Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Edward Marr
MSA SC 3520-17313

Biography:

In early 1776, Edward Marr enlisted as a fifer in Edward Veazey's Seventh Independent Company. Many of those in the Seventh Independent Company were recruited from Kent, Cecil, and Queen Anne counties, and were in their twenties. The average age was about twenty-five but soldiers born in the thirteen colonies were slightly younger than those from foreign countries [1]

Drummers and fifers worked together to relay orders during battle as well as in camp and regulated marches. They also played popular tunes in camp to boost morale. Most importantly, the musicians relayed orders from commanding officers to troops during battle, dictating their movements. [2]

The independent companies, early in the war, had a different role than William Smallwood's First Maryland Regiment, which was raised as full-time Maryland soldiers to be part of the Continental Army. They were tasked with securing the Chesapeake Bay's shoreline from British attack. The Seventh Independent Company was stationed in Kent County's Chestertown and Queen Anne County's Kent Island. During this time, Veazey was uneasy that they did not receive "arms nor ammunition" until June. [3]

While the independent companies were originally intended to defend Maryland, three of them accompanied the First Maryland Regiment when it marched up to New York in July 1776. The transfer of the independent companies to the Continental Army showed that Maryland was more than willing to do its part to recruit the men needed. The independent companies and the First Maryland Regiment arrived in New York in early August, with the Battle of Brooklyn set between the Continental Army and the British Army, joined by their Hessian allies. [4]

Marr served with his company at the Battle of Brooklyn in late August 1776. Sixty-eight percent of Veazey's company were killed, wounded or captured. Captain Veazey was "killed at [Sergeant Hezekiah Foard's] side," while Second Lieutenant Samuel Turbutt Wright and Third Lieutenant Edward De Coursey were captured. As a result of Veazey's death, First Lieutenant William Harrison took charge of the company. After the battle, only about 36 men remained out of the original force of over 100. Marr survived the Battle of Brooklyn and was not taken prisoner, but he did not reenlist. [5]

Many years later, on November 12, 1794, Edward Marr received a pension as an invalid from the federal government of $29.55. Marr's life after the Revolutionary War is otherwise unknown. [6]

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

Notes:

[1] Monthly return for the 7th Independent Company, 9 June 1776, Maryland Historical Society, MS 1914; Monthly return for the 7th Independent Company, 4 July 1776, Maryland Historical Society, MS 1914; Mark Andrew Tacyn, “'To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 24-25, 34, 97; Descriptions of men in Capt. Edward Veazey’s Independent Comp, 1776, Maryland State Papers, Revolutionary Papers, MdHR 19970-15-36/01 [MSA S997-15-36, 1/7/3/13].

[2] William Carter White, A History of Military Music in America (New York: Exposition Press, 1924), pp. 20-21, 26, 29; Charles Patrick Neimeyer, The Revolutionary War (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007), p. 137; Donald E. Mattson and Louis D. Walz, Old Fort Snelling Instruction Book for Fife: With Music of Early America (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1974), p. 6.

[3] Tacyn, pp. 33-34, 37, 39.

[4] Tacyn, pp. 44-45.

[5] Tacyn, pp. 4, 98.

[6] A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 - 1875, pp. 404, 406.

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