wounded and about thirty taken prisoner. Herkimer himself was badly wounded and later died as a result of the wound. The militia had no choice but to pick up the wounded and make a hasty retreat back to Fort Dayton and send for a plea for reinforcements from the Continental army.
General Gates on receiving this plea for help order General Arnold's division to march to the Mohawk Valley, collect the militia of Tyron County and march to the relief of Fort Schuyler. The following extracts are from Rev. Enos Hitchcock's diary for August 12th are, "Genl Larnard & his Brigade marched for Fort Schuyler," and on August 13th, " Gen1 Arnold set out for Fort Schuyler - vary warm."25
On August 16th, Arnold and his men had reached Caughnawaga (now Fonda, N.Y.) where he had hoped to gather hundreds of the Tryon County Militia but he was disappointed as only 100 men joined him under Captain David McMaster.26 Here Arnold encamped and rested his men.
Arnold's relief column finally reached Fort Dayton on August 20th, where he again encamped waiting for more reinforcements and to hold a court martial for enemy prisoners.
A small detachment of British soldiers and Loyalists had been taken prisoners a few days earlier at Rudolph Shoemaker's tavern. Ensign Walter Butler of the 8th Regiment of Foot was tried for his part in trying to persuade the local inhabitants to join the King's cause and other charges as well. Hanjost Schuyler who had been a soldier in the American Army and deserted to the enemy was also one of the men taken at Shoemaker's tavern. Both prisoners were found guilty and sentenced to be hung.
Hanjost would be given a pardon if he would help the army under Arnold raise the siege at Fort Schuyler. Hanjost agreed to this and was allowed to escape and immediately made his way to the Indian camp near Fort Schuyler. On arriving at the Indian camp Hanjost began telling the Indians that Arnold was approaching with a large army. When asked on how big the American army was, he simply replied that they were like leaves in the forest. 27
The Indians on believing Hanjost's story decided it was better to return to Canada than face a superior American army. General St. Leger now left with only a small force of British regulars, loyalists and German troops decided that was best for him to retreat back to Canada.
General Arnold having left Fort Dayton on the 21st arrived at the Oriskany Battlefield on the 22nd, ordered Colonel Livingston with his regiment to bury the dead of the Tryon County Militia who had been killed in that battle. Unfortunately the battle had taken place sixteen days earlier and the weather had been so hot that the bodies were in such a bad state that they could not be buried.28
Arnold on reaching Fort Schuyler on the 23rd, sent 500 men in pursuit of the British but they were too far ahead and the Americans returned to Fort Schuyler. General Arnold stayed at the fort until the 26th, when he started the return march back to Stillwater where he arrived on the 31st.
The American army continued its retreat along the North River reaching Stillwater on September 9th and finally reaching Bemis Heights on September 12th. Here the Americans encamped and began to fortify in preparation to meet and do battle with the advancing British army under General Burgoyne.
In the morning of the 19th, about 10:00 o'clock skirmishing began between the two armies until about 2:00 p.m. when a general and heated engagement began. General Arnold marched into battle leaving General Learnard's Brigade behind as a reserve near the Nielson Farm.
Later General Arnold returned to the Nielson farm and gave orders to prepare to march to battle. Arnold with Learnard's Brigade joined in the battle about 5:30 p.m. just in time to cover General Enoch Poor's retreat with his brigade. After about an hour of fighting General Arnold with his division and the rest of the Americans that had been engaged in the conflict retreated back to their fortified camps. Colonel Livingston lost 1 man killed, 1 man wounded and 4 men were missing as a result of the one hour of fighting.
The new few weeks both armies reinforced and built new redoubts and other works and skirmished with each other. General Gates' army was getting reinforcements almost daily but General Burgoyne was getting weaker by the day and he knew he would soon have to try to again to make another attempt to retreat back to Canada.
On October 7th, at about 3:00 p.m. another major battle was begun with Colonel Daniel Morgan's Rifle Regiment, Generals Poor's and Learnard's brigades making at attack on Breyman's Redoubt.
Learnard's brigade was in the center hit a German Infantry line with two twelve pounders and drove them back to their second line of defense. Learnard's brigade captured the two cannons and a Major Griffith Evans during the fight. Learnard's Brigade now advanced towards the Germans second line but were fired upon by their cannons filled with grapeshot and the Americans retreated back to an abandoned breastwork for cover. The Americans tried to advance two more times but each time were repulsed by the German artillery under Captain George Pausch.
General Arnold now arrived on the scene with a reinforcement of Albany County Militia and a small party of Tryon County Militia29 under General Abraham Ten Broeck. Arnold's division now pushed forward and assaulted the German line driving General Friedrich Baron von Riedesel and Captain Pausch off of the battlefield leaving their cannons behind.
Arnold with his division now hit Breyman's redoubt and the fortified cabins held by the Canadian militia. Learnard's Brigade and TenBroeck's Brigade swung around the rear of the redoubt while Morgan and Dearborn with their detachments went over the front of the redoubt.
Colonel Henrich Breyman and his Germans put up a fight but Breyman fell dead and most of his men began to retreat but not before they fired another volley into the Americans before they fled. General Arnold received a wound in the same leg that had been wounded at Quebec from this volley and was taken back to the American camp to be tended to.
In the following days General Bourgoyne tried to escape with his battle worn army but he made it as far as Saratoga (now Schuylerville) where be began to fortify his position against an American attack. The British army was again surrounded by American troops by the 11th.
The following is an extract from Major Henry Dearborn's Journal30 for the 11th; "this morning at Day Break the Rifle men & Light Infantry, Marchd over fish Creek & fell in with the Enimys guards in a thick fogg, who killd 1 Lt of ours & 2 men, we then found ourselves Close to the Enimy works where their whole Army Lay & we about 400 strong, the Enimy on one side & a River which we had Crossd on Scattering Logs on the side, we Remaind in this situation about 2 hours Before we were Reinforcd, we Ware then Reinford with Genrl Larnards Brigade, the Enimy Began a Brisk Cannonade upon us killd several men. 31 But we held the ground,".
The British under Burgoyne kept up their cannonades even though their situation was a desperate one. On the 14th, negotiations for Burgoynes surrender but a cease fire wasn't enacted until the 15th. Finally the surrender terms were agreed to and Burgoynes army surrendered their military stores and grounded their muskets on October 17th.
Sometime after the 18th, Livingston's regiment marched to Albany and then back to Johnstown by December. The First Canadian regiment was inspected by Inspector General Thomas Conway in February of 1778.
In March, the Marquis de Lafayette came to Johnstown with James Duane and others to hold a conference with the Six Nations. The conference lasted from 7th to the 9th with 700 Indians from the Oneidas, Tuscaroras, Onondagas, a few Mohawks, about 3 Cayugas and no Senecas. The Oneidas again pledged their friendship to the Americans and their promise to keep fighting side by side with their allies the Americans. The other nations represented pledged their friendship but they were only half trusted because of their past friendship and aid to the British.
Livingston's regiment during this time kept alert for any possible trouble at Johnstown and Colonel Livingston enquired about his regiments pay to Lafayette but received no concrete reply to when they would be paid. Lafayette also at this time was preparing a plan to again invade Canada but the plan was later dropped.
On March 26th, General George Washington sent orders to Livingston to march his regiment from Johnstown to the Highlands on the North River. While at White Plains in July, General Washington ordered Livingston's regiment to join Brigadier General James Mitchell Varnum's Brigade. Varnum's Brigade was then ordered to march to Providence, Rhode Island a distance of about 163 miles.
Livingston's regiment was involved in the Rhode Island campaign and his regiment fought in some of the skirmishes but was mostly stationed at Bristol. On August 25th, Captain Timothy Hughes with some of his men were taken prisoner that night while on picket duty but not before they fired a few vollies into the enemy. Captain Hughes and some of his men were later exchanged for British prisoners held by the Americans and were returned back to duty by September in Livingston's Regiment.
Colonel Livingston's problem wasn't just fighting the British as desertion was high in his regiment and many of his officers had sent a petition to General John Sullivan promising to resign because of their bad treatment. 32 Captain Hughes did resign on October 25, 1778 with others following suit in the following months.
The British were not driven out of Rhode Island and were still at Newport. The American army kept several regiments in Rhode Island and this included the First Canadian during 1779.
In 1779 they were at Bristol, and Freetown and still plagued by desertion and discontent. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Livingston resigned his commission on November 2, 1779. In November, Livingstons regiment is ordered to New Jersey and join General John Stark's Brigade there.
Jeremiah Greenman notes in his diary on November 9th, "this day received our marching order & arrang'd in the following order Viz, 1st Division consisting of Colo Webbs Jacksons & Livingstons to march to Morrow morning at Sun rise for hartford."33
Stark's Brigade reached Morristown, New Jersey by December and pitched their tents to live in until the log cabins were built.
On December 17th, General Washington ordered Livingston's regiment to join General Edward Hand's Brigade and to start building their cabins in Jockey Hollow. The winter encampment, 1779-1780 at Morristown was one of the hardest winters during the American Revolution and even more harsh than Valley Forge. During the winter they had 21 snowfalls with one storm lasting about four days. They also suffered from the extreme cold, lack of food and clothing and the American army suffered high casualties because of the winter and it caused many men to desert and return home.
In June, while at Morristown, Colonel Livingston and Colonel Moses Hazen of the Second Canadian Regiment were in dispute with each other who was the senior colonel and which regiment was the senior Canadian Regiment. On June 23rd, General Washington selected officers from army with General Hand as president to hear the dispute and to decide who was right.34
On June 27th, the officers gave their decision as follows: Colonel Livingston was the senior colonel as his commission was dated November 20, 1775 and Hazen's commission was dated January 22, 1776. It was also decided that Hazen's regiment was the senior regiment. General Washington approved the decision and ordered that they be recognized accordingly.35
On June 30th, Livingston's Regiment was ordered to take their post in the Clove near the old barracks. On July 31st, Colonel Livingston was ordered to march with his regiment to the redoubts of Verplanck's Point and Stony Point on the North River in New York. While there Livingston was to make reports to and take his orders from General Arnold at West Point.
During September, General Arnold having become dissatisfied with the American army began planning to turn over information about the troop strength, cannon emplacements and other information about West Point, Verplanck's Point and Stony Point to the British. The plans being worked out a British spy by the name of Major John Andre' was sent to meet Arnold and get the maps and information agreed to.
Major Andre' was smuggled off of the British sloop Venture and met with Arnold on the 21st. Colonel Livingston at Verplanck's Point redoubt became suspicious that the Vulture had anchored in Haverstraw Bay sent for ammunition at West Point for his four pound cannon. On the 22nd, Livingston on receiving the requested ammunition fired at the Vulture hitting it six times and slightly wounded its Captain, Andrew Sutherland. The sloop now realizing it wasn't safe from cannon fire, raised its anchor and sailed to a safe distance thus ending Andre's escape by water.
Major Andre' was now forced to travel back to New York City by land and taken prisoner by three American militiamen on the 23rd. On Andre's person was found the incriminating evidence of Arnold's treason including Livingston's two reports.36 General Arnold escaped to New York City but Andre's was tried and hung for being a spy.
In October, General Washington made plans to reorganize the Continental army and to consolidate the army as many of the three year enlistments had run out, desertions and disease had taken its toll on regiment and company sizes. Colonel Livingston's regiment had only 118 men including officers by October.
The men enlisted from New York like John and Nicholas Stoner would join the Second New York Regiment, the four men from New Jersey were to join Colonel Israel Shreve's New Jersey Regiment, and the Canadians were to join Hazen's Regiment. Despite the news of the consolidation, Colonel Livingston had received word that his wife Elizabeth had a daughter, Mary on October 13, 1780.
The consolidation was to be complete by January 1, 1781 and the First Canadian Regiment was relieved of their post on December 25th. Colonel Livingston returned to Albany and retired on half pay while some of the officers from his regiment such as his brother Abraham and Captain Anthony Whelp joined a regiment of levies at Albany. The regiment was being raised by Lieutenant Colonel Marinus Willett whose regiment, The Fifth New York, had been consolidated with the First New York Regiment and the levies were sent to the Mohawk Valley.
On May 22, 1783, another son, Edward was born to the Livingston's. Livingston's name appears later that year for receiving provisions from September 1st to the 30th from the Continental stores in Albany on a voucher signed by Captain Peter B. Tearce.37>
In 1784, James with his family is living in Johnstown, Tryon County where he had started a merchant business. James was elected as an assemblyman from Tryon County serving in the 7th session form January 21st to May 12th at New York City. James helped change the laws of New York during this period and he was instrumental in changing the County name from Tryon to Montgomery in honor of General Richard Montgomery. Tryon County had been formed from Albany County in 1772 and named after New York's Governor William Tryon. Governor Tyron during the late War of Independence served on the British side during the conflict and the inhabitants of Tyron County no longer wanted their county named after him.
An act to change Tryon to Montgomery County and Charlotte (had been named after the Queen of England) to Washington County was passed into law as being legal names of those counties on April 2, 1784.
James again served in the 8th session from October 12 to November 29, 1784 and January 27 to April 27, 1785 at New York City. James was also appointed to the Board of Regents for the New York State University and he was reappointed to that position on April 13, 1787.
While living in Johnstown the following children were born to James and Elizabeth; Margaret, born on February 18, 1785; Richard Montgomery (named after Gen. Montgomery) was born on June 7, 1787; Catherine, born on June 23, 1789; and Abraham, born on April 17, 1793 and he was baptized on May 16, 1793.38
James again served as an assemblyman from Montgomery County39 in the 13th session from July 6 to July 16, 1789 at Albany and January 13 to April 6, 1790 at New York City and in the 14th session from January 5 to March 24, 1791 at New York City. James also served as a road commissioner for the Caughnawaga District, Montgomery County and he was appointed on October 19, 1787.
James continued to serve his community of Johnstown as a merchant and civil servant including serving on jurys and obtaining good and fair justices.40
In the census of 1790, the household of James Livingston is recorded with one male above 16, four males under 16, five females and three slaves. In the 1800 census the Livingston's are recorded with two males 10-16, 1 male 26-45, one male over 50, one female under 10, two females 16-26 and two slaves. Elizabeth Livingston died June 10, 1800 and is buried in the Johnstown Colonial Cemetery on Green Street. In the 1830 census the listing for James Livingston is one male over 80, one female 15-20 and one female 20-40.
James was also compensated by New York and the United States government for his losses in Canada plus he was given military land grants for his military service. For his military service he received 500 acres from New York and 3000 acres from the federal government. James received for his losses from New York 1,000 acres and from the federal he received 1,280 acres.
Some of the land given to James was confiscated loyalists lands or Indian lands commonly called the military tract. Some of his land is known to have been in Butlersbury, the eastern and western allotments of Kingsborough Patent, and 1,000 acres in the State of Ohio. In the military tract he was given land in the present day Romulus, Seneca County, Aurelius, Cayuga County, Camillus, Onondaga County and Solon, Cortland County.
James is believed to have lived on present day William Street, Johnstown and sometime after 1830 James moved to Schuylerville. James died in Schuylerville at his sons home, Richard Montgomery Livingston on November 29, 1832. 41 It is believed from the existing evidence that James is buried next to his wife in the Colonial Cemetery.
1. John Livingston was baptized at Albany, March 6, 1709. John married Catryna on September 6, 1739. When the war came to Canada in 1775 they moved to Stillwater and lived there during the war. John died on September 17, 1791 at Stillwater. Catryna was born on September 11, 1715 and died at Albany on April 6, 1802. A portrait of Catryna painted in 1719 is now on display at the Albany Institute of History and Art.
2. Many of the records claim that James was born in Montreal but James' younger brother and sisters were all baptized at New York City. Attached to one of his letters that were captured in September of 1775 is a note "the writer is a New Yorker who has lived on Sorel 5 or 6 years"; page 88, Documents of the American Revolution 1770-1783, ed. K. G. Davies, vol X.
3. On page 908, vol. 11 of the Sir William Johnson Papers for a draft in favor of Capt. Daniel Claus to John Livingston of Montreal for twenty five pounds New York currency. The date of the draft is August 19, 1765.
4. Gilbert Tice was a loyalist who owned a tavern in Johnstown, N.Y. Some of his captured letters are in the Schuyler Papers including the one he wrote to his wife Christina that he was still alive and was only wounded at St. John not killed as it was reported.
5. Major Henry Livingston in his Journal for October 11th states: " a Quarter of a mile S.E. from a small Battery Colo Livingston with his French people had erected over against the Enemys north redoubt." Page 16, Major Henry Livingston's Journal for 1775.
6. On pages 88 & 90, Vol. 10, Documents of the American Revolution, make reference to these letters and are in the Colonial Office in Great Britain. The one of Sept. 18th by Livingston is in French.
7. The following extract is taken from a letter written by Hugh Finlay September 18, 1775 at Quebec, Documents of the American Revolution, Vol. XI, page 121. "PS 20 September Since writing the above there is advice from Montreal that the party on the Sorrel consists of 150 Canadians headed by one Jeremiah Duggan, formerly a hairdresser in this place but now settled there, and one James Livingston, son of an Albany Dutchman, who resided long in Montreal. It is not known if or not there's any provincials with them, it is supposed there is. It is imagined that it was this band of villains who fired on an artillery batteau loaded with stores for St. John's: they killed the men, 11 in number, and took her. Since the governor has issued his proclamation offering pardon to the Canadians of Duggan's party, many of them have deserted him and they hourly expect to see Duggan and Livingston brought dead or alive into Montreal."
8. Journal of Major Henry Livingston, 1775, page 16, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1898.
9. Richard Montgomery married Janet Livingston, daughter of Robert R. Livingston.
10. A cannon is often called a nine pounder or a four pounder which refers to the weight of the solid shot that is from it.
11. Major Livingston in his journal on page 17 relates the following on October 14th, "Early in the morning the Regulars warp'd their Scooner & ran Galley close up to the North redoubt & full in our view. We shot so many Balls thro her that next morning she layed careen'd so low that the water ran into her port holes."
12. Colonel Ruldolphus Ritzema made the following observation in his journal on February 16, 1776, page 106; "Third. That Dugan (tho' a Barber) has more influence over the Canadians than either Livingston, Hazen or Antill."
13. A Journal Kept by William Humphrey, 1775-6, 1931,104.
14. Ibid, page 105.
15. Journal of George Morrison, 1775, Magazine of History, 1916, page 40.
16. Tradition always states that Colonel Livingston was so near General Montgomery when he was killed that his blood was splattered onto Livingston. This is unfounded as all journals claim that Livingston was with his men several miles away or Livingston would have also been killed like the other officers were near Montgomery.
17. This the amount cited in the pension application of James' brother Richard N.Y. - No. Sp B. L. Wt.
18. Orderly Book of the Northern Army at Ticonderoga and Mt. Independence, page 167.
19. Collections of the New York Historical Society, Vol. XLVII, pages 32 and 33.
20. Uniforms of the Continental Army, Philip Katcher, 1981, page 67/
21. General Philip Schuyler Papers, Court Martials, Box 46, New York Public Library.
22. While they were stationed at Johnstown, Henry Stoner with his two sons, John and Nicholas enlisted into the regiment. William Wallace and Jacob Sammons were commissioned Lieutenants in the regiment as well. How many other Johnstown and vicinity residents served in the First Canadian Regiment is unknown but the above five men served faithfully during their terms of enlistment.
23. A document entitled "Memorandum of Men Employed In Johnstown for Harvest work July 19th 1777 shows that at least part of Livingston's Regiment was still at Johnstown in July. Document no. KT 13324 Box 3 folder 14, Special Collections and Manuscripts, New York State Library.
24. Diary of Rev. Enos Hitchcock, April 8, 1777-November 6, 1777, Rhode Island Historical Society, Vol. VII, 1899, page 123.
25. Ibid, page 127.
26. Captain David McMaster served in Colonel Frederick Visscher's Battalion of Tryon County Militia (The Third Battalion). McMaster lived in the present day Town of Florida, Montgomery County, N.Y. and had fought at the Battle of Oriskany on August 6, 1777.
27. There is a good account of the Hanjost Schuyler incident in the Frontiersmen of New York, Jeptha R. Simms, vol 2, pages 87-89.
28. There is a good account in the Trappers of New York, Jeptha R. Simms, 1840, reprint 1980, pages 59-60. Simms obtained the account from Nicholas Stoner who was present under Colonel Livingston and was still alive in 1840.
29. There are no returns existing with the Tryon County Militia or to what brigade they were attached to. From the pension records that I have examined I can document that there was over a hundred of them there at Bemis Heights and that Peter Conyne, Adjutant for the Third Battalion of Tryon County Militia was wounded in the shoulder during the attack on the Breyman Redoubt on October 7th.
30. Journal of Henry Dearborn, from July 25, 1776, to December 4, 1777, Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings Vol. II, page 108.
31. Ezekiel Jerrell of Captain Dirck Hansen's Company in Colonel Livingston's Regiment was killed during the cannonade. Jeptha R. Simms on pages 61-62 in the Trappers of New York gives an account of Jerrell's death but Simms gives the name as Tyrrell and that incident happened on October 7th, during the attack on the Breyman Redoubt.
32. The signed petition is on pages 376-377, Vol. 2, Letters and Papers of Major-General Sullivan, ed. Otis G. Hammond, 1931.
33. Diary of a Common Soldier in the American Revolution, 1775-1783, eds. Robert C. Bray and Paul E. Bushnell, page 143.
34. The Writings of George Washington, ed. John Fitzpatrick, Vol. 19, page 55
35. Ibid, Vol. 19, pages 75-76.
36. Diary of a Common Soldier in the American Revolution, 1775-1783, page 182.
37. Special Collections and Manuscripts, New York State Library, Jacob Abbott Collection, Document No. BA9691:700.
38. Records of the Presbyterian Church of Johnstown, ed. Royden Woodward Vosburgh, typewritten, page 8.
39. Livingston served as an Assemblyman from Montgomery County while living in Johnstown. In 1838 Fulton County was formed from Montgomery County which county Johnstown is now part of.
40. James Livingston and Caleb Sweet sent a petition for Daniel Miles to be made an assistance justice on September 29, 1792. Special Collections and Manuscripts, New York State Library, Document No. 12979.
41. The Albany Argus gives Livingston's date of death as November 20th, but all other sources give November 29th.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The following are selected letters, documents and records that pertain to James Livingston.
I certify that Colo Fisher has furnished for the use of this Garrison seven Bushels of Oats at Six Shillings a Bushel.
Johnstown 16th Feby 1778 Jas Livingston Colo
To Henry Glen Asst D Q
M Genl Schenectady
Document No. BA9691:809, Jacob Abbott Collection, Special Collections and Manuscripts, New York State Library, Albany, N.Y.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The pay Roll of Colo James Livingston to be adjusted from the 20th day of May to the 20th day of Novr ---------
The Officers of Colo Livingstons Regt to be paid off after deducting the advances made to them in Cash & Cloathing. The Privates not being of his Regt but Canadian Militia the greatest part being now absent & others enlisted, those who are present only to be paid after deducting the advance made them in Cash Cloathing & Arms such as are overpaid, stoppages to be made from the Regt they at present serve in. Thomas Wnuck Collection, Revolutionary War Manuscripts, Rochester, N.Y.
I Certify that John Bateman Quarter Master in my Regiment was in the Service before the Troops were reingaged by Order of General Montgomery for the Quebec Expedition and is intitled to his two Months pay for his Cloathing which he has never recd. Albany 10th Octr 1776
Jas Livingston Colo
Gen. Philip Schuyler Papers, New York Library, New York City.
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The following is an extract of a return dated Sept. 10, 1776 at Albany:
A Return of Colonel Livingston's Regt for Ammunition Cloathing and other Implements Wanting for the uses of the Offs and soldiers belonging to Sd Regt together with the Numbers of Offs and Soldiers Present.
1 Major 6 Sejeants 5 Captains 3 Corporals 2 Lieuts 1 Drummer 1 Adjutant 43 Privates 1 Qr Mr
Blanket Coats Shirts Waistecoats breeches pr Stock(s) pr Shoes Hats pr Leggins Guns 53 106 53 53 106 106 53 53 33
with Accountrements 6 Camp Kettels 54 Blankets
Gen. Philip Schuyler Papers, New York Public Library, New York City
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The obituary of Col. James Livingston as it appeared in the Albany Argus of December 8, 1832.
At Schuylerville, Saratoga co., on the 20th ult. Col. JAMES LIVINGSTON, aged 85 years. Col. L. was associated with, and bore a conspicuous part among that noble band of patriots and heroes who rescued our country from British Tryanny. Col. L. it is believed, was, when living, the only remaining revolutionary officer of the rank colonel in this state.
The following information and inscription was found on the Livingston plot in the Prospect Cemetery, Schuylerville, N.Y. near the Battle Monument; July 13, 1988 by James Morrison, Noel Levee, and Lewis Decker.
(Front of Monument)
Richard M. Livingston
Died March 5, 1838
AE 50 Yrs.
Died March 16, 1873
AE 81 yrs.
(Back of Monument)
Col. James Livingston who
Commanded a Regiment of
American Soldiers near this spot
At Burgoyne's Surrender in 1777.
The following are other burials on this plot.
Wife of John W. Olmstead D.D.
Daughter of George B & Sarah L. Spalding
John W. Olmstead D.D.
Forty Years Editor of the Watchman
Daughter of George B & Sarah L Spalding
James Monroe Olmstead
Born & Died in Boston Mass.
Daughter of George B & Sarah L Spalding
George Burley Spalding D.D. L.L.D.
Born Montpeleir Vermont Aug. 11, 1835
Died Syracuse, N.Y. March 13, 1914
For fifty years a faithful minister of Christ
Sarah Livingston Spalding
Born Little Falls, N.Y. Oct. 28, 1838
Died Brookline Mass. June 15, 1922
The above was donated by James Morrison, editor of this booklet. It was gratefully typed for the GenWeb by dedicated volunteer, Peggy Menear.
Copyright ©1988-2000, James F. Morrison
Copyright ©1988-2000, Fulton County Bicentennial of the United States Constitution Committee
Copyright ©2000, Peggy Menear, Jeanette Shiel
All Rights Reserved.
Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:37:06 PDT