Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Josias Hatton (1757-1798)
MSA SC 3520-17867

Biography:

Josias (or Josiah) Hatton enlisted as a private in the Third Company of the First Maryland Regiment, led by Captain Barton Lucas, on January 30, 1776. Born on July 1, 1757, Hatton was only eighteen years old, five years younger than the average Maryland soldier. He was the son of Joseph and Mary Hatton, and had at least five siblings: Cordele (b. 1752); Henry (b. 1755); Joseph, Jr.; Basil; and George. [1]

The Third Company, including Hatton, 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 totaled 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, ar least 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, Hatton survived the battle and was not captured. He likely 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]

Josias Hatton likely returned home to Prince George’s County, Maryland, in December 1776, when his enlistment ended. He resided in the Piscataway area, in the southwestern part of the county. Joseph was a farmer, and Josias farmed as well, perhaps helping his father on their land. When Joseph died in August 1792, his land was divided and given to his five sons. [5]

Hatton married Mary Wheeler Mitchell, the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Mitchell, on February 22, 1793. Josias and Mary had one daughter together, Mary Elizabeth, who was born on August 22, 1795. Sadly, Josias Hatton died just a few years later, on October 16, 1798. At the time of his death, he owned eleven enslaved people, four of whom he inherited from his uncle, and a large amount of farming equipment. His estate was valued at £918, which was a notable amount for the time. [6]

Hatton's widow Mary married again, wedding Edward Edelen, of Thomas in 1800. She died in Prince George's County in 1817. [7]

Natalie Miller, Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution Research Fellow, 2018. Special thanks to Jimmy Vaughn.

Notes:

[1] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol 18, p. 10; St. John's Church, King George Parish, Broad Creek, Parish Register 1689-1801, 277, 287, 301 [MSA SC2227-1-2, SCM 229]; DAD WILL

[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 Fold3.com; Pension of John Hughes. National Archives, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land-Warrant Application Files, S 5954, from fold3.com.

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

[5] Inventory of Josias Hatton, Prince George’s County, Register of Wills, Inventories, 1799, Liber ST 3, 248 [MSA C1228-14, 01/25/09/005]; Will of Joseph Hatton, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Wills, 1798, Liber T1, p. 315 [MSA C1326-3, 01/25/07/004].

[6] Prince George’s County Court, Marriage Licenses, 1777-1797, p. 65 [CM783-1, CR50230]; Will of Joseph Mitchell, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Wills, 1790, Liber T1, p. 291 [MSA C1326-2, 1/25/7/3]; Will of Elizabeth Mitchell, Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Wills, 1811, Liber TT1, p. 47 [MSA C1326-3, 1/2/5/4]; St. John's Parish Register, p. 403; FindAGrave for Josias Hatton; Inventory of Josias Hatton. There is one record that refers to a "Elisha Hatton," the child of Josias, apparently born around 1795. This may have been an incorrect reference to "Eliza" Hatton. See Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Guardian Bonds, Liber ST 2, p. 229 [MSA C1221-3, 1/25/11/33].

[7] Prince George’s County Court, Marriage Licenses, 1797-1817, p. 9 [CM783-2, CR50230]; Prince George’s County Register of Wills, Estate Docket, 1810-1858, p. 21 [MSA CM799-1, CR 11320].

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