Joshua Ensminger, Revolutionary War Pension Application
Born 1760, Sugar Loaf, Frederick County, Maryland
Died 1851, Shelby County, Indiana
State of Indiana Shelby County SS
In the Probate Court of Shelby County August Term 1841
On this 10th day of August in the year of Our Lord eighteen hundred and forty one, Personally appeared before the Honorable Jacob Kennerly Judge of said Court now in session – JOSHUA ENSMINGER a resident of Liberty Township in the County of Shelby and State of Indiana, aged Eighty one years (on the 8th day of March last) Who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the act of Congress passed the 7th of June 1832.
That he entered the service of the United States (as a private) under the following named Officers; and served as herein stated:
Our Colonel’s name was Samuel Vance, Our Captain’s name was John B. Bary, Our Lieutenant’s name was William Deen, and our Ensign’s name was William Bowler.
Some time in the fall of the year 1780 (and which time I do not distinctly recollect, but from the Certificate of Service which I received from the above mentioned officers I believe said time to have been about the 23rd day of October) I was drafted from the Militia of Augusta County in the State of Virginia (where I then resided) and rendezvoused with about 30 others recruits for the American Army about that time, at the Paynter Gap Mill in Said County of Augusta, at which place we were put under the Command of Sergeant John Hazzard and were marched under his command the next day to Staunton in the same County Where we with others were formed into a Company under the Command of Captain John Bary under Command of whom with the above named Lieutenant and Ensign we Marched from Staunton by the way of Winchester and across the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry through Frederick in the State of Maryland. We continued our March stopping a day or two at a time occasionally until we arrived at a Fort occupied by the American Troops about two miles above York Town on the York River, said Fort was located on the opposite side of the river from York Town. At this fort we met our Colonel Samuel Vance who had left us at Staunton the day before we marched from there. Our Company remained in the fort until some time in the Spring, where our company and two other Companies were Stationed about three fourths of a mile down the River from the fort where we were occupied in digging a trench or ditch across the neck of land from the river to a bay to protect our troops from the enemies light-horse we were occupied in digging said trench about three weeks. When we had completed the trench we were marched back to the fort, when we arrived there we were informed that the [———] had landed on the same side of the river, and but a short distance below us. The same or the next day a part of our Troops, myself among the rest, Our Captain, Lieutenant, Ensign, and about twenty five others of our Company (I think ours was called the Third Company, we had had seventy three men in it including the Officers) were ordered out of the fort. We marched down the river and across the trench that we had dug, and beyond it about half a mile, where we made a halt and remained until some time in the afternoon when we were attacked by the enemy. After exchanging a few shots with them we were ordered to retreat, which we did back to the fort and arrived there about sunset. We lost in this engagement (I think) six men killed. After this our company remained in and about the Fort for several weeks, when a part of our troops, myself and them had another engagement which took place near the same ground where the first did. I think the Americans lost (in Killed) about sixty men. Our Company had five men Killed (I do not recollect their names). Our Company belonged to the tenth regiment which was Commanded by Colonel Samuel Vance from Greenbrier County in the State of Virginia. The last engagement above mentioned took place a few days before the surrender of Cornwallis. I was present and saw Cornwallis surrender his sword. I think it was Lafayette who received his sword. General Washington, Lafayette and other officers were present, this took place about a mile below the Fort above mentioned and on the same side of the river, about the Middle of the day or a little after. The officers who received Cornwallis’ Sword returned it to him after a short time. I have forgotten the names of the fort and the names of Most of the Officers that were there , those whom I recollect besides those above mentioned were Colonel Lee and Major Fletcher, General Washington was not with the Army when I first went to the fort. On the 24th day of October 1781 and a few days after the surrender of Cornwallis I got my discharge which I now have in my possession and design to enclose it with my application. I lost said discharge in the State of Virginia about forty years ago, And I suppose it had been [ ] taken from my possession and burnt or destroyed, but I lately and unexpectedly about the first of June last (1840) received the same from the hand of William Hunter, a son of a Brother in law of mine by the name of James Hunter. I was informed by said William that said James Hunter died about the 1st of April last in Monroe County, Virginia and that said James on his death bed had requested said William to give said paper to me and Stated that about forty or 41 years ago he took said paper with several others from my possession and without my knowledge. I am well justified that the same is the discharge or certificate which I received from my Officers in October 1781. The following is a copy of it towit:
“We the undersigned do certify that Joshua Ensminger has served one year in General Washington’s Campaign in 1781 and was in the battle and Surrender of Cornwallis. We do testify that he was under our Command at the surrender of Cornwallis at Little York. Given from under our hands this 23rd of October A.D. 1781 (signed) Col. Samuel Vance, Capt. John B. Bary, Lieut William Deen, Ens. William Bowler.
I was born on the 8th day of March 1760 in the State of Maryland near the Sugar Loaf. At the time I was drafted I lived in Augusta County Virginia. I remained in the as above State from the time I entered the same in the fall of the year 1780 till the 24th day of October 1781, and then received the above mentioned certificate or discharge, since which time I have lived in the following places, towit-after said discharge I returned and lived in Augusta County, Virginia about two years, when the County was divided which left me in Bath County where I lived about 2 years, and then went to Boretourt County and lived there about five years. I then went to the County of Rockbridge and lived there about thirteen years. I then went to the county of Monroe and I lived there about 6 years (all in the State of Virginia) and from the last mentioned County I came to Shelby County, Indiana where I now reside and have lived for the space of about 12 years.
I do not know of any person whose testimony I can procure, who can testify to my services in the Army as above set forth service. I know of any documentary evidence except the Certificate above copied. I hereby relinquish every claim whatever to a pension of annuity except the present and declare that my name is not on any Pension Roll of the Agency of any State.
Joshua X Ensminger his mark
Sworn to and subscribed in Open Court the day and year first above mentioned Sylvan B. Morris Clerk And the said Court do hereby declare their opinion, after the investigation of the matter, and after putting the interrogations prescribed by the War department, that the above named applicant was a Revolutionary Soldier and served as he states, And the Court further certifies that Amos Sparks who has signed the preceding Certificate is a Clergy near resident in said County of Shelby, and that [David Thacker??] who has signed the same is a resident in said County and is a credible person, and that their statement is entitled to credit.
Jacob Kennerly Judge of Probate Court