Mar 21, 2024 - Sale 2663

Sale 2663 - Lot 291

Price Realized: $ 3,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
(MILITARY--AMERICAN REVOLUTION.) "A Return of Men's Names . . . of the 6th M[assachusetts] Regt." One manuscript page, 8½ x 6½ inches, signed by Lieutenant Reuben Lilley, and docketed on verso; folds, minor wear, irregular uncut edges. Soldier's Fortune, NY, 2 April 1780

Additional Details

A list of eight soldiers whose three-year enlistments had expired, and who had agreed to re-enlist for the duration of the war for a $300 bounty. One of them was a Black soldier, Cicero Swett (circa 1748-1830, also known as Sweat or Sweet). He was born into slavery in the West Indies, and enlisted in the Continental Army from Marblehead, MA in the spring of 1777, for a three-year term in the 6th Massachusetts Regiment. He reported for duty in Fishkill, NY and likely participated in the Battle of Saratoga that October. He re-enlisted in 1780, as shown here, while the regiment was encamped at "Soldier's Fortune," about 6 miles north of Peekskill, NY along the Hudson River. He was then transferred "into what was called the black company commanded by Capt. Matthew Chambers" in the same regiment, according to his pension application. He was discharged at the end of the war in 1783. One source states that he remained in slavery during his service, but was able to buy his freedom with his accumulated savings upon returning home (Matt Thorenz, "African American Soldiers at New Windsor Cantonment," page 95). The $300 re-enlistment bounty might well have made the difference.

Swett lived in Hillsborough and Merrimack, NH after the war, and was granted a military pension in 1819, stating that he was a day laborer and "unable to do much labour on account of the infirmities of age."