26th Continental Regiment

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26th Continental Regiment
Loammi baldwin.jpg
Active1775–1777
AllegianceContinental Congress of the United States
TypeInfantry
RoleInfantry
Size318
Part ofMassachusetts Line
Nickname(s)George Washington
EngagementsSiege of Boston
New York and New Jersey campaign
Battle of Trenton
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Colonel Loammi Baldwin

The 26th Continental Regiment (previously known as Gerrish's Regiment and later known as the 9th Massachusetts Regiment) was an infantry unit of the Massachusetts Line during the American Revolutionary War. Gerrish's Regiment was raised in the early days of the war, and the regiment underwent name changes as the Continental Army was reorganized in 1776 and 1777. From 1777 onward, the unit was known as the 9th Massachusetts Regiment.

1775 history[edit]

In January 1776 the 26th Continental Regiment was organized from the remnant of Gerrish's Regiment, also known in the 1775 army establishment as the 25th Massachusetts. It was at first commanded by Colonel Samuel Gerrish, of Newbury,[1] who was dismissed from the service on August 19, 1775. Command of the regiment passed to its next senior officer, Lieutenant Colonel Loammi Baldwin, of Woburn.[2] Baldwin commanded the 25th Massachusetts Bay Provincial Regiment in 1775 during the Siege of Boston. To form the new unit, the old regiment had to be reduced from ten companies to eight. Command of the newly formed 26th Continental Regiment was given to Baldwin, who was promoted to the rank of Colonel on January 1, 1776.[3]

1776 history[edit]

In a report dated January 8, 1776, at Cambridge Camp, Colonel Baldwin reported the following roster of officers for his newly organized regiment, in addition to himself and his second in command, Lieutenant Colonel James Wesson. He also noted that he had no chaplain. Each line of this report represents a company of the regiment.[4]


Officers of the 26th Continental Regiment
Captains 1st Lieutenants 2nd Lieutenants Ensigns
Thomas Mighill[5] Thomas Cummings[6] Mark Cressey[7] Amos Bailey[8]
Thomas Cogswell[9] Moses Dunton[10] Amos Cogswell[11] James Walker[12]
Richard Dodge[13] Paul Dodge[14] Michael Farley (Quartermaster)[15] Abijah Hastings[16]
Isaac Sherman[17] Caleb Robinson[18] Michah Hoit[19] Ebenezer Light[20]
John Wood[21] Abraham Child[22] Nathan Dix[23] Sylvannus Wood[24]
Barnabas Dodge[25] Joseph Cheever[26] Joseph Knight[27] Joseph Edes[28]
Ezra Badlam[29] Samuel Carr[30] John Noyes[31] Wadleigh Noyes[32]
Joseph Pettingill[33] Samuel Thomson[34] John Woodward (Adjutant)[35] Joseph Walker[36]


Many of the men of Gerrish's Regiment were now members of the 26th Continental Regiment and had seen action at Bunker Hill in 1775. The newly formed regiment assisted efforts to lift the siege of Boston the following year. In early March 1776, the cannons captured at Fort Ticonderoga had been moved to Boston by the heroic efforts of Henry Knox.[37] The guns were placed on Dorchester Heights in a swift, overnight action ranging the British positions. British forces, led by General Howe, evacuated the city on March 17, 1776, and sailed to Canada. In April, General Washington took most of the Continental Army to fortify New York City.Frothingham, Richard (1903). History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill: Also an Account of the Bunker Hill Monument. Boston: Little, Brown. OCLC 221368703.

Baldwin's regiment remained with the Main Army. The 26th Continental Regiment moved to New York City in April 1776 and became part of Heath's Brigade there. On August 12, 1776, the 26th Regiment was transferred to Clinton's Brigade.[38] The regiment's strength report for September 1776 showed a strength of 318, including 23 officers, 35 non-commissioned officers, 5 staff officers, and 255 privates.[39]

The British movements from Pell's Point to White Plains.


The regiment saw action on Long Island and distinguished itself at the Battle of Throg's Neck and the Battle of Pell's Point, holding off a much larger British force to allow George Washington to withdraw from Manhattan to White Plains.[40] The regiment then joined Washington in White Plains for that battle.

The 26th Regiment also served at Trenton.[41] On the night of December 25, 1776, in the face of a violent and extremely cold storm of snow and hail, General Washington and his army crossed the Delaware to the New Jersey side, and fought the Battle of Trenton. Baldwin and his regiment participated in both the crossing and the fight.

Equipment[edit]

The 26th Regiment uniform was brown coats with buff facings similar to the British. They wore waistcoats and breeches of white cloth. The 26th was one of the first regiments of the Continental Army to outfit a grenadier company. Under the command of Captain Thomas Mighill, the company wore the traditional grenadier's mitre cap. One of these caps has survived in the Smithsonian collections. The Roman numerals 'XXVI' and the cipher 'GW,' for George Washington, are embroidered on the front. For this reason, the regiment was referred to as the "George Washington Regiment." [42]


Captain Mighill rearmed his grenadiers in July 1776 with Short Land Pattern Muskets and bayonets that had been captured from the British.[43]

1777 reorganization[edit]

In 1777, the 9th Massachusetts Regiment was formed by consolidating the remnant of the 21st Continental Regiment with the remnant of the 26th Continental Regiment. Colonel Baldwin was forced to retire due to ill health. The new commanding officer of the 9th Regiment, James Wesson, had been a major of Gerrish's Regiment in 1775 and the lieutenant colonel of the 26th Continental Regiment in 1776.[44]

The regiment had two, successive commanders: Colonel Wesson, from November 1, 1776, to January 1, 1781; and Colonel Henry Jackson, from the latter date to January 1, 1783. The regiment was a part of Learned's Brigade, which consisted of the 2nd Mass, 8th Mass, the 9th and, some say, the 1st Canadian Regiment. When in battle formation, the regiment was always positioned in the second line of the left wing, between the 3rd Mass and the 6th Mass. Overall command was by Major General Stirling.

The regiment served in what was known as the Northern Department during the war. It participated at Fort Stanwix, Saratoga and Valley Forge. At Valley Forge (1777–1778), under the command of Col. Wesson and assisted by Lt. Col. James Mellen, it was incorporated into Major General DeKalb's division.

It is known that the issued regimental coat should have had red facings but, due to the shortage of dyed material, buff facings were most likely substituted. Recent information suggests blue coats with white buff facings, green or plaid waistcoats, buff trousers and buckled shoes. Research of the regiment is ongoing.

Legacy[edit]

The Ninth Massachusetts Regiment is a group of revolutionary war reenactors. The group formed in 1975 in Braintree, Massachusetts, under its original name the Braintree 3rd Volunteer Militia. During the "great event" celebration, of July 4, 1976, a call went out to recreate the major events of the revolution. The group acquired the correct clothing and equipment of the American Continental Army.

In 1996, one of its members, Geoff Campbell, founded the End Zone Militia, a group of reenactors which regularly appears at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough for Patriots and Revolution home games and fires blanks each time the Patriots or Revolution score.[45]

Lineage[edit]



Preceded by
Gerrish's Regiment
Commander: Colonel Samuel Gerrish
26th Continental Regiment
Commander: Colonel Loammi Baldwin
Succeeded by
9th Massachusetts Regiment
Commander: Colonel James Wesson

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors, VI:368.
  2. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 33, 83, 246. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors, I:521.
  3. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 22, 72. Wright, Continental Army, 210.
  4. ^ Muster Rolls of the Revolutionary War, Vol 77, 1776.
  5. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 203
  6. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 141
  7. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 139
  8. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 70
  9. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 130
  10. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 161
  11. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 129
  12. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 415
  13. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 155
  14. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 155
  15. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 171
  16. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 213
  17. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 381
  18. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 348
  19. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 223
  20. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 264
  21. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 443
  22. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 122
  23. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 154
  24. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 443
  25. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 155
  26. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 122
  27. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 253
  28. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 163
  29. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 70
  30. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 117
  31. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 311
  32. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 311
  33. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 326
  34. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 398
  35. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 444
  36. ^ Heitman, Historical Register; 415
  37. ^ Brooks, Noah (1900). Henry Knox, a Soldier of the Revolution: Major-general in the Continental Army, Washington's Chief of Artillery, First Secretary of War Under the Constitution, Founder of the Society of the Cincinnati; 1750–1806. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 312. OCLC 77547631.
  38. ^ "26th Contintneal Regiment". US Wars Net. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  39. ^ Lesser, Sinews of Independence
  40. ^ Abbatt, William (1901). The Battle of Pell's Point. New York: W. Abbatt. Battle of Pell's Point.
  41. ^ Wright, Continental Army, 211.
  42. ^ Zlatich, Marko; Copeland, Peter. General Washington's Army (1): 1775–78 (1994)
  43. ^ Troiani, Soldiers of the American Revolution, 93.
  44. ^ Wright, Continental Army; 210, 219.
  45. ^ The Patriot Act: A Look at the End Zone Militia by Lauren Spencer New England Patriots

References[edit]

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External links[edit]