On April 6, 1777 when he was 16 years old Isaiah Adkins enlisted at New Haven to serve to the end of the War for Independence. He first served under Lt. John Boll in Capt. Elijah Humphrey’s company of the 6th Connecticut Regiment commanded by Colonel Douglas, next by Lt. Colonel Deming and then by Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs.
In May 1777 a British party of soldiers and sailors invaded and occupied Sag Harbor, Long Island (near the Eastern end of the island between present day Noyack Bay and Gardners Bay). This British group included twelve vessels protected by an armed schooner carrying 40 men and 12 guns and a company of 70 men from Lt. Colonel Stephen De Lancy’s Tory battalion.
When Colonel Meigs heard of this he quickly embarked 170 men in whaleboats at Gilford, Ct. the night of May 23 and crossed Long Island Sound. Private Isaiah Adkins a veteran of 47 days at age 16 was one of Colonel Meig’s soldiers. The sound was “full of British cruisers”. Meig’s group moved through them undetected and landed at Sag Harbor at two o’clock the next morning. The Americans surprised De Lancey’s troops, killed six, captured all the vessels except the schooner, and obtained a large quantity of provisions and forage. Meig’s group was back in Guilford by noon, 18 hours after they left Guilford. The distance covered was about 100 miles. Congress voted Colonel Meigs “an elegant sword”.
After this engagement, Isaiah marched with others to Peekskill, NY., where he joined the Connecticut Line under Captain Parsons in General Putnam’s Brigade Division. Thereafter he was in a variety of situations and places until December 1780. He was then placed in a detachment commanded by Colonel William Hull, marched to Morrisania, attacked the refugees, took a number of prisoners, burnt their huts and returned to his regiment at the Highlands, NY.
Sometime after this Colonel Meigs resigned and Colonel Zebulon Butler took command of the regiment.
In Feb 1781 Isaiah was promoted to Corporal in Captain Humphrey’s Company. He marched to White Plains, NY., where he was detached and placed into Colonel Alexander Hamilton’s Battalion of Light Infantry. He marched with the battalion under the command of General Washington to Yorktown, Va. Isaiah states in one deposition that he “was at the storming of the Redoubt before Yorktown on the York River”.
Two British redoubts close to the river on the east side prevented the carrying of the second parallel (dug-in artillery) to the river’s edge. The redoubts had to be taken. The night of October 14 the task was given to two corps – the American light infantry (Isaiah) to attack the reboubt on the right of the river bank, the one on the left (a fourth of a mile from it) was assigned to the French chasseurs and grenadiers. The American force was made up of men drawn from Lt. Colonel de Gimat’s battalion of Connecticut, Massachussetts and Rhode Island troops, Lt Colonel Alexander Hamilton’s New York and Connecticut men and Lt. Colonel John Lauren’s group from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. In all 400 men with an added corps of sappers and miners. Hamilton was in general command.
The French group on the left and Hamilton’s group on the right attacked at the same time. The French won their objective losing 15 killed and 70 wounded; the enemy 18 killed and 50 sound or wounded men taken prisoner.
The American group totaled 70 men (including Isaiah) under Major Campbell. They advanced with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets. Led by 20 men of the 4th Connecticut under Lt. John Mansfield, they crashed through the abaitis without waiting for the sappers to cut it away, crossed the ditch, and swarmed over the parapets in spite of the bayonets of the garrison. In ten minutes they overcame all resistance with a loss of 9 killed and 31 wounded, including de Gimat and several other officers.
The Americans were able to extend the second parallel quickly. The next day Cornwallis wrote to Clinton: “My situation now becomes critical; we dare not show a gun to their old batteries, and I expect their new ones will open tomorrow morning — The safety of the place is therefore so precarious that I cannot recommend that the fleet and army should run the great risque in endeavoring to save us.”
After Yorktown, Isaiah returned to the Highlands, NY., and rejoined his regiment. In the fall of 1782 a new organization took place and Isaiah was placed in the 2nd Connecticut Regiment commanded by Colonel Herman Swift.
On June 8, 1783 Isaiah was discharged from the Continental Army and honored with the badge of merit for 6 years of faithful service. Sgt Benjamin Bennet stated that he saw isaiah wear two Badges of Honor upon his left arm. ( Honorary Badges of distinction are to be conferred on the veteran Non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the army who have served more than three years with bravery, fidelity and good conduct; for this purpose a narrow piece of white cloath [sic] of an angular form is to be fixed to the left arm on the uniform Coat. Non commissioned officers and soldiers who have served with equal reputation more than six years are to be distinguished by two pieces of cloth set in parellel [sic] to each other in a simular [sic] form; should any who are not entitled to these honors have the insolence to assume the badges of them they shall be severely punished. On the other hand it is expected those gallant men who are thus designated will on all occasions be treated with particular confidence and consideration. George Washington’s General Orders of August 7, 1782 )
He was discharged at the Highlands near West Point by General Washington. Later in life when Isaiah was making a deposition for a war pension he said he lost his discharge on board a vessel which was shipwrecked.
The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Volume 127 page 65
Mrs. Luana Furman Burgess.
DAR ID Number: 126215
Born in Wyoming County, Pa.
Wife of Charles R. Burgess.
Descendant of Corp. Isaiah Adkins (Atkins) as follows:
1. Allen Foster Furman (1811-95) m. 1831 Jerusha Ann Ticknor (1813-87).
2. Ezra Furman (1788-1857) m. 1810 Laura Adkins (1796-1863).
3. Isaiah Adkins m. Rhoda Carey (1755-1827).
Isaiah Adkins (Atkins) (1760-1842) in 1818 applied for a pension, which was granted for service as corporal, Connectieut troops. He died in Wyoming County, Pa.
Isaiah moved to PA in Jan 1821