Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Samuel White
MSA SC 3520-17413


Samuel White was twenty-three years old when he enlisted as a private in Captain Edward Veazey's Seventh Independent Company in 1776. Maryland's independent companies were formed in early 1776, and differed from the nine companies that made up Colonel William Smallwood’s First Maryland Regiment. While the Council of Safety, Maryland's Revolutionary executive body, used the nine companies of regular troops to fulfill the state's quota for the Continental Army, it dispatched seven independent companies throughout Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore to guard the vast shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay. Half of the Seventh Independent Company was stationed on Kent Island, while the rest, including White, were sent to Chestertown. In these first months, the company had great difficulty obtaining supplies, including uniforms and weapons. In the summer of 1776, Congress requested additional troops from Maryland to help reinforce the Continental Army, and the state agreed to shift the independent companies to that duty. When the First Maryland Regiment marched for New York in early July, it was accompanied by the Fourth, Fifth and Seventh independent companies; the rest followed later that fall. [1]

The Marylanders arrived in New York in early August, and prepared to protect the city from attack by the British. On August 27, 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 to safety. The rest, the Seventh Independent Company among them, 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. [2]

The Seventh Independent Company suffered greatly during the battle. Its commander Captain Veazey was killed early in the fighting and two of the company's lieutenants were captured. First Lieutenant William Harrison was the sole officer in the company to escape, and only 36 men avoided death or captivity, just a third of the company. [3]

What became of Samuel White at the Battle of Brooklyn is unknown. It is not even certain that he was still part of Veazey's company in August of 1776. A man with the same name joined a Queen Anne's County-based company of the Maryland Flying Camp in July 1776, the same area that Veazey's men were recruited from. The Flying Camp was a short-term reserve force that also saw service during around New York in 1776, but did not arrieve from Maryland until until September. It is easily possible that White left the Seventh Independent to join the Flying Camp. In addition, a Samuel White was a private in a minute company that marched from Queen Anne's County to Northampton County, Virginia in February 1776, to defend the area against a possible occupation by British troops. Whether that man later served in Veazey's company, the Flying Camp, or both is not known. None of these men served in the army after 1776. [4]

Little is known about White's post-war life. A man with that name lived in Queen Anne's County, dying a wealthy man in 1814. However, there is no information about whether he had fought for American Independence in 1776. [5]

Owen Lourie, 2016


[1] Descriptions of men in Capt. Edward Veazey’s Independent Company, 1776, Maryland State Papers, Revolutionary Papers, MdHR 19970-15-36/01 [MSA S997-15-36, 1/7/3/13]; Mark Andrew Tacyn “’To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 33-34, 43; Journal of the Maryland Convention and Council of Safety 1775-1776, Archives of Maryland Online vol. 11, pps. 318, 468; Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, July-December, 1776, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 12, p. 4.

[2] Tacyn, 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.

[3] Extract of a letter from an officer in the Maryland Battalion, 28 August 1776, American Archives, series 5, vol. 1, p. 1195; Return of the Maryland troops, 27 September 1776, from

[4] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution. Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 66, 645.

[5] U.S. Federal Census, 1810, Queen Anne's County, Maryland; Estate Inventory of Samuel White, 1814, Queen Anne's County Register of Wills, Inventories, Liber WHN 9, p. 338 [MSA C1412-21, 2/2/5/1].

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