Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

George Hamilton
MSA SC 3520-17859


George Hamilton  enlisted as a private in the Third Company of the First Maryland Regiment, led by Captain Barton Lucas, on January 31, 1776. [1]

The Third Company was recruited primarily from Prince George’s County, Maryland, but traveled to Annapolis in the spring of 1776 to train for several months. That July, the company received orders to march north, making it to Philadelphia by mid-July and to New York a month later.  It was positioned with the rest of the First Maryland Regiment about one mile outside of New York, with orders to prepare for battle.

The Marylanders met the British at the Battle of Brooklyn (sometimes called the Battle of Long Island) on August 27, 1776, where the Continental Army, led by General George Washington, fought to defend New York. The American troops were severely outnumbered and surrounded when they were ordered to retreat. Half the regiment was able to escape the battle, however the other half, including most of the Third Company, was trapped by the swampy Gowanus Creek. They turned back to face the British, holding their position long enough for the rest of the Marylanders to return to safety. This daring stand earned them the honorable name of the “Maryland 400.” [2]

Despite the heroic actions of the Maryland 400, the battle was a defeat for the Americans, and the First Maryland Regiment suffered greatly. By the end of the battle, Maryland losses totalled 256 men killed or captured.  As for the Third Company, only 27 men, just 35 percent of the company, escaped death or captivity. Of the remaining 65 percent, an astonishing 22 men, or 29 percent, were taken prisoner. Sadly, the rest of the company remains unaccounted for.  On the day of the battle, Captain Lucas was sick and unable to lead his men. He "became deranged as a consequence of losing his company," and left the army not long after. [3]

Unlike many of his companions, Hamilton survived the battle and was not captured.  He continued to fight, helping the Maryland Regiment secure America’s first victory at the Battle of Harlem Heights in September 1776 where they were praised for their “gallant behavior” and “splendid spirit and animation.” They fought again at the Battle of White Plains in October where, despite the Maryland troops’ immense improvement, there was no clear victory. Unfortunately, the First Maryland Regiment suffered greatly. [4]

George Hamilton survived these battles and reenlisted as a private in the First Maryland Regiment on December 10, 1776, when the Maryland Line was reorganized. At some point, Hamilton hired a substitute to serve in his place, although the year in which he did this is unknown.  Additionally, several men named George Hamilton served from Maryland up until the end of the war, but it is unknown if any of the later service records are for the same man who is a member of the Maryland 400. [5]

-Natalie Miller, Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution Research Fellow, 2018


[1] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol 18, 10.

[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;"Extract of a letter from New-York," 1 September 1776, American Archives, 5th series, vol. 2, 107.

[3] Return of the Maryland troops, 27 September 1776, from; Pension of John Hughes. National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land-Warrant Application Files, S 5954, from

[4] Henry P. Johnston, The Campaign of 1776 Around New York and Brooklyn (1878; Reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1971), 256.

[5] Archives of Maryland Online, vol 18, 117.

Return to George Hamilton's Introductory Page


This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

© Copyright Wednesday, 23-Oct-2019 14:59:32 EDT Maryland State Archives