Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

James Marr
MSA SC 3520-17205


James Marr is known mostly for his military service. It is possible his brothers were Nicholas Marr and William Marr. He served in the First Maryland Regiment as part of Capt. Nathaniel Ramsey's Fifth Company. [1] The First Maryland Regiment are 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 for the eight Continental batallions that had been assigned to the state, offering recruits essential supplies to entice them to join the Continental Army. [2] A few days after independence was declared, the First Maryland Regiment was ordered to New York so it could join the forces of General George Washington. [3] The regiment arrived there in early August, with the Battle of Brooklyn set between the Continental Army and the British Army with their Hessian allies. [3]

He and his company served at the Battle of Brooklyn in late August 1776. [4] Someone present at the battle noted that Ramsey's company, Marr included, was placed at the front of the lines, but "hardly a man [in the company] fell," even though they took the first line of fire from the British. [5] This confirmed the assessment of the British Parliament's the 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" and brought men of the Maryland 400 together. [6] Years later, Captain Enoch Anderson of the Delaware Regiment wrote about the Battle of Brooklyn, saying the following:

"A little before day, we marched towards the enemy, two miles from our camp we saw them. A little after daylight our Regiment and Colonel Smallwood's Regiment from Maryland, in front of the enemy took possession of a high commanding ground,--our right to the harbour. Cannonading now began in both armies...Colonel Smallwood's Regiment took another course,--they were surrounded but they fought hard. They lost about two hundred men, the rest got in. A hard day this, for us poor Yankees! Superior discipline and numbers had overcome us. A gloomy time it was, but we solaced ourselves that at some other time we should do better." [7]

Battle of Brooklyn fits into the larger context of the war beyond the fact that this was the first large-scale battle of the war. If the Maryland Line had not stood and fought the British, enabling the rest of the Continental Army to escape then the Army would been overtaken and the "Revolutionary War possibly lost at that time." [8] 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. [9]

As for James Marr, while he is not a general, his role in the Revolutionary War is still worth noting.

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


[1] December 1776 payroll.

[2] Alexander, "How Maryland Tried to Raise Her Continential Quotas," 187-188.

[3] Truitt. "Animated by the Spirit of '76?," 16.

[4] National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA M804, Record Group 15, Roll 1631, William Marr, Pension number W. 3838. courtesy of

[5] "Extract of a letter from New York: Account of the battle on Long Island." American Archives S5 V2 107-108.

[6] Tacyn, ""To the End": The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution," 4.

[7] Personal Recollections of Captain Enoch Anderson: Eyewitness Accounts of the American Revolution. New York: New York Times & Arno Press, 1971. pp. 21-22.

[8] Truitt. "Animated by the Spirit of '76?," 17, 46.

[9] Ibid, 18, 38.

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