Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Thomas Goldsmith
MSA SC 3520-16743


Thomas Goldsmith's military career began on January 3, 1776 when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant of Captain John Day Scott's Seventh Company of the First Maryland Regiment.[1]

Throughout his time in the army, as part of his job as a second lieutenant, Goldsmith was to teach the soldiers discipline, order, and fearlessness, through “his judgment, vigilance, and bravery.”[2] The challenge Goldsmith and the First Maryland Regiment faced was that none of the soldiers, including Goldsmith, had any military experience prior to enlisting.[3] Moreover, Goldsmith was tasked with the duty of receiving the money from the Maryland Council of Safety needed to support Captain John Day Scott's company.[4]

The Seventh Company's first engagement with the British occurred during Battle of Brooklyn on August 27, 1776. During the Battle, the Continental Army led by George Washington attempted to defend New York from the British. However, the British Army outflanked the Americans.[5] As one Maryland soldier recounted, "the main body of their army, by a route we never dreamed of, had entirely surrounded us."[6]

As they retreated, Goldsmith and Thomas Harwood's company were ambushed by a platoon of British soldiers. However, "fighting with more than Roman courage," the First Maryland Regiment forced the British back. This allowed Goldsmith and his company to escape across the Gowanus Creek to the fortified American lines while other companies were forced to travel up the stream. Those companies ultimately confronted and fought another British platoon. These charges by the Marylanders and the bravery they showed earned them the title of the "Maryland 400."[7]

Between August and October of 1776, the American Army was forced out of New York after a series of unsuccessful engagements with the British. Most specifically, during the Battle at White Plains on October 28, 1776, the Continental Army was attacked by the British on the hills surrounding the village of White Plains.[8] As one Maryland soldier detailed, “Smallwood’s [regiments] suffered most, on this occasion, sustaining, with great patience and coolness, a long and heavy fire– and finally retreated with great sullenness, being obliged to give way to a superior force.”[9]

During the confrontation with the British, Goldsmith saw that a fellow soldier had been wounded and attempted to rescue him. Risking his own life, Goldsmith ran onto the battlefield, but as he was carrying his "wounded brother" from the field, Goldsmith received a mortal wound to his knee. Goldsmith died in October of 1776 within days of his injury.[10]

-Joshua Rifkin, 2015.


[1] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 15.

[2] Frederick Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, Part I. (Philadelphia: Styner and Cist, 1792), 73-74.

[3] Steuben, 73-74; Mark Andrew Tacyn, To the End: The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution, (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 48-73.

[4] Captain John Day Scott to Council of Safety, 1776, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, vol. 15, p. 204, MdHR 4577 [MSA S 989-21, 01/06/04/009].

[5] Tacyn, 48-73.

[6] Extract of a letter from New-York: Account of the battle on Long-Island, 1 September  1776, American Archives Online, series 5, vol. 2, p. 107.

[7] Tacyn, 48-73; Extract of a letter from New-York, 1 September  1776.

[8] David Hackett Fisher, Washington’s Crossing, (Oxford University Press, 2004), 110-111.

[9] “Extract of another letter, dated in the evening of the above day,” Maryland Gazette, November 7, 1776.

[10] Pension of Thomas Goldsmith, National Archives and Records Administration, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804 B. L. Wt 2399-200, from

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