Revolutionary Terms of Service
The query is often propounded how it was that so many Revolutionary soldiers printed in the official lists of New Jersey served in various companies or regiments, and sometimes in the militia and at other times in the Continental troops. The matter is well explained in a communication to the QUARTERLY from Mr. John J. DeMott, of Metuchen, the author of the article on "The Origin of the Cortelyou Family," printed in our last number. We publish the whole of Mr. DeMott's communication, not only because it gives a full record of a Somerset soldier, but to throw light on this subject of the variety of services which some of our brave forefathers were called upon to render in order to secure our national independence. He says:
"There was little chance for monotony for the boys and young men of Somerset County during the period of the Revolution. On the main lines of travel across the State both armies passed repeatedly along the roads of this County. Besides this, when there were no larger movements, there was always the chance of a raid through the countryside by small parties of British or Hessian troops. One writer asserts that the average term of service in the Continental army was three months. Be this as it may, it is a fact that many men divided their time between fighting and farming, going to the front for a short period and then returning home to work. An excellent example of this kind is found in the war record of Hendrick Cortelyou, of Ten-Mile Run, a private in the Somerset County militia. This is a transcript of his pension claim, the original of which is on file in the Record and Pension Bureau, Washington, D.C.:
"'Hendrick Cortelyou enlisted in 1777, as private, and served one month under Captain James More, Somerset County New Jersey Militia, Colonel Seeley, at Elizabeth; same year served two weeks under same officers; June, 1778, served three weeks under Captain James More and Colonel Henry Vandyke, Somerset County Militia; at battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778; in 1778 served one month under same officers, at Connecticut Farms, New Jersey; afterward served one month under Captain Joseph Corshen, and Colonel John Webster, at Woodbridge, New Jersey; served three weeks guarding the prisoners at Morristown, under Colonel Seeley; June, 1780, served one month under Captain Jones and Colonel Taylor; at battle of Springfield, New Jersey; January, 1781, served two weeks under Captain Jones and Colonel Vandyke; afterwards served three weeks under Captain Abraham Vanness; age at enlistment, sixteen years.'
"It will be seen that the above record covers nine distinct terms of service, scattered over five years of the war. Four of the terms are of one month, three of three weeks, and two of two weeks. This aggregates about seven months in all. Hendrick Cortelyou also mentions two important battles in which he participated. During his later years at Ten-Mile Run, he made periodical trips to Trenton for the purpose of drawing the pension to which this military record entitled him."
Somerset County Historical Quarterly Vol I
Somerset County Historical Quarterly
PUBLICATION COMMITTEE: A. Van Doren Honeyman Alexander G. Anderson Joshua Doughty, Jr. John F. Reger Mrs. Mary B. Sanborn Mrs. Frances C. Rogers
SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY
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