Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Lawrence Hutton
MSA SC 3520-17760

Biography:

Lawrence Hutton enlisted as a private in the Eighth Company of the First Maryland Regiment on January 12, 1776. The regiment was Maryland's first contingent of full-time, professional soldiers raised to be part of the Continental Army. The Eighth Company, commanded by Captain Samuel Smith, formed in Baltimore in early 1776, and it trained there that spring and summer. Two other companies from the regiment were located in Baltimore as well, while the rest were stationed in Annapolis. In July, the regiment was ordered to march north to New York, to protect the city from invasion by the British. The Eighth Company lost four men who deserted along the march, a problem which plagued the regiment that summer. [1]

On August 27, 1776, the Americans faced the British Army at the Battle of Brooklyn (sometimes called the Battle of Long Island), the first full-scale engagement of the war. The battle was a rout: the British were able to sneak around the American lines, and the outflanked Americans fled in disarray. As the Maryland troops fought their way towards the American fortifications, they were forced to stop at the swampy Gowanus Creek. Half the regiment, including the Eighth, was able to cross the creek and escape the battle. However, the rest were unable to do so before they were attacked by the British. Facing down a much larger, better-trained force, this group of soldiers, today called the "Maryland 400," mounted a series of daring charges. They held the British at bay long enough for the rest of the Continental Army to escape, at the cost of many lives. The Marylanders lost a total of 256 men killed or captured. Because the Eighth was able to escape the battle early, it lost only about six men. [2]

Hutton survived the battle and went on the reenlist when his term of service expired at the end of 1776. However, little is known about his activities for the next few years. Suffering from an unknown injury or illness, Hutton spent many months in army hospitals, and in July 1777 he was transferred to the Continental Army's Invalid Corps. The Invalid Corps was composed of wounded soldiers unable to serve in the field, but "who shall be found capable of doing guard or garrison duty." By 1779, however, Hutton had recovered. He was transferred out of the Invalid Corps back to his unit, and signed a new enlistment, agreeing to serve until the end of the war. In January 1780, he was promoted to corporal. [3]

Hoping to change the course of the war, the British launched a new campaign in the Carolinas, and in the spring of 1780, the Maryland Line was part of the American army that marched to counter the new threat. Over the next two years, the Marylanders fought in the Revolutionary War's fiercest battles, beginning with Camden in August 1780. The battle was a devastating defeat for the Americans, and the Marylanders took the highest casualties, losing some 600 men--about one-third of their troops. Hutton was among those taken prisoner at the battle. Many American prisoners were released by the British in 1781 and 1782, but Hutton's fate is not recorded, and nothing else is known about his life. [4]

Owen Lourie, 2018

Notes:

[1] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 18; Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, NARA M881, from Fold3.com; "Eight Pounds Reward." Philadelphia Evening Post, 10 August 1776; William Sands to John and Ann Sands, 14 August 1776, Maryland State Archives, Special Collections, Dowsett Collection of Sands Family Papers [MSA SC 2095-1-18, 00/20/05/28].

[2] Mark Andrew Tacyn “’To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), 48-73; Return of the Maryland troops, 13 September 1776, Revolutionary War Rolls, NARA M246, folder 35, p. 85, from Fold3.com. 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] Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 118; Compiled Service Record; List of men transferred to the Invalid Corps from the Maryland Line, 1777-1783, Maryland State Papers, Revolutionary Papers, box 14, no. 36-2, MdHR 19970-14-36/2 [MSA S997-14-71, 1/7/3/13]; Laws of October 1778, Chap. 14, sect. 8, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 203, p. 201; Robert K. Wright, The Continental Army (Washington, DC: U.S. Army Center for Military History, 1983), 136.

[4] Tacyn, 216-225; Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 118.  

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