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Pension Application of Charles B. Atwell (Attwell) S10064

                Transcribed and annotated by C. Leon Harris


State of Virginia                 }  SS.

County of Prince William   }

                On this 25th day of Sept’r 1832 personally appeared before me James Foster a justice of the peace in & for aforesaid County in State of Virg’a Charles B Atwell a resident of the County of Prince William and State of Virginia, aged sixty seven years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth, on his Oath make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7 1832.

                That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers, and served as herein stated. I volunteered in the month of February 1781 in the County of Prince William in Virginia (where I was born and have resided with the exception of a few years ever since) under Capt. Wm. Brent of that County. We marched to Williamsburg Virginia, with no other companies from Prince William, commanded by Capts Valentine Payton & Robt Warren. On our arrival at Williamsburg, as aforesaid, our field officers were Gen’l. Weeden [Gen. George Weedon], Col. Wm. Brent, Major Ramsay & Maj. [Samuel] Cox.

I was appointed an Ensign by a Court Martial, or Board of officers at Dumfries, when I volunteered, and shortly after our arrival at Williamsburg, I received my commission under which I served three months. In this time I was in the battle of Williamsburg, on which occasion I volunteered under Maj. Armistead & Maj. Ramsay to return to that place for the purpose of Capturing Gen’l. [Benedict] Arnold. We were repulsed & retreated to the main body of the army at Ruffins Ferry. On our arrival there, Maj. Armistead proposed to raise an additional number of volunteers to attack Arnold. I volunteered again, and we proceeded on to the British lines, and at a place called Osborn’s below Richmond, on the James River, we fell in with the enemy and about forty of us were taken prisoners, myself among the number [27 Apr] — After a few days detention we were released on parol [oath not to take up arms until exchanged] and I returned home

In June following I was exchanged. During all this time I acted as Ensign under a commission signed by Governor Jefferson.

In the July or August following, there was another call for men and I volunteered again as lieutenant, at Dumfries in Prince William, aforesaid, under Capt. John Kincheloe (I believe). We paraded, and was ready in all respects for service: but Gen’l. Washington came along [around 10 Sep 1781] & ordered that our company and one other (the Captains name I don’t now recollect), should immediately engage in opening a road for his artillery which was then on the way to the Siege of York [28 Sep - 19 Oct 1781]. This duty we performed, with the understanding from the Gen’l. that this service should be considered a equal to our three months tour. After being engaged for about a month we finished the task assigned us – the Artillery came thro’ & we were discharg’d. I received my commission as Lieutenant as above stated, likewise from Gov. Jefferson. There was no Field officer engaged in this service with us.

In February 1782, I recruited some twenty odd men in Prince William and marched to Williamsburg for the purpose of offering our services to the Country. On our arrival there Col. Wadsworth received us into the service for the purpose of conducting the artillery to Boston, allowing me the Rank, pay and emoluments of a Captain. I received no Commission from the Government for this service, but acted under the appointment of Col. Wadsworth as aforesaid. [See endnote.]

We left Williamsburg I think 1 July following, and proceeded under the Command of Col. Wadsworth with the artillery to Boston, where we arrived about 5th Dec’r. following. On our arrival there, we were sent with the horses of the Artillery to a village near a hundred miles above Boston called Hatfield or Hatley or some such name [probably Hadley MA, 75 mi W of Boston], for the purpose of wintering the horses. A short time after we reached there, we were discharged, received our pay, and returned home. In this last service, from the time I left home until I returned, (& during which time I was constantly engaged in the service) was ten months or thereabout.

I have no documentary evidence of my services, but having lost all my papers touching my Revolutionary duties some years ago. But there is living testimony in my native County, to which I can refer with confidence to sustain, substantially, my pretensions, in witnesses, too, who have lived there all their lives.

                He the said Charles B Atwell hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present, & declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state in the United States

Sworn to, & subscribed, the day & year aforesaid before me                               [signed] Charles B. Atwell


Prince Wm Cty   }

State of Va.           }               On the 25th day of Sept’r. 1832 personally appeared before me James Foster a justice of the peace in & for the County & State aforesaid George Mills [pension application W7449] and John Sullivan who being duly sworn according to law do state and testify as follows – that they were with Captn Charles B Atwell in his first tour of service and know all he states in relation thereto to be true – as to his other tours we can only say we lived neighbors to his father during the Rev’y War and then and since understood and believed that he was in the service as declared by him and entertain not a doubt of the entire truth of his statement and the justice of his claim. We have known him ever since and have often heard him make like statements. We believe him to be of the age he represents and know him from long and intimate personal acquaintance to be a man of probity and truth. He is now friendless and indigent.                                                                                                         [signed] George Mills                [signed] John Sullivan


Prince William County  State of Virginia

                This day appeared in person before me James Foster a justice of the peace in and for aforesaid County [pension application S12986] who being first duly sworn according to law testifies and declares that he enlisted in the service of the United States and marched from Williamsburg in Virginia early in said Year by way of Alexandria, Baltimore and Philadelphia to Boston where they arrived in the latter end of said Year ‘82  that John Sullivan of aforesaid County was in the same company with him and was in his Mess – that they were under the command of a Col Wadsworth or Waidsworth. That he well knew Captn Charles B Attwell of said County and declares that sd Attwell commanded and marched a company from Williamsburg in Va. to Boston at the same time – he saw him on the way and after they arrived at Boston Captn Attwell was also under the command of Col. Wadsworth or Waidsworth  He does not know the exact time said Captn Attwell returned home but thinks it was in the latter end of the Year ‘82 – said Bell remained in the service till some time in 1783 –

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 3d day of June 1833                                              John hisXmark Bell


State of Virginia, Fauq’r. County  viz:

At the same time and place that the within Deposition was taken [11 Sep 1833 by John Bell, not transcribed here], being immediately on the Border of Prince William County, there being no magistrate present at Buckland, in said County nor any Magistrate residing in said County within several miles of said place – David Blackwell [pension application W9358] of Buckland personally appeared before me the subscriber a Justice of the Peace in the aforesaid County, and being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God deposeth that he has been acquainted with Charles B. Attwell, now a resident in the County of Louden [sic: Loudoun] ever since he was a Boy, and that he well remembers that the said Ch’s. B. Attwell was in the Revolutionary War at three several times viz in the lower part of Virginia when he was Ensign and taken Prisoner, when a Road was opened for Gen’l. Washington’s Army to pass at the Wolf Run Shoals – and when he went on as Captain, to move the artillery from Williamsburg to Boston. These different Tours he well remembers, but the precise period of his service in each he does not know; but that he served in the Revolutionary Army is well known among his acquaintances and generally believed.

                And further this Deponent saith not                                                           [signed] David Blackwell


State of Virginia

                County of Loudon  viz:

On this 24th day of September 1833, personally appeared in open Court, before the Circuit Sup’r. Court of Law and Chanery [sic: Chancery] in said County, now sitting, Charles B. Attwell, a resident of said County in the State for Virginia, aged sixty eight years, who being first duly sworn according to Law, doth on his corporal Oath make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed 7th June, 1832.

                That when a very young man, being stout and strong, and filled with military ardor, and a desire to serve his County, he, together with some other young acquaintances in his County of Prince William, in the month of February 1781 agreed to turn out as Volunteers, to join the Company of Captain Brent about to march to the Lower Country. That they marched from the Town of Dumfries in said County through Fredericksburg, where they met the Fairfax Militia, and drawing their arms at that place, they proceeded on to Williamsburg, where they joined the Regiment of Col. William Brent, whose Majors were Ramsay and Armistead [possibly Thomas Armistead]. At Williamsburg he received the commission of Ensign, signed by Thomas Jefferson, then Governor of Virginia, which appointment he had when he left the said County. That some time after their arrival at Williamsburg, he was in a skirmish with a Party of the British, who hade landed and marched up from below.

                Soon after this, he marched under Major Armistead, who had the command of two Companies selected for the purpose, and in the neighbourhood of Osborn they had an Engagement with a Party of the British, when himself and about forty others, were made Prisoners. Armistead was a man of the most determined bravery, and great impetuosity of temper, who was a stranger to fear, and willing to hazard any thing for a Battle. After some days confinement, he was parolled, at which time the three months for which his company was drafted, having expired, he returned home. — In the month of July, he thinks it was an exchange of Prisoners taking place, as he understood, another draft taking place in the upper Counties, he turned out again, and being appointed Lieutenant, he joined the troops about to march from Prince William, when orders were given to the companies about to march from Prince William and Fairfax, to repair to a Road about to be opened for the Army of General Washington coming from the North, and after working about forty days on this Road, Col. Harry Lee, then Col. of Prince William County, agreed that this work, which had been very laborious, should be considered and taken in line of the three months, for which they were bound to serve. In this employment, he continued to labor during the whole time there. Troops were employed, and was included in the arrangement commuting the Service of marching, in working on the road.

                In the month of February 1782 another call of men taking place to move the artillery from York to the North he again tendered his service, and being appointed Captain, and [one or two illegible words] from a place called Bradley in Prince William County, and marching through Dumfries and Fredericksburg, proceeded with the Troops upon this expedition into Williamsburg to which place the artillery had been removed. they were placed under the command of Wadsworth, and proceeded to Baltimore, where they were some time detained, and moving on, they arrived at Boston in the month of December, where the artillery was deposited. From this place he was sent in charge of the horses up the Country, to the amount of 4 or 500 to winter. They were carried to the neighbourhood of Hatchfield or Hartley (he does not recollect which) where he left them, after eating his Christmas Dinner, and returned home, after a service of at least ten months from the time he left home. This was the last Service rendered by him, in which he drew the pay of Captain from the time he left home.

                He kept his commissions a long time, which, in moving about afterwards, were destroyed or lost as well as the evidence of his discharges, which he deemed of no importance to preserve, as the posture of American affairs had then assumed a different aspect.

          He hereby relinquishes all claim to a Pension except the present, and declares that his name is not on the Pension Roll of the Agency of any State.

          Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid                  [signed] Charles B. Attwell

          Interrogatories prescribed by the War Department:

1st.     Where, and in what year were you born?

          Answer — In the Town of Dumfries  Prince William County, 1765.

2d.     Have you any Record of your age, and if so, where is it?

          Answer — It is recorded in a family Bible where I now live

3d.     Where were you living when called into Service? where have you lived since the Revolutionary War, and where do you now live?

          Answer — I lived in Prince William County Virginia when I entered the Service, as a Volunteer,

          where I lived about fifty years, and now live in Loudon County.

4th     How were you called into service; were you drafted – did you volunteer, or were you a substitute, and if a substitute, for whom?

          Answer — I was a Volunteer in every instance.

5th.    State the names of some of the Regular Officers who were with the Troops where you served – Such Continental Regiments as you can recollect, and the general circumstances of your service.

Answer — I was acquainted with Weeden, Colo. Wm. Brent, Colo. [Sampson] Mathews, Innis [possibly James Innes], Nelson, Wadsworth, and many others – and the particulars of my service I have fully detailed in my declaration.

6th.    Did you ever receive a discharge from the service, and if so, by whom was it given, and what has become of it.

Answer — I kept my commissions for some time, which in moving about, were destroyed or lost, as also any and every evidence of the service rendered, which I did not deem it of any use to preserve. I received my discharge as Capt’n. from Colo. Wadsworth.

7th.    State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighbourhood, and who can testify as to your character as a man of veracity, and their belief of your services as a Soldier of the Revolution.

Answer — I am well known to Mr. David Blackwell, & Mr. John Bell, both of whom have given their depositions proving my service. I am also known to Thomas Taylor, Hugh Smith and almost all the old Inhabitants of Prince William and Fauquier.


State of Virginia }  S.S.

Loudoun County   }

On this 11th day of May 1835 personally appeared in open Court before the County Court of Loudoun County, and State of Virginia, now sitting, Charles B. Atwell, a resident of said County and State (formerly of Prince William County) aged sixty nine years and eight months, who being first duly sworn according to Law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress passed June 7, 1832. That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated. In February 1781 he believes as early as the first of Feby he volunteered his services at a place called the old Chappel in Prince William Co’y. Va. and a Court Martial then sitting gave him an appointment as Ensign, for which Rank he soon after rec’d. a commission, signed by Thomas Jefferson, then Governor of Virginia – affiant volunteered his services then for three months: and was attached to a Company commanded by Capt. William Brent in a Regiment of Infantry Virginia Militia commanded by Col. William Brent both officers named William, but not related so far as affiant knows: said Regiment was attached to the Brigade of Gen’l. WeedonOn the 29th of April 1781 as nearly as he can remember, he was captured with some other of his Reg’t. in a small skirmish with the British at a place called Osburn on James River – this was a small place where Tobacco was inspected. Two days after he was captured he was parolled & in June following duly Exchanged. He was then duly Commissioned as a Lieutenant and again enter’d the service for three months, and was attached to a company command by Capt. Kincheloe, and was ready to march and join the Rendevous at Fredericksburg, where the Capt. rec’d. orders to employ his men to open a road for the passage of Artillery to Williamsburg, this was in July or August 1781 – The men were assured that the service of opening the Road should be regarded as a Tour of duty, that is three mo’s. – The time actually employed in said work was as nearly as affiant can remember between 40 and 50 days. – In this service he rated as Lieutenant and rec’d. the pay of Lieutenant for 3 mo’s.

In February 1782 He volunteer’d his services to recruit men for the purpose of moving a heavy train of artillery from Williamsburg up to Boston in Massachusetts – He recruited about 16 men for this service – which, added to the others, made about 200 men; to these there were several Conductors or Captains  that is a Captain to every Division, of which there was five or six – affiant rec’d his Commission as a Captain & rec’d. the pay of a Captain for this service. It was in February 1782 he arrived at Williamsburg to begin this service, where Col. Wadsworth gave him a Commission as a Captain, under which he acted in recruiting his men. He continued in this service & finally march’d from Williamsburg with his Division & others in July 1782 (the final arrangements for removing the artillery were not made until then)  In this service the whole party remained at Baltimore during the mo. of August, when we rec’d. orders to [illegible word] & we crossed the North River near to West point sometime about the month of September & remained in that vicinity for upward of 6 weeks – in both stoppages, it was by orders from the Commander in Chief — sometime in Nov’r. we again set off and passed thro’ Hartford in Connecticut, where Col. Wadsworth lived & thro’ Windham to Providence R.I. and thence to Boston, where we arrived in December, about the first week. In this service Col. Wadsworth commanded the the whole corps, marched from Williamsburg with us and continued with us ‘till the service was performed & the men discharged. Soon after our arrival at Boston Col. Wadsworth [illegible abbreviation] the Corps with the Horses (about 500 horses) to Hadley on the Connecticut River to winter there being more men than was wanted to attend to the Horses, many applied for their discharges and were sent home. Affiant says he was discharged at Hadley by orders of Col. Wadsworth by a Major Pease – He remembers Eating his Christmass Dinner at Hadley  was discharged he thinks the next day & reached his home sometime in January 1783 — In this service he acted as a Captain, was paid as a Captain & as such discharged, and himself and the whole Corps regarded as a Military corps & subject to the Rules and articles of war & Discipline of the Army — He was engaged in this service fully ten months & he verily believes rather more, tho’ he cannot remember the day in February when his service commenced.

And the said affiant further states that he has no Documentary Evidence in his possession – His Commission and sundry papers which would now be of use to him were left at his Sisters in a box many years ago, but his sister marrying afterwards & said box being removed, its contents have in the course of years become lost or mislaid, so that they cannot now be found. The only person he knows of who can testify to his services living, are Jno. Gill [pension application W7520], Geo. Mills, John Sullivan & Jno. Bell who reside in the County of Prince William, near to Occoquan Mills — The evidence of the three last mentioned persons is already attach’d to affiant’s first set of papers filed in 1832, and can, it is presumed be again procured, if required. Gill & Mills were in affiants Company in his first Tour for 3 mo’s. as Ensign, and Sullivan & Bell belonged to affiant’s Division as privates for the 10 mo. term of service —

And the said Charles B Atwell on his oath further states, that in November 1832 he went to Brentsville for the purpose of meeting Mr. James Foster & attending the Co’y. Court to Swear to his Declaration, which had been sent to Foster previously to procure the evidence of Mills, Sullivan & Bell: that he saw Foster who inform’d him that his attendance was then not required, for he had sent forw’d. his papers to the Pension Office & was waiting for an answer – affiant did not sign the first declaration, for he expected it would be redrawn by Mr. Foster & he (Atwell) would sign it in Court, when required. The declaration was drawn by his friend Col. Asa Rogers of Middleburg, Loudoun Co’y at the request of said Atwell, and forwarded to Foster without any signatures attach’d to it. — He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity, except the present, and declares that his name is not on the Pension Roll of the agency of any State.

            Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.                               [signed] Charles B Attwel

The answers of s’d. Charles B. Atwell to the several interrogatories as propounded by the Court

to the 1st. Question      In Dumfries in P’ce. Wm. Co’y. Vga. Sept. 5, 1765.

2nd. do                       Birth was recorded in the Parish Register of the Episcopal Church, Dittiogen[?] Parish, in s’d. County.

3d. do                         In P’ce. William County when called into service – Lived in said County & now reside in Loudoun Co’y.

4th. do                        I volunteered.

5th do                         General Weedon, Col. Innis, Col. Mathews, Col. Wadsworth, General Lafayette – Gen’l. Anthony Wayne, Col. Greene of Culpepper Vga. [sic: John Green of Culpeper County VA]. these, and many others were at Richmond Vga. while I was there in my first term of Duty; all were at Richmond excepting Col. Greene, whom I saw afterwards.

              6 & 7                    Answered in Declaration.                                                  [signed] Charles B Attwell


Loudoun County   }

Virginia                    }  Sct

Be it known that on this 17 day of Aug’t. 1835 personally came before me Hugh Smith a Justice of the Peace in and for said County, Charles B. Atwell, who being first sworn according to Law, deposeth and saith – that Capt. Wm. Brent of Pri Wm. Co’y was his maternal uncle, that he joined said Brent’s Company of Pr William Va. Militia – and that 3 companies from Prince Wm under Capt. Brent, Capt. V. Payton & Capt. Warren, and two Companies from Fairfax under the command of Capt. Little and Capt. Sanford – making 5 Companies, formed the Regiment then Commanded by Col. Wm. Brent. Maj. Ramsay from Fairfax and Maj Armistead belonged to said Regiment – this was at Williamsburg in the spring of 1781 – said Reg’t was then allocated to the Brigade commanded by Gen’l. Weedon – after we were driven from Williamsburg by Gen’l. [William] Phillips. I was detail’d from the main body of command by Maj’r. Armistead who engaged a party of the enemy at a place called Osbornes where I was taken prisoner & continued just from Friday till Sunday when I was released on my parole – and I think it was only 3 or 4 days after, I heard of the very sudden death of General Phillips  [of typhoid at Petersburg, 13 May]. — I recollect Gen’l. Weedons Brigade then consisted of some state Troops & State Cavalry & artillery & some Continental or Regular Soldiers; also several Virginia Regiments of Militia; thinks there were probably altogether three thousand militia men under the command of Lafayette

          Deponent further saith after he was discharged he was promoted to Lieutenancy & volunteered for a sec’d. time and was at Dumfries where the men were order’d to rendezvous and was ready to march when he understood that Gen’l Washington had left orders that the Fairfax & Prince William Companies should be left behind to open the Road for the passage of the artillery* – and [illegible word] afsaid order he was so employed with many others.                     [signed] Charles B Attwell

*See Spencer Monroe’s [S8900] Declaration     }       [illegible word] on same was allowed as military duty –

 and Jessee Daily [W6980] d[itt]o                        }       they rec’d Pensions for 8 mo’s & 6 mo’s. 3 mo’s. of which

                                                                                                time was for working on same road.


NOTE: The colonel who appointed Atwell captain was probably James Wadsworth of the Connecticut Militia. It is extraordinary for a militiaman to have been appointed or discharged by an officer, especially one from another state. Commissions in the militia were generally recommended by officers of the county and granted by the governor. Commissioned officers were not discharged, but either resigned or held their rank until the end of the war. The Pension Office appears to have taken the same view and granted Atwell a pension only for six-months service as a captain.