James Agnew (British Army officer)

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James Agnew
Born 1719
Died 4 October 1777 (aged 57–58)
Germantown, Pennsylvania
Place of burial De Benneville Family Burial Grounds Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  British Army
Rank Brigadier General

American Revolutionary War

Brigadier-General James Tanner Agnew (1719 – 4 October 1777) was a British Army officer killed by a sniper in the Battle of Germantown during the American Revolutionary War.

Personal life[edit]

Agnew was born in 1719 in England[1] to Major James Agnew, 7th Dragoons, and Margaret Wilkinson. On 27 September 1747, he married Elizabeth Sanderson in County Durham, England. His son, Robert, was born c. 1749.[2]

Military Service[edit]

James Agnew came to Boston in the latter part of 1775, holding the rank of lieutenant-colonel. By 1777 he had been appointed a local brigadier general and commanded a brigade.

General Agnew was engaged at the Battle of Long Island in 1776. In 1777 Agnew accompanied British forces under the command of General William Tryon and General William Erskine on an inland raid against Patriot supply depots in Danbury, Connecticut. After successfully destroying Patriot supplies, the British forces engaged and defeated Continental Army Generals David Wooster, Benedict Arnold, and Gold S. Silliman and Patriot militiamen in the Battle of Ridgefield. Lastly, Agnew was at the Battle of the Brandywine, where he was wounded.

While leading his 4th brigade in support of Lord Cornwallis at the Battle of Germantown, General Agnew was killed by a civilian sharpshooter named Hans Boyer.[3] His soldiers brought him back to their headquarters in John Wister's Big House (now called Grumblethorpe) on Germantown Avenue, where his blood is rumored to still stain the parlor floor.[2]

He is buried at De Benneville Family Burial Grounds, on the 6000 block of North Broad Street.Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

External links[edit]


  1. ^ General James Tanner Agnew at Find a Grave
  2. ^ a b "Silver Whistle Lobster Creel". Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Trussell, John B.B., Jr. (1974). "The Battle of Germantown". Harrisburg, PA: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Archived from the original on 15 December 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2012.