Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Josias Miller
MSA SC 3520-16810

Biography:

Josias Miller, was born in 1757 or 1758, likely in Charles County, Maryland. [1]

On January 24, 1776, Miller enlisted in Captain John Hoskins Stone's First Company of the First Maryland Regiment in Annapolis. [2] Miller, like many of those in the First Company, was likely recruited from Charles County. The company trained in Annapolis until they departed for New York. [3]

The First Maryland Regiment were the first troops Maryland raised at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Maryland was more than willing to do its part to recruit the men needed to fill the Continental Army's depleted ranks. [4] A few days after independence was declared, the First Maryland Regiment were ordered to New York so it could join the forces of General George Washington. The regiment arrived there in early August, with the Battle of Brooklyn set between the Continental Army and the British Army, joined by their Hessian allies.

Miller served with twenty-six-year-old Stone and his company at the Battle of Brooklyn in late August 1776. Unlike the companies of Barton Lucas, Daniel Bowie, Peter Adams, Benjamin Ford, and Edward Veazey, only 15 percent of the First Company were either killed or captured, with these other companies suffering heavier losses. Few were killed, while the company's ensign, James Farnandis, was captured by British forces. [5] Even so, the loss of life by the other companies confirmed the assessment of the British Parliament's Annual Register which described how "almost a whole regiment from Maryland…of young men from the best families in the country was cut to pieces" even as the battle brought the men of the Maryland 400 together. [6]

The Battle of Brooklyn, the first large-scale battle of the war, fits into the larger context of the Revolutionary War. If the Maryland Line had not stood and fought the British, enabling the rest of the Continental Army to escape, then the Continental Army would been decimated, resulting in the end of the Revolutionary War. This heroic stand gave the regiment the nickname of the Old Line and those who made the stand in the battle are remembered as the Maryland 400.

Miller survived the Battle of Brooklyn like most of the First Company. On December 10, 1776, he re-enlisted in the First Maryland Regiment as a corporal. [7] He remained in the regiment until the fall of 1779, and later recounted he fought in the battles of White Plains (1776), Germantown (1777), Monmouth (1778), and numerous smaller battles. [8] He was also put on furlough from May to June 1778. [9] Miller was discharged in Morristown, New Jersey on December 27, 1779. [10]

As a non-commissioned officer, Miller would have shouldered some of the responsibility for ensuring order among his company in camp and on the battlefield. The job of the corporals was to instruct their troops, keep order in their companies, including breaking up disagreements between soldiers, and taking roll call every morning. [11] If corporals fell down on their tasks, they were "severly punished." [12] During battles, corporals were responsible for keeping the companies lined up and together so they could effectively fight against British or forces loyal to the Crown.

In the fall of 1780, Miller joined a new unit called the Regiment Extraordinary, just like Charles Smith, as a lieutenant. [13] This change is rank is not common this late in the war but makes sense it would be this regiment. This regiment was created to reinforce the Continental Army and organized in the summer of 1780 mainly because of casualties in the Maryland Line. [14] The regiment, which recruited across Maryland, included former deserters from the Maryland Line, and was commanded by Alexander Lawson Smith. [15] This unit, which had problems due to deserting soldiers and supplies, marched from Prince George's County to Philadelphia, going to Head of Elk, then went back down the Chesapeake to Annapolis to gain more recruits. [16] One commanding officer of another regiment even told George Washington that soldiers in the regiment extra were "entirely destitute of Cloathing of every kind" and that "many Deserters from the Line of this State Troops have been taken up, who I have sent forward to the southern Army...it is with Real Concern I observe to your Excellency that there is no Prospect of procuring Men to fill up the Regiments." [17]

Staying in the state capital for some time, the regiment, including numerous members of the Maryland 400, marched to southward in December 1780 to join General Nathaniel Greene's Southern campaign. [18] The unit was the opposite of the First Maryland Regiment. It had few soldiers with combat experience who dressed in red-lined brown coats and refused to join the main Continental Army because of disputes over rank. [19] However, the unit commanders, who felt they should lead the soldiers who they trained for the past six months, were dismissed, with the consent of General Greene, and veteran officers took charge. As a result, the unit was changed into the Second Maryland Regiment before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781. As a result, Miller likely resigned in January 1781.

Years later, in March 1818, Miller applied for a pension in Franklin County, Ohio. There is no record he was ever married or had any children. Like many of those who served in the Contintental Army, he had been assigned bounty lands in the Old Northwest. [20] He was living on his bounty land as a farmer but had lost his discharge papers and confused his dates of military service. [21] He said that in 1818 that he enlisted in January 1777 and left the military in September 1779, while two years later he said that he enlisted on January 13, 1776 in Stone's Company and served until April 1778. Regardless, he still received pension payments and lived until at least 1835. [22]

- Burkely Hermann, Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow, 2016.

Notes

[1] Pension of Josias Miller, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1728, pension number S. 40,160. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Mark Andrew Tacyn “'To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 21. In the pension he is listed as sixty years old on April 16, 1818 and sixty-three years old in June 1820.

[2] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 6; Pension of Josias Miller. The dates of his enlistment are not clear. In his pension he says he enlisted on January 13, but the muster roll says he enlisted on January 27. In one part of his pension he claims he enlisted in 1777 but this is clearly incorrect as he says in a later deposition he enlisted in January 1776 as the muster rolls confirms.

[3] Tacyn, 21.

[4] Arthur Alexander, "How Maryland Tried to Raise Her Continental Quotas." Maryland Historical Magazine 42, no. 3 (1947), 187-188, 196.

[5] Return of the Three Independent Companies and First Regiment of Maryland Regulars, in the service of the United Colonies, commanded by Colonel Smallwood, Sept. 13, 1776, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 93, Roll 0034, courtesy of Fold3.com; Return of the First Regiment of Maryland Regulars in the service of the United Colonies Commanded by William Smallwood, Oct. 11, 1776, p. 92-93, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 93, Roll 0034, folder 35, courtesy of Fold3.com.

[6] Tacyn, 4.

[7] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 137; Rolls of First Maryland Regiment, April 1779, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, roll 0033. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[8] Pension of Josias Miller.

[9] Josias Miller Service Card (1st Maryland Regiment), Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 15, Roll 0398. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[10] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 137; Tacyn, 301; Josias Miller Service Card (1st Maryland Regiment).

[11] Frederick Stueben, Regulations for Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, Part I (Philadelphia: Styner and Cist, 1779), 6, 82, 98-100.

[12] Stueben, 72.

[13] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 234, 235, 272, 273; Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, folder 28, roll 0034. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Josias Miller Service Card (Regiment Extraordinary), Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, National Archives, NARA M881, Record Group 15, Roll 0408. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Order to pay and recript by Josias Miller, February 21, 1782, Maryland State Papers, Series A, MdHR 6636-44-41/14 [MSA S1004-60-13467, 1/7/3/53]. As late as September 1780, the remaining roster rolls say that he had not joined the Regiment Extraordinary as an ensign. However, a pay receipt from 1782 shows that he was in this regiment and probably enlisted in October of that year.

[14] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 47, 177; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 216, 335, 336; Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 361, 362; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 5; Beverley Waugh Bond, State Government in Maryland, 1777-1781 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1905), 38; Journals of Congress: Containing the Proceedings from January 1, 1780 to January 1, 1781 (Philadelphia: David C. Claypoole, 1781), 341-342.

[15] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution Archives of Maryland Online vol. 18, 342; Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780 Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 43, 273; Pension of Alexander Lawson Smith, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 2208, pension number W. 4247. Courtesy of Fold3.com.

[16] Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1780-1781, Archives of Maryland Online Vol. 45, 24, 56.

[17] “To George Washington from Uriah Forrest, 17 August 1780,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified July 12, 2016.

[18] “To George Washington from Mordecai Gist, 26 October 1780,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified July 12, 2016; Pension of Josias Miller; Josias Miller Service Card (First Maryland Regiment); Rolls of Extraordinary Regiment, 1780, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, NARA M246, Record Group 93, folder 28, roll 0034. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Pension of Theodore Middleton, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1720, pension number S. 11,075. Courtesy of Fold3.com; Resolutions, laws, and ordinances, relating to the pay, half pay, commutation of half pay, bounty lands, and other promises made by Congress to the officers and soldiers of the Revolutionto the settlement of the accounts between the United States and the several states; and to funding the revolutionary debt (Washington: Thomas Allen, 1838), 415-416, 490. These veterans included John Plant, Matthew Garner, Samuel Hanson, Charles Magruder, Samuel Luckett, Vachel Burgess, Francis Shepard, and John Bryan.

[19] Lawrence E. Babits and Joshua B. Howard, Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 70-71, 148; Robert K. Wright, Jr., The Continental Army (Washington D.C.: Center of Military History, 1983), 278; Patrick O'Kelley, Nothing But Blood and SlaughterThe Revolutionary War in the Carolinas Vol. 3: 1781 (Lillington, NC: Blue House Tavern Press, 2005), 504.

[20] Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awared by State Governments (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2005), xxii-xxiv; Cyclopedia of American Government Vol I (ed. Andrew Cunningham McLaughlin and Albert Bushnell Hart, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1914), 168; C. Albert White, A History of the Rectangular Survey System (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Land Management, 1991, reprint), 10; William T. Martin, History of Franklin CountyA Collection of Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of the County; with Biographical Sketches, and a Complete History of the County to the Present Time (Columbus: Follett, Foster, & Company, 1858), 12. Bounty lands were concentrated in Ohio and Kentucky.

[21] Pension of Josias Miller; Tacyn, 318; Report from the Secretary of War (Washington: Duff Green, 1835), 58; Letter from the Secretary of War (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1820), 642.

[22] Letter from the Secretary of War (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1820), 642; Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. 4: Mid-Western States (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1968, reprint from 1835), 184.

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