Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Samuel Luckett (1756-1828)
MSA SC 3520-16818 

Biography:

The son of a prosperous farmer, Samuel Luckett signed on to fight in the American Revolution in the war's earliest days, and went on to become one of the famed "Maryland 400."

Luckett was born on June 12, 1756 to Ignatius (d. 1783) and Margaret (d. 1800) Luckett of Charles County, Maryland. The family was wealthy, and was politically active as well. In 1765, Ignatius's brother William was a judge in Frederick County, Maryland who took part in the county's "repudiation" of the Stamp Act. Samuel was his parents' third child, and their eldest son. His siblings were Jannet; Mary Anne; Elizabeth; Lawson; David; Ignatius; and Eleanor. [1]

 

At the outset of the American Revolution, Maryland raised nine companies of soldiers, the First Maryland Regiment, under the command of Colonel William Smallwood. On January 24, 1776, Luckett joined the First Company of the regiment, led by Captain John Hoskins Stone and raised in Charles County. The company traveled to Annapolis that spring, where it trained until July, when it was ordered to march to New York, to protect that city from attack by the British. [2]

 

On August 27, a month after arriving in New York, the Americans clashed with the British at the Battle of Brooklyn (also called the Battle of Long Island), the first full-scale encounter of the American Revolution. The battle was a rout: the British were able to sneak around the American lines, and the outflanked Americans fled in disarray. During the retreat, the Maryland troops fought their way towards the American fortifications, but were blocked by the swampy Gowanus Creek. Half the regiment was able to cross the creek, including Luckett's company. The rest, however, were unable to do so before they were attacked by the British. Facing down a much larger, better-trained force, these men, now known as the "Maryland 400," mounted a series of daring charges, which held the British at bay for some time, at the cost of many lives, before being overrun. [3]

 

Luckett stayed with the army through the rest of the difficult fall of 1776, a series of defeats that saw the Americans pushed out of New York, followed by revitalizing victories at Trenton and Princeton late that winter. In December, his original enlistment expired, and he rejoined the army as a sergeant in the First Maryland Regiment, signing on for a three-year term. During his time in the army, the Marylanders fought at the Battle of Staten Island (August 1777), and Luckett also took part in the battles of Brandywine (September 1777) and Germantown (October 1777), part of the American campaign to protect their capital at Philadelphia. All of these battles were decisive American defeats, although the Marylanders continued to distinguish themselves in combat. Luckett also endured the brutal winter camps during those years. While the army was encamped at Kemble's Farm, New Jersey during the winter of 1778-1779, Luckett was "injured while building huts for the soldiers to live in," injuries which would haunt him for the rest of his life. His enlistment ended in December 1779, and he returned home to Charles County. [4]

 

Despite his injuries and his family--Luckett had married a woman named Monica Kennedy sometime before he left for war in 1776--he returned to military service after only a few months, this time as an officer. In the summer of 1780, Maryland raised what it called the Regiment Extraordinary, designed to help alleviate the Continental Army's severe manpower shortage. Desperate for any available men, the state filled with regiment with "Deserters...Men left at the Hospitals [and] a few Recruited for the old Regiments." Luckett was among the latter group, and as an experienced soldier he was made first an ensign, and later a lieutenant. The regiment was slow to form, and by October it was still short of men and supplies. Portions of the regiment did fight a small battle with the British near Fort Washington, Maryland that fall, and the men eventually marched to join the main body of the army in December 1780. Arriving in North Carolina, the Regiment Extraordinary faced organizational challenges and was disbanded in March 1781. Some of the men were incorporated into the Second Maryland Regiment. Many of the officers resigned from the army, however, since they were not able to join the Second Maryland and retain their rank. Luckett was probably among those who left the army and returned home. [5]

 

Luckett and his wife Monica had two children together, William and Francis H., before her death in the 1780s. At some point during the 1790s, Samuel married Elizabeth Cox (b. 1769), and they had five children: Susannah; Mary; Samuel B. (b. 1801); John L. (b. 1803); David (b. 1805); Nancy (b. 1808); and Anna Ware (b. 1811). Around 1806, the family sold its land in Maryland and moved to Kentucky, settling first in Fayette County, and later in Barren County. Samuel worked as a farmer, until the injuries he incurred during the war left him "unable to wholly pursue it to advantage or to live by it even comfortably." In 1818, he was granted a pension by the Federal government as an injured veteran, which he received until his death on August 22, 1828.

Owen Lourie, 2016

Notes:

1. Henry Wright Newman, The Lucketts of Portobacco (1938), 49-53; Edward C. Papenfuse, et al., eds., A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789. Vol. 2 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984), 553.

2. Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 6 [hereafter Archives of Maryland vol. 18]; Pension of Samuel Luckett. National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land-Warrant Application Files, S 36,051, from fold3.com.

3. Return of the Maryland troops, 27 September 1776, from Fold3.com; Mark Andrew Tacyn “’To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 48-73. For more on the experience of the Marylanders at the Battle of Brooklyn, see "In Their Own Words," on the Maryland State Archives research blog, Finding the Maryland 400.  

4. Archives of Maryland vol. 18, p. 132.

 

5. Newman, 60-62; Luckett pension; Uriah Forrest to George Washington, 17 August 1780, Founders Online, National Archives; Mordecai Gist to George Washington, 26 October 1780, Founders Online, National Archives; Order to pay Lt. Samuel Luckett, 17 October 1780, Maryland State Papers, Series A, box 22, no. 22/24, MdHR 6636-22-22/24 [MSA S1004-29-2635, 1/7/3/38]; Pension of Charles Smith, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, National Archives, W 25,002, from Fold3.com; Order to pay Lt. Samuel Luckett, 25 May 1781, Maryland State Papers, Series A, box 32, no. 109B, MdHR 6636-32-109B [MSA S1004-42-603, 1/7/3/46].

 

6. Newman, 61-62; Luckett pension; U.S. Federal Census, 1790, Charles County, Maryland; U.S. Federal Census, 1810, Fayette County, Kentucky; U.S. Federal Census, 1820, Barren County, Kentucky.

 

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