previous next

[7] was his second in command.1 The force was necessary for the protection of the city while the British soldiers and partisans were embarking in the ships, and the former proprietors were resuming possession of their homes.2

The command of the detachment, during the evacuation and for some time afterwards, devolved largely upon Major Sumner. General Washington, Dec. 4, 1783, immediately after taking leave of his officers at Fraunces' Tavern, passed through this battalion of light infantry, and received from it the last military salute of the Revolutionary army.

One regiment, formed from the disbanded army, was continued in service at West Point a few months after the discharge of the rest. In this regiment, Colonel Henry Jackson was first in rank, Lieutenant-Colonel William Hull the second, Major Caleb Gibbs the third, and Major Sumner the fourth. On July 1, 1784, his military career finally closed.

Major Sumner was about five feet and ten inches in height, rather stout in person, and walked rapidly, bending forward and seemingly intent on some errand. He was quick in observation, frank in his intercourse with men, and liable to be deceived. He adapted himself readily to society of various kinds, and was widely acquainted with persons of every grade in the army. He was fond of a soldier's life, and never repined at its hardships. He had an ear and voice for music, and delighted in hunting-songs and marches rather than in psalmody. ‘He enjoyed books,’ we are told, ‘such as military dictionaries, State constitutions, Shakspeare, “ Don Quixote,” and Smith's “ Wealth of Nations.” ’ One or more of these were the companions of his travels, and all of them he owned. Two relics of his handwriting remain,— copies of lines of poetry, one from Home's ‘Douglass,’ and the other, Othello's apology.

In the autumn of 1785, he was appointed by Congress a commissioner for settling the accounts between the Confederation and the State of Georgia. He remained in that State until his

1 General Hull, in a letter to Charles Pinckney Sumner, dated March 12, 1825, says: ‘Your father was my particular friend, and we served together in those memorable scenes which never will be forgotten. At the close of the war he was my second in command, in a corps of light infantry, whose fortune it was to escort General Washington into New York, take possession of that city, at the time it was evacuated by the British army, and pay the last salutations to our beloved general when he took his final farewell of that army which had followed his fortunes through the trials and dangers of the Revolutionary contest.’

2 Sir Guy Carleton had reported to Washington the suspicion of a plot to plunder the city.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
West Point (Georgia, United States) (1)
Home (Oregon, United States) (1)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 12th, 1825 AD (1)
1785 AD (1)
July 1st, 1784 AD (1)
December 4th, 1783 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: