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Thurmont's Revolutionary War Patriots

A.W. Cissel

When hostilities began with England in 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the raising of six rifle companies, including men from Maryland. This unit was mostly frontiersmen and scouts, recruited in what is now Washington County and nicknamed "Cresaps Rifles". They were among the first to join General Washington, marching from Frederick county to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 22 days.

The first participation of most local men was in one or another of the four militia companies mobilized in the Tom Creek Hundred area (now Emmitsburg) in November, 1775. The First Company was known as "The Gamecocks" for the jaunty plumage they wore in their caps. The Third Company was headed by Capt. Jacob Ambrose (of Owens Creek) with First Lt. Peter Shaver, Ensign John Weller, John Protsman, Laurence Creager, Casper Young and George Kuhn among the officers and non-coms heading 50 privates. The fifer was Philip Weller. Capt. Benjamin Ogles' Fourth Company consisted of other men from the Hunting Creek/Graceham area like Henry Matthias, George Need, William Elder and Daniel Linebaugh.

Recognizing that many of the German-speaking citizens wanted to join the fight, the Continental Congress authorized the raising of a German Regiment to be composed of eight companies of Pennsylvania and Maryland men led by bilingual officers. The Assembly in July, 1776 defined that two companies each would be raised from Frederick and Baltimore counties. Enlistment was for three years, but the Regiment saw action for nearly five years from Trenton, White Plains and Brandeywine in Delaware, New York and New Jersey to Yorktown in the south.

During the bleak winter of 1777 "The German Regiment" was among those at Valley Forge, where by February, 1778 only 79 out of 308 starving men were fit for duty; 52 men could not muster because of lack of warm clothes. The following year the Regiment saw even worse conditions as they constructed and guarded the Pennsylvania/New York frontier forts during one the harshest winters in history, known as "The Winter of the Deep Snow". In 1781 this Regiment was disbanded as a separate entity and was folded into the Maryland Continental Troops, part of the 3rd Regiment. They marched back to Frederick and then to Baltimore where they were re-equipped to go south to Yorktown.

The Roster of "The German Regiment" included the names of Sgt. Frederick Wilheid, Henry Delawter, Adam Froshour, Michael Moser, John Ridenour, George Studdlemeier, Henry Tomm, Adam Stonebreaker, Christian Apple, and others.

Over the years, many other Frederick men enlisted in the Continental troops; Jacob Troxel served in the Virginia line, while the names of Abraham and John Troxel appear in Maryland units. Familiar names like Clabaugh, Harbaugh, and Fox joined the fight. When the Maryland troops came home, whether from The Maryland Line, The German Regiment, The Frontier Rangers, or the militia companies, some head their health broken by battle and hardships and many were penniless after years away from their farms. But their heads were high they had been among the first men to meet the veteran legions of red-coated British Regulars and ac-counted themselves so well over the course of the war that Gen. Washington repeatedly recognized their reliability, gallantry, and fighting spirit. Two hundred and twenty years later, like him, we recognize their achievement and celebrate their patriotism in our cause.

Have your own memories of Revolutionary Patriots in the Thurmont Area?
If so,  Please send them to us so we can included them in our archives.
E-mail us at: history@mythurmont.net

Read more articles by Anne Cissel