This is a roll of who was or likely was in the battle on June 17, 1775. It is not exact, complete, or the last word. The early historians, Swett, Frothingham, Loring, et. al. agreed there is no basis to accurately compile an exact list. I completely agree with them.

I intend this roll as a 21st-century digital convenience. It is for those who wish to get a faster start on researching patriot ancestors, town histories, etc.

Beyond appearing in each of the state rolls, there were two criteria for including soldiers in this roll:

  1. There was a “positive” statement of their being in the battle. This included being a casualty, prisoner, losing items, or specifically listed on a roll as in the battle. There is a “Positives” column in the Company Summary tab reflecting the count of soldiers with a positive statement.
  2. The dates of service include June 17, 1775.  This is not positive proof, but proof of the potential to have taken the field. Typically, this was a roll taken between June 18 and August 2. These rolls gave enlistment dates in April, May, or June, and durations of service. There were a few rolls taken before the battle that established a term of service after accounting for those who marched served for the April 19, 1775 alarm.  Many men who marched on April 19 went home within a week and did not return to the siege.  It is also worth noting omissions to the state rolls. There were quite a few soldiers who served from late April or early May only until the end of July and were not part of the Continental Army. There are cases where the Aug 1st Massachusetts rolls were not taken or did not survive, and I would assert as many as 250 men were not included in the state rolls or this digital version of them. There were also dozens of soldiers who fought but were from other units that are not recognized as marching. These men were on details or among friends and chose to march with their companies and regiments. There were also men who marched, took the field, and then were sent on duties, or left, and went back to camp. Such men are included as they were on the field at a time when others were in physical and mortal danger. The Company Summary tab has two fields 1B and 1A that indicate Y or N for a roll before the battle (1B) or a roll with service dates after the battle (1A).

Last, on the company summary tab, there are fields for phases and zones. Phases represent the three British offensives during the battle. Zones represent areas of relative conflict. Zone 1 is the accepted main line of battle, including the range of a musket on either side of where that line moved. Zone 2 is the rest of the Charlestown Peninsula, which required an act of bravery in and of itself to march onto via the Charlestown Neck. Zone 3 is the area beyond the Charlestown Neck including Lechmere Point. General Ward sent units to guard against a second landing of the Regulars. Col. Paul Dudley Sargent noted unfavorable winds also prevented this landing. However, these troops took casualties from cannon and grapeshot from the floating gondolas and smaller ships that could make their way deeper into the Back Bay.

If you note some one is missing or wrongly included, please email me at duty_liberty@mail.com, or comment on this blog – I generally can respond within a day or two. Follow this post to be notified of updates, which are listed below.

-CEF

Updates:

3/15/2021: Added Captains Abraham Dodge and Ezra Lunt from Col. Moses Little’s regiment.

3/14/2021: Removed most men from Capt. Abel Wilder’s company of Col. Doolittle’s Regiment – only part of the company was there. Added Capt. John Harnden’s company of Col. Bridge’s regiment. Added several individuals found due to improving the quality of the Massachusetts rolls file. Removed three duplicated soldiers.

3/10/2021: Added several from Connecticut.

3/9/2021: Added Daniel Shay

2 thoughts on “Americans in the Battle of Breed’s Hill from the Rolls

  1. I’m a direct descendant of Ebenezer Frye from Pembroke, NH. He and Isaac are both direct descendants of Samuel Frye, second generation in America and son of the John Frye who came in 1638 and was one of the earliest settlers of Andover. I’ve just learned of your two books and have not read them yet, but will.

    Thanks so much for your work — and for posting your caveated and helpful list of those who were engaged in the Breed’s Hill Battle and the company summaries.

    The purpose of this note is to (1) let you know that I share your descent from a Frye NH officer in the American Rev. and (2) to ask if you know who now holds the Society of Cincinnati slot for Isaac Frye. My best info. so far is that no one ever took up Ebenezer’s slot in that organization.

    Probably I will have other comments and questions for you as I read your books and review my own research.

    Pleased to learn of you and your work.

    Like

    1. It is really nice to, at last, find one Ebenezer Frye’s descendants. He was another of those Continental officers who was “all in” for the war. I was in touch with the registrar for the New Hampshire Society a couple of years ago. There were already two members using Isaac Frye; and they were willing to add an additional basis for me to join. I’ve just not had the time to get through the application or meet up with a sponsor. I figure to get that done at some point in the next few years. I do have contact information for the two who are currently under Isaac, as I had sent them copies of my book; they are a father and son.

      The one major departure in Ebenezer’s career from Isaac’s was that Ebenezer went south at the end of 1776 and was in the Battles of Trenton and Princeton with the 1st NH as it was reorganized in November of 1776. Isaac did not initial sign in that reorganization and stayed with the end of Col. James Reed’s edition of the 3rd NH, and then a few months later took a commission to be a captain in the re-created 3rd NH regiment under Col. Scammell. Otherwise they had very similar careers until 1781, when Isaac was in Scammell’s light infantry regiment that went to Yorktown, while most of the other NH troops stayed in the Hudson and Mohawk valleys.

      Like

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