Friday, November 30, 2007

Gen. Benjamin Lincoln (1733-1810)

Benjamin Lincoln was born on January 24, 1733, in Hingham, Massachusetts. He would grow to follow his father's footsteps into local political office. At 21, Lincoln became town constable and in 1755, Lincoln entered the 3rd Regiment of the Suffolk militia as an adjutant. In 1757, he was elected town clerk of Hingham, then Justice of the Peace in 1762. In 1772, Lincoln was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Regiment of the Suffolk militia. Being in the Suffolk militia allowed Lincoln to gain military experience which he used in three major battles of the American Revolution. In 1776, he was promoted to brigadier general, then major general, then commander of all Massachusetts troops in the Boston area. After the British evacuation of Boston, Lincoln joined General George Washington at New York, commanding the right wing at the Battle of White Plains. Shortly after seeing action at Fort Independence, he was commissioned into the Continental Army as a major general.
In September of 1777, Lincoln joined Horatio Gates' camp to take part in the Battles of Saratoga. Lincoln's role in the Second Battle of Saratoga was cut short after a musket ball shattered his ankle.
After recovering from this severe wound, Lincoln was appointed Southern Department Commander in September 1778. He participated in the defense of Savannah, Georgia on October 9, 1779 and was forced to retreat to Charleston, South Carolina, where they were subsequently surrounded, then forced to surrender to Lieutenant General Henry Clinton on May 12, 1780. This was one of the worst Continental defeats of the war. Lincoln was denied the honors of war in surrendering, which deeply rankled. He was exchanged as a prisoner of war, paroled, and, in the court of inquiry, no charges were ever brought against him. After the exchange, Lincoln returned to Washington's main army, even leading it south to Virginia and playing a major role in the Yorktown surrender in October 1781. General Lord Cornwallis was so humiliated by his defeat at the hands of the "Colonials" that he refused to personally surrender his sword to General George Washington, sending his second-in-command, General Charles O'Hara, in his stead. In response, General Washington sent his subordinate, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, to accept Cornwallis's sword after the defeat at Yorktown.

(from: Wikipedia,