John Phipps: His Revolutionary War Service

A past post or two have looked at statements by Benjamin Phipps in his Revolutionary War pension application file in which he spoke of trying to get to his relatives in South Carolina during the war. Benjamin lived in Grayson County, Virginia after the war.

While he was captured by the British, he attempted to escape and get to relatives in South Carolina, according to his own testimony. He did escape, but was once again captured, only to escape again. This time he was successful. He managed to get to “his relations in South Carolina.”

Another Phipps who spent part of his military service in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War was John Phipps.  We’ve discussed his military service before. His pension file is rich in details. When he applied for a pension, he was living in Hopkins County, Kentucky, but he was born in Charles City County, Virginia.

Here is something of a timeline of some of the events in John’s life which are discussed in his pension application file. It’s important to note that two pages of some of the most crucial testimony in his file appear to be currently missing from online copies in both Heritage Quest and Fold3. Those pages used to be present in Heritage Quest but not Fold3, but now appear to be absent from both.

  • 1753: He was born in Charles City County, Virginia, according to his own testimony.
  • 1774: He lived in Surry County, Virginia, where he volunteered for service in the Virginia militia. He helped guard Williamsburg and the surrounding area from the British in the Chesapeake Bay while serving with those from James City County (the home of Jamestown) and Charles City County. He was frequently shot at by the British from their ships in the James River. John Phipps served under James Innes.
  • 1775: He was relieved from service by the Minute Men.
  • 1776: He was living in Amelia County, Virginia, where he enlisted for 3 years. He was made a sergeant under Capt. Thomas Scott. During that fall and winter, he was in Prince Edward County, Virginia, at the home of his captain, Capt. Thomas Scott.
  • 1777: John marched through part of North Carolina into South Carolina, where he crossed the Ashley River 18 miles from Charleston. From Charleston, South Carolina, the men marched to Savannah, Georgia. There he joined the George Regiment, and remained with them until July 1778.
  • 1778: In July, John Phipps was furloughed and allowed to go home for 3 months. On his return, he met a soldier who told him that his company had moved on and was now at Augusta, Georgia. John rejoined his company in Augusta in October 1778. Not long after this, he was guarding a “cowpens” on the Ogeechee River in Georgia. This was not, however, the famous Cowpens in South Carolina where an important battle was fought. John guarded the commissioner appointed to make a treaty with the Indians. In December, he was marched back to Savannah, Georgia, where he arrived on the 24th or 26th of December. He stayed there until about the end of April of the following year.
  • 1779: John Phipps left Savannah, Georgia around the end of April. At this point, with the permission of his officers, he hired a substitute to serve out his remaining 3 months. He received a discharge and returned home.
  • After the Revolution ended in 1783: He lived in Orange County, North Carolina after the war, until he moved to Hopkins County, Kentucky. He was living in Hopkins County in the 1830s.

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