The Story of David Motley Ellington,
An American Patriot
This column resumes the fascinating story of David Motley Ellington’s service in the Revolutionary War. Most of the information has been derived from the Pension Application he first filed in 1834. As previously reported in the author’s column for May 2016, the first Act authorizing remuneration for those who served in the Revolutionary War without proper recompense was enacted 7th June 1832 by the Congress of the United States.
Ellington’s initial application was filed on his behalf after he had suffered a probable stroke that left him “afflicted with a long spell of sickness, which has almost deprived him of recollection.” As a result, in his old age and suffering from the resultant memory loss, he struggled to recall the names associated with his service. The author has attempted through extensive research to track his recalled events of service with factual accounts of the War. In 1844, David Motley Ellington was spurred by his children to renew his application, believing him to have been wrongly deprived of his just rewards. Some of the research, thus recounted in this series of two columns, has been derived from a review of the full Pension Application package on file with the United States government and transcribed previously by the author, painstakingly attempting to translate the archaic handwriting and, in some cases, weathered and damaged original documents.
In many instances, names provided by Ellington in his application package have been shown to be recorded along with service that emanates from Amelia County, Virginia. For instance, on the 2nd day of January in 1844, Ellington’s application mentions the name of Lt. Joshua Hundley: He States that his recollection does not serve him accurately respecting his officers, as well as he can remember he served under Capt. Phillip Payne and Capt. (blank) Harrison; Lieutenant Joshua Hundley served in the same company with him throughout a greater part of the time in which he was engaged in the Service.
Research shows that one Lt. Joshua Hundley did, indeed, serve. The Virginia State Library, in its List of the Revolutionary Soldiers of Virginia (Supplement), a Special Report of the Department of Archives and History for 1912, compiled by M. J. Eckemp, QDE, the Archivist, reflects the following:
Lt. Joshua Hundley: Hundley, Joshua (11 V. R.), W. D. 224, 1; (15 V. R.), W. D. 272, 1; (5 & 11 V. R.), W. D. 327, 1; (11 & 15 V. R.), W. D. 343, 1.
This means one, Lt. Joshua Hundley, served with the 11th Virginia Regiment, as reported by the War Department, at page 224,1. That his service continued with the 15th Virginia Regiment, as reported by the War Department at 272, 1; that his service continued in the combined 5th and 11th Virginia Regiments as reported by the War Department at page 327, 1; and carried forward as the combined 11th and 15th Virginia Regiments, as reported by the War Department at page 343, 1.
The 11th Virginia Regiment was a Continental Army regiment that fought in the American Revolutionary War. Authorized by the Second Continental Congress on 16 September 1776, it was organized on 3 February 1777 and consisted of four companies from the Virginia counties of Loudoun, Frederick, Prince William, and Amelia; Captain Daniel Morgan's Independent Rifle Company from Fauquier County; and five companies from the state's portion of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment.
In researching the name “Harrison” as one of Ellington’s superior officers, we find one Benjamin Harrison who was mentioned in a Harrison family genealogy report as “the other Benjamin Harrison” as having been one of Morgan’s “Indian fighters” who was called upon to join his unit and given some level of supervision.
This would appear to substantiate at least part of the accuracy of David Motley Ellington’s recollection. His pension application(s) were further supported by various affidavits of those who knew him for many years, knew him to be a truthful man, and had recollection of both he and his cousin, David Motley’s service during the Revolutionary War. Given that other researchers have felt their efforts rewarded by an assurance of the validity of his claims, I continue to share the facts of his remarkable service through his own voice:
States … from thence we was marched to Gilford (Guildford) Courthouse in the State of North Carolina where we again had a Battle with the Brittish and Tories in which battle we was compelled to retreat from thence we was marched to Richmond in the State of Virginia and thence
"The Battle of Guilford Court House" March 15, 1781.
After Morgan's victory in the Battle of Cowpens, both Morgan and Greene knew that Cornwallis would not allow the victory to go unavenged. At the same time, Morgan did not want to give up his prisoners or supplies. Greene thus directed his army north, while at the same time taking direct control over the troops of the badly ailing Morgan. Greene then masterly withdrew northward, skillfully delaying Cornwallis all the way. In order to catch up with the Americans, Cornwallis burned his supply train and extra supplies. Greene retreated all the way back to Virginia, pulling Cornwallis the whole way. When it became clear that Greene and the Americans had gotten away, Cornwallis realized how exposed he was, with no supplies in hostile territory. He began withdrawing southward. Greene and the Americans followed. When the British arrived at Guilford Court House, Greene felt the time was right to fight. Green had 4,300 troops, of which 1,600 were Continental regulars, facing 2,200 British regulars. The battle lasted for most of the day. The result was a British victory in the sense that the Americans were dislodged from their positions and forced to withdraw. The cost to the British, however, was too high. The British lost 93 killed and 439 wounded, while the Americans lost 78 killed and 183 wounded. Cornwallis' army was now in tatters. Source: American Revolution Website -Battle of Guilford Courthouse