coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Thursday, September 10, 2020

There are no suckers or losers in the U.S. Military #3 - last one, I promise

 There are no suckers or losers in the U.S. Military.

My 5th great grandfather, Jesse Rector, served as a foot soldier in the Revolutionary War. Jesse and his older brother James both participated in the siege of Yorktown, culminating in Lord Cornwallis' surrender to George Washington on 19 Oct 1781. According to the Yorktown national Historical Park literature, "The American victory at Yorktown, the last major battle of the American Revolution, secured independence for the United States and significantly changed the course of world history
One of his son’s, Isaac Rector, applied for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution based on Jesse’s service. He wrote as follows:
“My knowledge of my father’s service as a soldier in the Revolution is derived from what I have heard him say on the subject. I have often heard him speak of being a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He belonged to a Virginia regiment of militia organized early in 1781 and disbanded soon after the surrender of Cornwallis. He served with his regiment at the siege of Yorktown and was present at the surrender.
I have heard him say when his regiment reached Yorktown our lines were six hundred yards from those of the British, and that before the surrender they were moved up to within three hundred yards. He said that at the latter distance our troops could hear the crashing of the walls of the houses within the town as they were knocked down by our artillery. He said as the British General Cornwallis marched up through Virginia, he gathered up all the good horses he could find. After the surrender our troops found he had many of the horses killed or driven into the river and drowned to prevent them falling into our hands; that the tide washed many of them ashore and that the air was foul with the odor of their decaying carcasses.
He said he saw the British troops march out and stack their arms and spoke of the angry manner in which some of the soldiers put down their guns. He also spoke of the fine music he heard by the bands on the French fleet after the surrender."
--Isaac Rector, 1891


  1. Amazing that you have these historic words from your family to share with us. War was up close, wasn't it - sometimes now there are drones killing people. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thanks, Ellen. This came from an SAR application. The DAR has lots of information, too. And, of course, pension applications from that time period. I have been doing genealogy for a long time, and I have accumulated a lot of interesting information. Fun.

  2. Wow, that is awesome that you have that information. You 5th great grandfather was a hero and we are grateful to him and all those you have fought so honorably that the United States of America can exist. We are in perilous times now and I pray that we can come out of this whole.

  3. That letter is a treasure. Soldiers from neither side were losers or suckers. They were supporting their governments and the people living in their countries.

  4. A couple of points: (a) The British commander-in-chief was bipolar and suffered from a weird disease which, I believe, turned his urine red or brown. I don't know about DT's urine but... (b) Germans (ie, Hessians) eventually made up about 30 per cent of the British strength. Not surprising given the British CinC was also Elector of Hanover, a town in northern Germany (I didn't know this even though I've dined there more than once).

    Look, I'm not saying things would have turned out differently if the Loyalist army (greatly expanded of course) had been constituted solely from the descendants of the troops Henry V commanded at Agincourt:

    Then imitate the action of the tiger;
    Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
    Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
    Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
    Let it pry through the portage of the head
    Like the brass cannon; etc, etc

    but perhaps we'd have done a little better and not drowned so many horses.

    At least our now ex-CinC showed a little grace when it was all over. As he said to John Adams: "I was the last to consent to the separation; but the separation having been made and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power." Of course, it could have been fake news.

    1. See what happens when you drown horses!!! Interestingly, the son of Jesse Rector (the Revolutionary War foot soldier) who I wrote about above married the daughter of a Loyalist officer, Reuben Simpson. So I have a 5th great grandfather on both sides of that conflict.


So, whadayathink?