The American Revolution in North Carolina

Lt. Col. William Washington


Biography from Benson J. Lossing in his Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution [with minor edits]:

William Washington, "the modern Marcellus," "the sword of his country," was the eldest son of Baily Washington of Stafford County, Virginia, where he was born on February 28, 1752. He was educated for the Church, but the peculiar position of public affairs led him into the political field. He early espoused the patriot cause and entered the army under Colonel (later general) Hugh Mercer as a captain.

He was in the battle near Brooklyn, Long Island, distinguished himself at Trenton, and was with his beloved general when he fell at Princeton. He was afterward a major in Colonel Baylor's corps of cavalry, and was with that officer when attacked by General Grey at Tappan in 1778. The following year, he joined the army under Lincoln in South Carolina and was very active in command of a light corps in the neighborhood of Charlestown.

He became attached, with his corps, to the division of General Morgan and with that officer fought bravely at the Cowpens. For his valor on that occasion, Congress presented him with a silver medal. He was an active officer in Greene's celebrated retreat and again fought bravely at Guilford Court House. He behaved gallantly at Hobkirk's Hill, near Camden, and at the battle of Eutaw Springs he exhibited signal valor, but his horse being shot under him, he was there made a prisoner. He remained a captive until the close of the war.

Having become attached to a South Carolina lady during his captivity he married her and settled in Charleston. He represented that district in the State Legislature. His talents as a statesman were so conspicuous that he was solicited to become a candidate for governor. He declined the honor chiefly because he could not make a speech.

When President Adams appointed General Washington commander-in-chief of the American army, he chose Colonel Washington to be one of his staff, with the rank of brigadier. William Washington died on March 6, 1810. He was tall in person, possessed of great strength and activitiy, and in society was taciturn and modest.



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