Morrison's Pensions

Pension Application for James Butterfield

State of New York
Otsego County SS.
            James Butterfield of the Town of Hartwicks County and State aforesaid, aged sixty three years, being duly sworn according to law, makes the following Statement or Affidavit in order to enable him to obtain the provision made by an Act of Congress entitled “An Act to provide for Certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States in the Revolutionary War”—
            Deponent saith that he Entered in the month of April in the year 1775 in the service of the United States under a Captain John Moor during the year ending the last of December following and Served in the Regiment under the command of Col. J. Starks and further that said deponent did before the first of Jany 1776 enter it again under a Capt. William H. Ballard for the Term of One Year and served in the Regiment Commanded by Col. Whitcomb and further that said deponent did before the expiration of the year again enlist for the Term of three years under said Captain William H. Ballard and was annexed to the Seventh Massachusetts Regiment of Infantry Commanded by Col. Ichabod Alden in the Brigade under the Command of General Nixon where said deponent continued until some time in the month of January 1780 when he was honorably Honorably [sic] discharged at West Point and further this deponent saith that some time in the month of June or July following he received a first Lieutenants Commission in the New York levies and served under Col. John Harper for about one or two months when Col. Harper was relieved by Col. Peter Dubois under whom Deponent continued in service until some time in December when deponent was discharged until June following when this deponent was appointed a Captain in the Regiment under the command of Col. Marinus Willet for three years and enlisted three recruits that before deponent joined the Regiment he was taken prisoner by the Indians near Cherry Valley and treated as savages usually treat Prisoners that said deponent was taken through the wilderness by the Savages to Niagara and compelled to run the Gauntlet three times at the Risque [risk] of his life after which said deponent was taken from the Indians by the British troops and put on Board a Sloop and taken from there to Carlton Island and there imprisoned forty-eight hours twenty four without any thing to eat or drink that said deponent was then ordered on Board said Sloop and taken to Oswegatchie fort and kept under Prevost Guard thirty six hours and treated as the British usually treat Rebel prisoners from thence said Deponent was taken down the River Saint Lawrence to MontReal where said deponent was examined before General McLean and sentenced to be imprisoned in the prevost prison where he continued until some time in October or November one third of the time in Irons after which said deponent was taken to an Island in the River Saint Lawrence called Rebel Island and kept until the ninth day of June following when this deponent together with George P. Ransom and John Brown made their escape by tying their left hand to some slab Benches and swimming to the shore four miles and a half from whence they made their way through the Wilderness without any food other than roots except twelve ounces of dried beef each for fifteen days when said deponent with his two companions arrived at Castleton in the State of Vermont and further that said Deponent had his commission taken from him while Prisoner among the Indians and further that said deponent was at the Battles at the Siege of Boston until the British vacated the place also at the taking of Burgoyne and in the expedition under General Sullivan against the Indians and this deponent further saith that by reason of his reduced circumstances further saith that by reason of his reduced circumstances in life he is in need of assistance from his country for support.  (Signed) Jas. Butterfield
            Sworn before me this 13day of April 1818.  John Russell, Judge of Otsego Com. Plea

Letter of inquiry dated November 14, 1936, included in the pension file.
            Reference is made to your letter in which you request the Revolutionary War record of James Butterfield, pension claim, S. 44351.
            The data which follow were obtained from pension claim, S.33451, based upon the service of James Butterfield in the Revolutionary War.
            The date and place of birth of James Butterfield are not given, nor are the names of his parents stated.
            James Butterfield enlisted sometime in April 1775, and served in Captain John Moor’s company, Colonel J. Stark’s regiment, and about January 1, 1776, he enlisted for one year and serve3d in Captain William H. Ballard’s company, Colonel Whitcomb’s regiment, and before the expiration of the year, he again enlisted and served in Captain William H. Ballard’s Company, Colonel Ichabod Alden’s 7th Massachusetts regiment, and was discharged sometime in January, 1780.  He was commissioned 1st Lieutenant in June or July, 1780 and served in Colonels John Harper’s and Dubois’ New York regiments until sometime in December 1780.  He was appointed in June, 1781, Captain of Colonel Marinus Willett’s New York Regiment, but before he joined the regiment, was taken prisoner by the Indians near Cherry Valley, taken through the “wilderness” to Niagara and compelled to “run the gauntlet” three times; he was taken from the Indians by the British and put on board a sloop and carried to Oswegatchie Fort, then to Montreal, where he was held until October or November, part of the time in Irons, thence carried to “Rebel Island” in the St. Lawrence River, was there until June 9, 1782, when he made his escape and swam about four miles to the shore, then through the wilderness reaching Castleton, Vermont in about fifteen days.  During his service he was at the siege of Boston, at the taking of Burgoyne, and in General Sullivan’s Expedition against the Indians.
            James Butterfield was allowed pension on his application executed April 18, 1818, at which time he was a resident of Hartwick, Otsego County, New York, aged sixty-three years.

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