Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants: Awarded by State Governments, (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1996.)
Borick, Carl P. Relieve Us of This Burthen: American Prisoners of War in the Revolutionary South, 1780-1782, (Columbia, SC: The University of South Carolina Press, 2012.)
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army: During the War of the Revolution, April, 1775 to December, 1783, (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973.)
Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, (Kent, OH: The Kent State University Press, 1999.)
McGee, -------. "M804-958 Farrow-Faughey Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files", (rootsweb.ancestry.com, no date given.)
n. a. "Valley Forge Legacy: The Muster Roll Project", entry for "2nd North Carolina Regiment", (valleyforgemusterroll.org, last updated - 02/03/2017.)
Neimann, Barbara and Edward. "Message Boards: Fossett Family, Monroe Co. IN", (boards.ancestry.com, posted January 27, 2009.)
North Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution. Roster of Soldiers from North Carolina in the American Revolution: With an Appendix Containing a Collection of Miscellaneous Records, (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1984.)
Rankin, Hugh F. The North Carolina Continentals, (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1971.)
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Exchange and Provost", (wikipedia.org, last modified - February 3, 2017.)
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Siege of Charleston", (wikipedia.org, last modified - March 18, 2017.)
Pension Application - "Pension Application of Robert Faucett (Fossett, Fassett, Forsett) S41528"
Pension Application - "Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390"
Robert Faucett has appeared in previous posts within this overall blog several times, though never as the sole subject of an entire post. The previous posts in which Robert Faucett has appeared are as follows:
"A Brief Mention of Service on board the South Carolina - Robert Faucett of North Carolina", post dated "11/20/2014".
"'Additional Information on Personnel on board the Frigate South Carolina' - Isaac Dade of Massachusetts and Robert Faucett of North Carolina", post dated "03/30/2015".
"'Additional Information on Personnel on board the Frigate South Carolina - Isaac Dade of Massachusetts and Robert Faucett of North Carolina' - Reprisal", post dated "05/18/2015".
"Crew & Marines of the Frigate 'South Carolina' Who Had Their Pensions Restored to Them in Later Years: Isaac Dade of Massachusetts, Robert Faucett of North Carolina, Michael Spatz of Pennsylvania -", post dated "06/15/2015".
Upon inspection of the posts' dates, the readership of this blog can see that nothing has been written on Robert Faucett in almost two years. As well, one can see that everything contributed on Robert Faucett was entered between "11/20/2014" and "06/15/2015", roughly a seven month period of time. No more information has been contributed since then. Additional information has surfaced regarding this individual and will be presented in this post. A theme that has run through out the past few posts has been the previous military experience of crew members and marines on board the frigate South Carolina. That theme will be continued in this post as well as any other additional information also being presented.
Most of what we know concerning Robert Faucett is found in his pension application, "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528". But, it is also the point at which the questions concerning Robert Faucett begin. The title of the pension application appears as "Pension Application of Robert Faucett (Fossett, Fassett, Forsett) S41528". The three names appearing in parenthesizes after the initial cited last name are variants of his official given last name. But, the writer of this blog has also run across the associated last names of Farset, Fasitt and Foset as variants of the correct form of Robert's last name. There is quite a bit of discrepancy involved here in the numerous spellings of Robert's official last name but, the writer of this blog will go with the spelling "Faucett" as his "official" last name until proven otherwise. This is simply a tool of convenience that will be utilized until proven false.
(Note: Even in his pension application and its supporting statements, Robert Faucett's last name appears as "Faucett" according to John Giles, Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Rowan County, NC; "Forsett" according to William Hill, Secretary of State for the State of North Carolina; "Fossett" according to John Ingles, a former commanding officer under whom Robert Faucett served during the American Revolution.)
As stated in the paragraph above the "Note", most of what we know of Robert Faucett is contained in his pension application. This pension application was filed in the "...State of North Carolina Rowan County..." in Salisbury, NC "...on the third Monday in August A.D. 1818...". Robert Faucett did indeed appear in court on that day "...aged Sixty Six years saving one day, resident in Rowan County and State aforesaid...". His pension application was, of course, an attempt to secure for himself a pension granted by the United States of America to veterans "...engaged in the land and naval services of the United States in the Revolutionary War;...". Technically, the services provided by Robert Faucett were in both the land and naval services during the American Revolution. Yet, Robert Faucett would expound on his land service and almost appear to downplay his naval service. As the readership will hopefully see, there may be a good reason for this position taken by Robert Faucett and it may well have been very conscious on his part. His services, both land and naval, are cited in his pension application, "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528", and are as follows:
"That the said Robert Faucett enlisted in the Town of Tarborough [Tarboro] in the State aforesaid in the company commanded by Captain Irwine Toole [Henry Irwin Toole] for the term of six months the enlistment was made in 1775 that at the expiration of said term he enlisted at Edenton in the State aforesaid and the company commanded by Captain James Gee in the Continental service for two years and six months, and that this enlistment was made in 1776. That after the death of Captain Gee he served in the said Company under the command of Captain John Inglish [sic, John Inglas or John Ingles] -- and that said Robert Faucett not having a certificate of his enlistment was continued as a soldier for and during the War: -- that he continued to serve in said Corps in the service of the United States until 1780 when he was made a prisoner at Charleston [May 12, 1780] and the State of South Carolina by the forces and [of] British General Clinton [Henry Clinton]: That a short time after the capture of Charleston he the said Robert Faucett made his escape from his confinement. That he afterwards served on board the Frigate South Carolina, under the command of, Commodore Gillen [Alexander Gillon], and that he afterwards was discharged from the service at the City of Philadelphia. That he was in the battle of the Great Bridge Virginia [December 9, 1775, at Charleston], Brandywine [September 11, 1777], Germantown [October 4, 1777], and would have been at the battle of Monmouth [June 28, 1778] had he not been detached with others to Lancaster a short time before that engagement:...".
All of the officers referred to above in this specific paragraph of the pension application of Robert Faucett are cited in Heitman's work, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army: During the War of the Revolution, April, 1775 to December, 1783. The page numbers after each citation below are the pages in the above referred to work on which these men's citations appear. These men are cited in the order that Robert Faucett refers to them in his pension application and their entries are as follows:
Henry Irwin Toole - (North Carolina) - Captain in the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot, September 1, 1775. He resigned in April, 1776. (page 545)
James Gee - (North Carolina) - First Lieutenant in the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot, September 1, 1775. He was promoted to Captain on May 3, 1776. He died on November 12, 1777. (page 245)
John Inglas - (North Carolina) - First Lieutenant in the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot, May 3, 1776. He was promoted to Captain on October 24, 1777. He was captured at Charleston, SC on May 12, 1780. He was exchanged June 1781 and served until the close of the war. He was promoted to Brevet Major on September 30, 1783. (page 313)
(Note: As regards John Inglas, further on in the pension application of Robert Faucett, there appears a supporting affidavit from this individual who signed his name as "John Ingles". He confirms that "...Robert Fossett was a soldier in my Company, the Second Battalion of North Carolina, from 1776 until March 1780...". The date and location of this supporting affidavit is registered as being "Raleigh [NC] December 20, 1804".)
(Note: Further on in the pension application of Robert Faucett, the name "Alexander Martin" appears as being the commanding officer of the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot. The following citation for this individual is given in Heitman's work on page 381. It is as follows:
Alexander Martin - (North Carolina) - Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot, September 1, 1775. He was promoted to Colonel on May 7, 1776. He resigned on November 22, 1777 and died on November 12, 1807.
This entry in the "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528" was made by John Giles, Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions on Rowan County "...on the third Monday of August A.D. 1819..." which was August 16, 1819.)
Returning to the subject of the information that has been recorded concerning Robert Faucett, the readers of this blog will immediately note the paucity of clear, sound information. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", page 147, the following information regarding Robert Faucett has been recorded and is cited below:
Robert Faucett ----------
Thus, he is recorded in the ship's log as having served on board the frigate South Carolina but, his "position" on board the frigate seems to have been in question. More than likely, he was a common sailor with little or no experience in matters regarding the sea and ships-of-war. A reference back to the initial paragraph of the "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528" cited above, the totality of Robert Faucett's military experience had been in the land services of the United States of America. He enlisted "...in the company commanded by Captain Irwine Toole [Henry Irwin Toole] for the term of six months the enlistment was made in 1775...". This was his first military enlistment and it seems to have been followed by an unbroken period of service until his capture at Charleston, SC on May 12, 1780. As indicated in the evidence cited above in his pension application and the extra information concerning his sequential commanding officers, all of Robert Faucett's military experience was as a private soldier in the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot, a regular Army unit under the direct control of the Continental Congress.
According to the North Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution's work, Roster of Soldiers from North Carolina in the American Revolution, there are three references to Robert Faucett as having served. The first of these references appears in a section of the same work, page 193, under a section entitled "North Carolina Revolutionary Army Accounts". The entry simply states "Robert Fossett, Soldier". The second reference appears under the heading of "Vouchers" with the added instructions of "...the list of names taken from these vouchers follows, with their number and what district...". The entry of interest in the case of Robert Faucett appears on page 380, and reads as follows:
Continental Robert Fosett 1189 Halifax District
Translated into textual form this information indicates that Robert Faucett of Halifax District received Voucher No. 1189 for service as a Continental soldier during the American Revolution.
The third and final reference to Robert Faucett in this same work is found on page 608 and yields possibly the most concrete information connecting him to service in the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot. The source is referred to as "Clark's State Records". This specific section is entitled "Roll of Capt. John Ingles' Company, 2nd N.C. Battalion, commanded by Col. John Patton, Sept. 9, 1778." The names of the individual soldiers are numbered and "Robert Fosett" appears on this roster as Number 37. The information recorded here states that Robert Fosett enlisted in Captain Ingles's Company on November 20, 1777 for a period of three years. Located at the bottom of this roster of men is the brief entry of "John Ingles, Captain" and "Arthur Cotgraves, Lieutenant".
(Note: Even here, in the official rosters and muster rolls of the patriot forces of North Carolina, Robert Faucett's last name is spelled in two different manners - "Fossett" and "Fosett".)
(Note: The next page in this roster is the "Roll of Fenner's Company". It contains the identical information of the "...2nd Battalion, commanded by Col. John Patton..." and the same date of "...9 Sept., 1778...". But, it also contains the entry "Camp White Plains" which is located in New York state. This is almost conclusive evidence that Robert Faucett's company of the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot was also located at Camp White Plains, NY on this same date.)
The evidence for Robert Faucett being never promoted beyond the rank of private soldier is further confirmed by an entry in Bockstruck's work, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants, page 185. The entry for "Robert Fossett" indicates that Robert Fossett received a land grant from the state of North Carolina for 274 acres on January 2, 1784 for service as a private during the American Revolution.
Even though Rankins' work, The North Carolina Continentals does not mention Robert Faucett specifically by name, it does refer to the overall behavior of the North Carolina Continental troops in the battles mentioned by Robert Faucett in his pension application. At the first battle referred to in Robert Faucett's pension application, the Battle of Great Bridge [December 9, 1775], the work states on page 24, that "...the North Carolinians.... 'who were in the action...did honor to their country'.". But, Rankin's work, also on page 24, mentions that the only North Carolinians who actually arrived in time to participate in the Battle of Great Bridge, VA were "...the 150 volunteer militia men from Halifax District under Nicholas Long...". This individual officer is not referred to in Robert Faucett's pension application, so there does exist the possibility that Robert Faucett may not have actually fought in this battle but, only served in some type of supporting capacity.
The second battle referenced in Robert Faucett's pension application is simply referred to as "...at Charleston...". This can only be a reference to the first British assault on Charleston, SC [June 28-29, 1776] which ended in the repulse of British forces with heavy losses and a subsequent British retreat from Charleston, SC. According to Rankin's work, page 75, General Charles Lee would later praise the North Carolina troops engaged in the battle as being "'...equally alert, zealous and spirited...'.". Also, according to Rankin's work, page 75, General Lee would later report to Washington himself that "...the North Carolina Line was made up of 'admirable soldiers'.". General Lee actually extended credit to the North Carolinians, along with some South Carolinian troops, for repulsing General Henry Clinton's attack on the defenses of the city.
The next two battles referred to by Robert Faucett in his pension application were both resounding American defeats - the Battle of Brandywine [September 11, 1777] and the Battle of Germantown [October 4, 1777]. According to Rankin's work, The North Carolina Continentals, page 105, at the Battle of Brandywine, the:
"...North Carolina Brigade did not get into action that hot, dusty afternoon. It had been held in reserve, but had been near enough to the action to see the haze of battle and be stung by the pungent odor of burnt powder. Upon one occasion the men were within fifty yards of the enemy and were prepared to meet them with the bayonet when the British were driven back. That night they fell back to Chester, the designated rendezvous...".
Rankin's work clearly states that the North Carolina Brigade, of which Robert Faucett was most certainly a member, did not get into action that day. But, the North Carolina troops were physically present on the field of action, braced themselves for immediate, close-quarters action with the easily observable enemy, and fell back in good order when commanded to do so. Yet, Robert Faucett also clearly states in his pension application that he was at the Battle of Brandywine. He may well have viewed himself as being "in" the hard-fought action if the enemy was stopped only fifty yards from the position of the North Carolina troops, who were preparing to resist the British with the bayonet - the ultimate hand-to-hand weapon of the 18th century.
According to Rankin's work, pages 111-116, the Battle of Germantown was as confused as the earlier Battle of Brandywine. The American advance against the British lines until a portion of the British forces fortified themselves, according to Rankin's work, page 113, ".... in Cliveden, the massive stone house of Pennsylvania Chief Justice Benjamin Chew and locally known as the Chew House.". As the battle developed, a small number of British troops, about 120, took refuge in the Chew House and stubbornly resisted all patriot attempts to dislodge them. This created some degree of confusion as the sounds of battle in their rear continued to reach the ears of Continental troops as they advanced further forward. Also, due to the heat and humidity of the day, the spent gunpowder smoke hung in the air and created a type of fog which enveloped sections of the battlefield. In the thick smoke, patriot units would encounter one another and fire on each other, having mistaken the other for the enemy. A general retreat ensued, with the bulk of the patriot forces withdrawing from the field of battle in confusion. According to Rankin's work, The North Carolina Continentals, pages 114-115:
"The North Carolina Line did not flee with the rest, although panic may well have set in when Francis Nash [the overall commander of the North Carolina Line] was wounded. Although it has often been stated that the North Carolinians were not actually engaged with the enemy that October day, they did their share 'and some pushed bayonets'. During the battle they were nearly all engaged in combat and according to reports, 'behaved well' and 'with great resolution'. It has been claimed that Nash's men were in actual possession of sixteen pieces of enemy artillery when, after the clash in the fog and the beginning of the retreat, a volley from the left raked his line...after the flight of the Pennsylvania militia exposed the American right flank, Nash moved his North Carolina brigade into place and began a stubborn resistance as he slowly fell back. He was forced to abandon the captured cannon and increase the rate of his withdrawal to prevent the encirclement and isolation of his brigade. He was sitting astride his horse directing his men when a cannon ball smashed into his left thigh, mangling his body in horrible fashion and killing his mount. A musket ball grazed his head, blinding him. Although Nash was not instantly killed, it was almost immediately evident that his days were numbered. His men hurriedly made a litter of brush and poles and tenderly carried him from the field. Thomas Polk, who was himself wounded shortly afterwards, said that as Nash was carried from the field he reached out his right hand and whispered 'Farewell.' When Thomas Paine saw him some distance from the field, he said he was unable to recognize General Nash."
Thus, even in the smoke and confusion of two American battlefield losses, the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot seems to have admirably acquitted itself and even gained the high approbations of ranking officers in command of these same troops at those patriot defeats. Even though, Robert Faucett is not mentioned by name anywhere in Rankin's accounts, one can assume that the was involved in these actions and possibly got into combat. It is quite rare for an enlisted man to be mentioned in an official report or record and thus we today risk losing sight of the ancestors of the past. Robert Faucett claims to have been engaged at the battles referred to above and there does not exist any doubt that he was at these engagements.
(Note: A rather interesting event occurs at this point in the story of Robert Faucett or does not occur, as the matter may be. In his pension application, "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528", Robert Faucett refers to several important engagements in which he participated. But, if one examines the time frame of his service in the North Carolina Continentals, it shows him as being on active duty during the winter of the Valley Forge encampment. An examination of the website, "Valley Forge Legacy: The Muster Roll Project" reveals that the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot was a part of the North Carolina Brigade which, in turn, was a part of Lafayette's Division. "Colonel John Patton" is cited as the commander of the regiment as well as "Captain John Ingles" as being one of the company commanders. The name of "Captain John Ingles" is mentioned in Robert Faucett's pension application. But, Robert Faucett's name does not appear on this website as a member of the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot at the Valley Forge encampment. The reason for this remains a mystery to the writer of this blog unless he was detached from the regiment for some other kind of duty. The average American regiment of foot during the American Revolution was comprised of ten companies of infantry. A company would have been under command of a captain, unless there were extenuating circumstances under which a lieutenant would have commanded the company. According to the website, "Valley Forge Legacy: The Muster Roll Project", there were ten captains of the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot present at the Valley Forge encampment. They are all cited under the heading "Company Commanders". The only possible evidence as to the whereabouts of Robert Faucett during the Valley Forge encampment might be in his pension application. According to "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528", page 2, Robert Faucett cited all the engagements in which he had fought. At the end of the list of battles, he stated that he "...would have been at the battle of Monmouth [June 28, 1778] had he not been detached with others to Lancaster a short time before that engagement.". When Washington and his troops left the Valley Forge encampment, they were in pursuit of the British as they were withdrawing from Philadelphia towards New York City. The Battle of Monmouth Court House was fought on the date specified in the passage above, soon after Washington went in pursuit of the withdrawing British troops. The passage above from the pension application of Robert Faucett seems to indicate that he had been detached "...with others..." to Lancaster, PA a short time before the actual engagement at Monmouth Court House, NJ. This would seem to indicate that Robert Faucett was indeed at the Valley Forge encampment with the rest of his regiment through out the winter of 1777-1778.
According to Rankin's work, The North Carolina Continentals, page 140, the men of the North Carolina Brigade were "...according to Washington...more sickly, for want of provisions and clothing, than any other unit at Valley Forge.". The same passage, page 140, goes on to say that, "...the North Carolina units were by this time so depleted that Washington ordered McIntosh to combine all nine regiments into the First, Second, and Third regiments, while the supernumerary officers were to return to North Carolina to recruit enough men to reactivate their units.". According to the "Valley Forge Legacy: The Muster Roll Project" when the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot left Valley Forge, 659 men were in the ranks of the regiment but, only 309 were actually fit for duty.)
After the Battle of Monmouth Court House in the sweltering heat of the summer of 1778, the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot, along with the rest of the North Carolina Brigade, moved into the Hudson Highlands of New York state, north of New York City. The regiment spent the winter of 1778-1779 in the Hudson Highlands until they went into winter quarters in the vicinity of West Point. According to Rankin's work, The North Carolina Continentals, pages 172-173, on the night of July 15-16, 1779, selected elements of the North Carolina Brigade participated in the desperate assault on Stony Point, NY which was a great victory for the patriots arms. In his pension application, Robert Faucett does not mention the midnight assault on the British fortification at Stony Point in his citation of the battles in which he participated. Thus, one must assume that he was not one of the soldiers selected for the assault and therefore did not take part in the battle.
After the stunning victory at Stony Point, the North Carolina Brigade was directed southwards towards Charleston, SC and the command of General Benjamin Lincoln. According to Rankin's work, The North Carolina Continentals, page 218, the North Carolina Brigade had reached the environs of Wilmington, NC by mid-February 1780. According to this same work, page 219, they pushed further south and "...during the evening of March 3  they paraded into Charleston, an occasion that gave 'great spirits to the Town and confidence to the Army'.". But, the British were already on the move towards the same Southern city. According to the Wikipedia article, "Siege of Charleston", page 2, the following account is provided:
"After repulsing an assault on Savannah [GA] by a combined Franco-American force in October 1779, the British planned to capture Charleston, South Carolina, intending to use the city as a base for further operations in the southern colonies.
Sir Henry Clinton evacuated Newport, Rhode Island on October 25, 1779, and left the substantial garrison of New York City under the command of Wilhelm von Knyphausen. In December , he sailed southward with 8,500 troops to join Colonel Mark Prevost at Savannah. Charles Cornwallis accompanied him, and, later, Lord Rawdon rendezvoused with Clinton with an additional force, increasing the size of the expedition to 14 warships, 90 transports and some 16,000 troops.".
Continuing in the same source, page 5:
"Clinton marched upon Charleston via James Island. Cutting the city off from relief, he began a siege of the city on April 1 . The following day [April 2, 1780], the British begun the dig their siege works, approximately 800 yards from the American lines.".
For almost six weeks the British forces under General Clinton tightened their death grip on the city as their siege works edged closer and closer. According to the Wikipedia article, entry for "Siege of Charleston", page 6:
"...on May 11, the British fired red-hot shot into the city, burning several homes, compelling [General Benjamin] Lincoln to call for a parlay to negotiate terms for surrender. On May 12,  Lincoln, with over 5,000 troops, surrendered to the British.".
According to Rankin's work, The North Carolina Continentals, page 231-232:
"...at eleven in the morning of May 12, 1780, marching out with colors cased and their drums mournfully beating out the 'Turk's March', the North Carolina Continentals participated in the greatest American surrender of the war. One Britisher's description of the surrender ran: 'Lincoln limped out at the head of the most ragged rabble I ever behold.' Another officer registered a somewhat different impression in his diary: 'They are as ragged dirty looking set of People as usual, but, more appearance of discipline than we have seen formerly & some of their Officers decent looking men.'
Again, according to Rankin's work, page 232: "...over 5,466 Continental soldiers, militia, and armed citizens participated in the surrender.". Rankin's work, The North Carolina Continentals, page 232, then cites that 814 North Carolina Continentals were among the captured personnel of which "...301 of Patton's Second..." is included. Among those 301 members of Colonel John Patton's 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot who marched out to the surrender was private soldier Robert Faucett of Captain John Ingle's Company.
The American prisoners-of-war were the largest single capture of patriot forces during the American Revolution and all had to be assigned to various places of incarceration. According to the Wikipedia article, entry for "Siege of Charleston", page 6, states that "...the prisoners of the siege were diverted to multiple locations, including prison shops [ships?], the old barracks where the College of Charleston is today, and the Old Exchange and Provost 'Dungeon'.". According to the Wikipedia article, entry for "Exchange and Provost", page 1:
"...the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon [is] also known as the Custom House, and The Exchange... Built in 1767-1771, it has served a variety of civic institutional functions, including notably as a prisoner of war facility operated by British forces during the American Revolutionary War.".
Further on in the same article, also on page 1, it states that:
"...soon after taking control of Charleston in 1780, the British started housing prisoners in the Exchange, but not exclusively in the 'dungeon'.". The investigation [carried out by The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon Museum] was able to document at least 120 prisoners held in the Exchange , but there were many more whose identities could not be discovered. The facility was not exclusively used for Colonial prisoners, and at least some British soldiers were held there too.".
According to the "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528", Robert Faucett states that "...in a short time after the capture of Charleston he the said Robert Faucett made his escape from his confinement.".
This is literally all that Robert Faucett documented concerning his escape from British custody in the captured city of Charleston, SC in the early summer of 1780. According to the Wikipedia article cited immediately above, page 6, the American prisoners-of-war were "...diverted to multiple locations..." both on land to various different buildings in Charleston, SC and offshore to British prison ships, also known as "prison hulks". This was the single largest number of American troops captured during the entirety of the American Revolution with thousands going into British captivity on May 12, 1780. We can assume from the statement made by Robert Faucett that he was indeed incarcerated along with other prisoners-of-war due to his statement of having escaped "...from his confinement...". But, where exactly he was incarcerated may well elude researchers as it has eluded the writer of this blog. From his statement, Robert Faucett seems to have escaped soon after his capture. It may be that as the British were dealing with an overwhelming number of American prisoners-of-war to get registered and assigned to various prison facilities, that Robert Faucett may have seen an opportunity present itself simply slipped away from his captors at an opportune moment. Probably he was incarcerated in a land-based building and ran from there but, there does exist the possibility that he was on board one of the prison ships and slipped overboard and swam away. We may never know the exact details of Robert Faucett's escape, only that he did indeed escape from Charleston SC, probably in mid-late May 1780, and make his way to freedom.
(Note: The writer of this blog has just acquired the work by Carl P. Borick entitled Relieve Us of This Burthen: American Prisoners of War in the Revolutionary South, 1780-1782. As the title indicates, this work primarily addresses the situation of American prisoners of war after the capture of Charleston, SC on May 12, 1780. This excellent work expounds on the confused and chaotic conditions that existed immediately after the fall of Charleston, SC and how the captured Continentals, in particular, made the most of this situation in order to effect their escape from the British. In the course of the first chapter of the work, Borick illustrates several escape methods that were utilized by the Continentals intent on escaping their captors. Upon inspection of the brief description of his actual escape from British-held Charleston, SC, Robert Faucett does not expressly spell out how he came to actually flee his captors and escape. One is lead to the conclusion that his escape must not have been very memorable for him to have said so little concerning it. This may be due to the nature of his effecting his escape from occupied Charleston, SC. According to Borick's work, Relieve Us of This Burthen, page 8, provides the following narrative:
"Abundant American accounts demonstrate that escape was relatively easy at first, and prisoners used a variety of means to accomplish it. The Article of Capitulation allowed for militia to leave Charleston as prisoners on parole. By giving his parole, a captured soldier was not confined, but he gave his word that he would not serve again until exchanged. Some Continentals simply walked off with groups of militia as they departed for home. Taken at Fort Moultrie on May 7, James Dobbins of the First South Carolina Regiment later related that, when the militiamen were paroled, he 'escaped disguised as a militia man.' Similarly, Virginia Continental Thomas Aslin claimed that 'when the N[orth] Carolina Malitia were released on parol[e], he passed himself as one of them, and came out...with them, and thus obtained his release. Most of the militia left Charleston by May 20, and a South Carolina Continental with the unusual name of Night Knight apparently stole away with one of the last groups. He asserted that 'in about Eight days [after the surrender] He Run away from...the British.' Nicholas Prince 'effected his escape from the enemy ' thirteen days after the surrender.'"
The details of the escapes of these four men are all documented in their pension applications, the full text and numerical designations of which follow:
Pension Application of Thomas Aslin (Asselin) S39152
Pension Application of James Dobbins W25534
Pension Application of Night Knight S31194
Pension Application of Nicholas Prince W8289
It would make sense that these four men all saw their chance to free themselves from British captivity, and the uncertainty thereof, and took that chance. Only the first two Continentals cited, Thomas Aslin and James Dobbins, specifically stated that they escaped after having disguised themselves as departing militia men. The third Continental, Night Knight, simply stated that he "...on about eight days He ran away from them (the British) and went home...". The fourth and final Continental, Nicholas Prince, stated even less detail saying that "...he continued a prisoner 13 days and then effected his escape from the enemy.".
We may never know for certain exactly how Robert Faucett effected his escape from the British forces that captured Charleston, SC on May 12, 1780. But, since he stated that he only remained in British captivity "...a short time after the capture of Charleston...", one must assume that he escaped within days of the fall of the city to the British forces under Sir Henry Clinton. He possibly was presented with an unusual circumstance to effect his escape. But, barring this, it is quite conceivable that Robert Faucett simply acted as others around him, in those confused and chaotic days after the fall of Charleston, SC, and disguised himself as a paroled militia man and slipped out of Charleston, SC to make the journey home to North Carolina. All the reader of this blog can be certain of is that he did indeed effect his escape from the British and regain American lines unharmed. His pension application stated nothing to the contrary.)
What follows next is the account of Robert Faucett's service on board the frigate South Carolina. To say that this account is brief and succinct is almost an overstatement. The account is found in the "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528" and is as follows:
"That he afterwards served on board the Frigate South Carolina, under the command of, Commodore Gillen [Alexander Gillon], and that he afterwards was discharged from the service at the City of Philadelphia.".
This is the totality of his cited service on board the patriot frigate South Carolina. It is brief and succinct in the extreme, which may, in and of itself, indicate a crucial issue - that all of Robert Faucett's service on board the patriot frigate was completed while the ship lay in the harbor of Philadelphia, PA and that he never actually sailed on board the frigate for the second, brief voyage. Robert Faucett never mentions being captured on board the frigate on December 21, 1782. All of the pension applications of individual officers, crew members and marines who were actually captured that fateful day in December 1782 refer to the capture of the frigate and their subsequent incarceration in New York City, either on board the numerous prison "hulks" moored in Wallabout Bay, NY or on Long Island, NY. Robert Faucett mentions none of that at all. Also, in addition to the statement made in his pension application, Robert Faucett's name does not appear on any of the three captive's rosters of the three British men-of-war - HMS Diomede, HMS Quebec, and HMS Astraea - as having been carried by that specific man-of-war into New York City harbor after the capture of the frigate South Carolina by these elements of the Royal Navy. These individual rosters are all individually cited in posts respectively dated "03/24/2015", "03/25/2015", and "03/26/2015" in this overall blog. Robert Faucett's statement also refers to being "...discharged from the service at the City of Philadelphia...". The frigate South Carolina was only once (summer - early winter 1782) in the harbor of the "City of Brotherly Love" (Philadelphia, PA) and never returned there after she departed due to her capture being effected within a few days of having left the harbor. Thus, from the statement above, the reader can assume that Robert Faucett never served on board the frigate for her final voyage and subsequent capture and was thus never captured by the British navy in late 1782. This same conclusion was clearly stated in the post entitled "'Additional Information on Personnel on board the Frigate South Carolina' - Isaac Dade of Massachusetts and Robert Faucett of North Carolina" and dated "03/30/2015".
At issue here is the means by which Robert Faucett came to be on board the frigate South Carolina. Faucett was from North Carolina, ostensibly from "...the Town of Tarborough [Tarboro] in the State aforesaid..." or, at least, this was the locale where he first enlisted. Following his escape from incarceration in Charleston, SC, he would have most likely attempted to get back to North Carolina or some other region under patriot control. It would seem unlikely that he would have journeyed to Philadelphia, PA, so much further north than North Carolina. But, there exists a possible means by which he could have arrived at the dock where the frigate South Carolina was moored in Philadelphia, PA. According to the pension application of John Mayrant, "Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390", page 2, Mayrant made reference to the frigate having arrived in Philadelphia, PA and added:
"That at this time it was expected daily that Charleston [SC] would be evacuated by the British, and Commodore Gillon sent [this] deponent and Capt. Kalteisen [Michael Kalteissen] to Philadelphia supplied with money to buy a carriage & horses and proceed to Charleston, and it evacuated [December 14, 1782], to open a rendezvous for marines and seamen of whom he wanted about 100. That they reached Charleston soon after the evacuation. That shortly after their arrival they learnt that the Frigate South Carolina in attempting to get to sea had been captured by three British frigates. And the deponent states that his commission and papers and all that he owned were taken in her, and lost to him forever. That the deponent was then ordered by Commodore Gillon to remain in Charleston, and by his direction and that of Governor Guerard [Benjamin Guerard, Governor February 4, 1783 - February 11, 1785]to receive prisoners, make exchanges &c. That he continued there under the orders of Commodore Gillon untill the peace in 1783, where by an act of the Legislature of South Carolina the naval forces were discharged.".
Parenthetically stated in the above quotation, John Mayrant and Michael Kalteissen reached Charleston, SC shortly after the evacuation of this southern city by the British forces on December 14, 1782. The frigate South Carolina was captured less than a week later on December 21, 1782. Robert Faucett's pension application states "...that he afterwards was discharged from the service at the City of Philadelphia.". This last statement from the pension application of Robert Faucett seems to indicate that he was released from the service of the frigate South Carolina prior to her sailing out of the harbor of Philadelphia, PA about December 19, 1782. This would have been approximately the time that John Mayrant and Michael Kalteissen arrived in the city of Charleston, SC. Thus, it is impossible for these two emissaries from Commodore Gillon to have recruited Robert Faucett in Charleston, SC after reaching Charleston, SC due to the short time span between their arrival in Charleston, SC and the capture of the frigate South Carolina. Yet, according to the pension application of John Mayrant cited two paragraphs above, the "deponent" and Michael Kalteissen were instructed to go to Philadelphia and there to purchase "...a carriage & horse and proceed to Charleston...". These two men would have passed through North Carolina and could easily have been recruiting along the road towards Charleston, SC. They could have encountered Robert Faucett in North Carolina or somewhere else along the route and recruited him to sign on board the frigate South Carolina. As they would have met with success in recruiting men to serve on board the frigate South Carolina, they would have sent these men north to Philadelphia, PA to actually begin their service on board the American ship-of-war. Robert Faucett may have been caught up in their recruiting efforts. He would have then journeyed to Philadelphia, PA by whatever means he could procure and served out his time on board the patriot frigate. But, the stark reality of this hypothesis is that we may never truly know how Robert Faucett came to stand on the decks of the frigate South Carolina and to serve the Cause of independence on board the patriot ship.
As far as the writer of this blog is aware, the information concerning Robert Faucett after the conclusion of the American Revolution is sparse and seems to be rather disjointed in that it only provides a partial picture of Faucett's life after the cessation of hostilities. The following pieces of information are taken from the "Message Boards: Fossett Family, Monroe Co., IN" and were added by Barbara and Edward Neiman. According to their research, evidently on March 13, 1793 in Craven County, NC Robert Faucett married Lanah (or Sarah) Richardson. Seven years later, in the Census of 1800, the household of Robert Faucett is cited as containing one male over 45 years of age, one female 26-45 years of age, one female 10-15 years of age, and one male and one female both under 10 years of age. This census was taken in Greene County, NC. Robert's full name is cited as "Robert Faucet".
(Note: All of the ages of these children of Robert Faucett and Lanah (Sarah) Richardson Faucett fit into the time frame of their marriage in 1793 except the single female who is 10-15 years of age. It is completely feasible that this was an individual whose birth took place outside the bonds of marriage - an illegitimate child born prior to the actual marriage of Robert and Lanah (Sarah) Richardson and thus the oldest child in the family.)
The next census, the Census of 1810, in which the household of Robert Faucett appears took place in Rowan County, NC. This is the county of the state of North Carolina where Robert Faucett filed his pension application on "...the third Monday in August A. D. 1818...". In this census, Robert's full name is cited as "Robert Fossit" and the household is recorded as containing one male and one female, both over 45 years of age, one male and one female, both 10-15 years of age. This census is ten years beyond the last census and the older female child, the one who was 10-15 years of age in the previous census, is missing. This may be for one of two reasons - the child could have died between the two separate census's or, more than likely, she had married and was no longer a part of the Robert and Lanah (Sarah) Richardson Faucett household.
(Note: There appears a curious notation towards the conclusion of the information shared by Barbara and Edward Neiman. This regards the purchase of land in which a "Robert Fossett" is involved. The first notation is a statement that in 1816 a Robert Fossett bought one hundred acres of land along the Uwharrie River in Rowan County, NC from a Solomon Goodman. The second a final notation is that on a map of Davidson County, NC (formerly Rowan County, NC) dating from 1890 "...there is located [a] 'Fossett's Branch", a branch of the Uwharrie River. It is south of Thomasville on County Road 109...". This may possibly not be the same individual who has been the focus of this post. Yet, two years later, in August 1818, Robert Faucett would file a pension application, S41528, in which this line of text appears: "...that he is in reduced circumstances, and stands in need of the assistance of his Country for Support...". It is possible that this is indeed the same individual and that after the purchase of the one hundred acres of land along the Uwharrie River, Robert Faucett fell on hard times and petitioned the country for a pension. But, this does seem unusual for this type of personal calamity to occur so close together being the purchase of land in 1816 and the petitioning of Congress for a pension due to "...reduced circumstances..." in 1818. This may not be the same man at all.)
The last piece of information concerning Robert Faucett is contained in Bockstruck's work, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants, page 185. As states above, Robert Faucett did indeed receive a land grant from the state of North Carolina on January 2, 1784 for 274 acres of land. According to McGee's article, "M804-958 Farrow-Faughey Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications Files, page 3, entry 21, state that Robert Fassett or Faucett received a bounty land warrant designated as BLWt. 193-100 from North Carolina. This source records Robert Faucett's pension application number but, incorrectly transcribes it as "S41538" instead of the correct number of "S41528".
This is the sum total of information on the man, Robert Faucett of Captain John Ingles's Company of the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot. According to the "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528", the concluding statement of the pension application is succinct and direct in its meaning:
"Veteran was pensioned at the rate of $8 per month commencing August 17, 1818, for services as a private for 3 years in the North Carolina Continental line."
As stated above, Robert Faucett's service in the 2nd North Carolina Regiment of Foot was the combat service that won him the pension he requested from the government of the country he helped create. But, he received this well-deserved pension only based upon this stated service and not any services preformed on board the frigate South Carolina. This was most probably due to his having performed no combat duty on board the frigate South Carolina for the duration of his time on board the patriot ship-of-war. But, even though the "Pension Application of Robert Faucett S41528" contains no other references to the time that he did indeed spend on board the patriot ship-of-war, the brief citation of service on board the frigate South Carolina proves that he walked her decks and served there, too, for a time during the American Revolution.