S: R A Y H I S T O R Y
FC: Descendants of Benjamin Ray
1: Benjamin Ray was born in 1756 and died January 28, 1841 in Russell County Virginia. In the spring of 1775, Benjamin enlisted as a private soldier in Capt. John Baptist Nash's company of the 6th North Carolina Regiment of the Line, which was commanded by Col. Thomas Clarke, for a period of 2 1/2 years. He joined the regiment at Wilmington, North Carolina and shortly thereafter reenlisted for the duration of the war. He fought at the battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth, and was later taken prisoner at the siege of Charleston, South Carolina and was held as a prisoner of war for 14 months and somedays. He was discharged in 1783 in Stafford County, Virginia. After the war, Benjamin married and lived in Surry County, North Carolina. It is unknown who his first wife was, About 1795, Benjamin moved his family to Russell Co., Va. where he lived for the remainder of his life. On May 5, 1818, he made application for, and was granted a pension for his service in the Revolutionary War. On January 31, 1830, he married his second wife, Nancy Sutherland, also known as Nancy Wilson. Benjamin Ray died on January 28, 1841 and was buried in the Whitt Cemetery located near Big A Mtn. in Russell Co. His tombstone reads "BENJAMIN RAY, PVT 6 NC REGT, REV WAR, 1756-1841. "There are several of Benjamin's decendants also buried in the Whitt Cem.,including his grandson, James Ray (1820 - 18 Jun 1904), who along with his brothers John, Ira and Henry, also served their country as confederate soldiers in the War Between the States. The above information was taken from the Ray Family History website. The website's intent is to unify the research and make it available to the Ray Family.
4: Facts and Myths Benjamin's father is unknown. It appears that Edith "Edy" gave birth out of wedlock. It was thought that Benjamin's father was a Melungeon (Spanish salves imported to America and then abandoned). DNA testing from two descendants of Benjamin's line confirms this is incorrect. Benjamin was named in a Brunswick County court record dated June 28, 1773 as a "Bastard" son of Edy Wray and was ordered to be "bound out" by the Church Warden of Meherrin Parish.. After the war, Benjamin and s William Ray (unknown if any relationship) settled in Surry County, North Carolina. In the 1790 it shows Benjamin living with 3 females. It is assumed this is his first wife and two daughters. It has been implied that Benjamin's first wife's maiden name was Pinnion. I have came across no documentation, sources or proof that would indicate this is true. The next record of Benjamin was in 1797, Russell Co., VA. (tax record). By 1810, William Ray had joined him. Also living in Russell Co. in 1810 was John Ray, Benjamin's son, and an older John Ray, possibly Benjamin's uncle (?), John Ray, Jr. At the time of Benjamin's pension in 1818, he was 62 years old, his wife, 48, and they still had one daughter at home, Lucy Ray, age 14. His net worth listed on his pension application included two cows and calf, one three-year old heifer, two heifer yearlings, one three gallon frot, one half-bushel oven and lid, one kettle with one leg broke off which holds three pecks, one iron wedge, an old saddle, one weeding hoe, an axe, and an old spinning wheel. When put together, not worth more than $30.00. His liabilities were upward of $300. Benjamin signed his name with a mark (X).
5: Benjamin married again on January 31, 1830, to Nancy Sutherland-Wilson, a 49-year old widow with five children. It is believed that Sarah Ray, born 1796 in NC was another of Benjamin's children, since he was living with her and her husband, William Wallis, at the time of his death on January 28, 1841, at age 85. A record of his deed of gift of his personal property was filed on February 5, 1841. Recipients of his gift included Jane, Mary and Cosby Wallis, children of William Wallis and Sarah Ray "for their trouble with me while I am here". Gifts included one chestnut sorrell and one cow and calf. Benjamin signed with a mark (X). Sources: Whitt Cemetery, Honaker, VA. Surry County, SC - 1790 Census Russell County, VA - 1820-1840 U.S. Census Russell County, VA - 1840 U.S. Census Russell County , VA - 1810 Property Tax List Rayfamilyhistory.org Carol Ray Notes Robin Ray DNA Resulta Carl Ray
7: Battle of the Brandywine or the Battle of Brandywine Creek, was a battle of the Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary War fought on September 11, 1777. It was fought in the area surrounding Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and the Brandywine River. The battle, which was a decisive victory for the British, left Philadelphia, the revolutionary capital, undefended. The British captured the city on September 26, beginning an occupation that would last until June 1778
8: The Battle of Germantown Following the British capture of Philadelphia after the Battle of Brandywine, Howe’s troops encamped in Germantown to the North of the city. The camp stretched in a line astride the main northern road. Washington determined to surprise the British army in camp. His plan required a strong column under Major General Nathaniel Greene (with McDougall, Muhlenberg, Stephen and Scott) to attack the right wing of the British army comprising Grant’s and Donop’s troops, the second column which he commanded (with Stirling and Sullivan) to advance down the main Philadelphia road and launch an assault on the British centre, while forces of militia attacked each wing of the British force comprising on the right the Queen’s Rangers and on the left near the Schuylkill River, Hessian Jagers and British Light Infantry. Washington’s plan required the four attacks to be launched “precisely at 5 o’clock with charged bayonets and without firing”. The intention was to surprise the whole British army in much the way the Hessians had been surprised at Trenton. The American columns started along their respective approach roads on the evening of 3rd October 1777. Dawn found the American forces well short of their start line for the attack and there was an encounter with the first British picquet which fired its guns to warn of the attack. The outpost was supported by a battalion of light infantry and the 40th Foot under Colonel Musgrave. It took a substantial part of Sullivan’s division to drive back the British contingent. General Howe rode forward, initially thinking the advanced force was being attacked by a raiding party, his view impeded by a thickening fog that clouded the field for the rest of the day. Hearing the firing, Stephen heading the other main attack, ignored his orders to continue along the lane to the attack of the British right wing, swung to the right and made for the Chew House. His brigade joined the attack on the house which was assailed for a full hour by the infantry and guns of several American brigades. The rest of Greene’s division launched a savage attack on the British line as planned and broke through, capturing a number of British troops. In the meantime Sullivan and Wayne had continued past the Chew House and begun their attack. In the fog Wayne’s and Stephen’s brigades encountered each other and exchanged fire. Both brigades broke and fled. Sullivan’s brigade was attacked on both flanks, by Grant with the 5th and 55th Foot on his left and by Brigadier Grey on his right. Sullivan’s brigade broke. The British then turned on Greene’s isolated division capturing Colonel Matthews and his 9th Virginia Regiment. Attacked by the British Guards, the 25th and 27th Foot, Greene withdrew up the main road to the North West, assisted by the efforts of Muhlenberg’s brigade. As the American army retreated its condition deteriorated and Washington was forced to withdraw some sixteen miles, harried by the British light dragoons. The American militia forces did not develop their attacks and finally retreated.
9: American Units: Wayne’s Pennsylvania Brigade Weeden’s Virginia Brigade Muhlenburg’s Virginia Brigade Maxwell’s Light Infantry Colonel Bland’s 1st Dragoons Stephen’s Division Stirling’s Division Pennsylvania Militia Maryland Militia New Jersey Militia | Attack on Judge Chew's House | Map of the Battle of Germantown
10: During the fighting Musgrave caused 6 companies of the 40th to fortify the substantial stone house of Chief Justice Chew and use it as a strong point. The American advance halted while furious attacks were launched against the house aided by an artillery barrage. Hearing the firing, Stephen heading the other main attack, ignored his orders to continue along the lane to the attack of the British right wing, swung to the right and made for the Chew House. His brigade joined the attack on the house which was assailed for a full hour by the infantry and guns of several American brigades. The rest of Greene’s division launched a savage attack on the British line as planned and broke through, capturing a number of British troops. In the meantime Sullivan and Wayne had continued past the Chew House and begun their attack. In the fog Wayne’s and Stephen’s brigades encountered each other and exchanged fire. Both brigades broke and fled. Sullivan’s brigade was attacked on both flanks, by Grant with the 5th and 55th Foot on his left and by Brigadier Grey on his right. Sullivan’s brigade broke. The British then turned on Greene’s isolated division capturing Colonel Matthews and his 9th Virginia Regiment. Attacked by the British Guards, the 25th and 27th Foot, Greene withdrew up the main road to the North West, assisted by the efforts of Muhlenberg’s brigade. As the American army retreated its condition deteriorated and Washington was forced to withdraw some sixteen miles, harried by the British light dragoons. The American militia forces did not develop their attacks and finally retreated.
11: The Battle of Monmouth 1778 General George Washington and his army spent the winter of 1777/8 at Valley Forge in considerably straightened circumstances. As the winter wore on the supply situation was brought under control and something approaching a proper issue of equipment and rations was made to the troops. Memorably the Prussian officer General Steuben trained the American regiments in a form of European battle drill, devised and adapted to suit American troops. The British army spent the winter in Philadelphia. Lieutenant General Howe returned to England, relieved of his appointment in command in America at his own request, to be replaced by General Clinton. Clinton arrived with orders to evacuate Philadelphia and concentrate the British forces at New York. On 18th June 1778 the British army with artillery, supplies and the Loyalist populace of the city left Philadelphia and began the laborious march to the North-East. General Washington marched east from Valley Forge seeking to intercept the slow moving British column. He did so at Monmouth Courthouse. Clinton had originally intended to march to New York. The first week convinced him that his army with its train was too cumbrous to make the journey by land and it was reported that General Gates was moving from the Hudson River valley with his army to block the British retreat. Clinton decided to divert to the coast and take ship. At Allentown the British and German force branched off the main route towards Monmouth to head north east. General Washington hurried his army forward to. An advanced force of some 4,000 troops was allocated to attack the marching British Army and cut it in half. Washington offered the command of this assault to Major General Charles Lee. Initially Lee refused the appointment, lacking confidence in the success of the plan When the force was increased in size to 5,000 men and given to the Marquis de Lafayette, Lee changed his mind and insisted on the command. Lee had the task of attacking the British column in the flank and delaying it so that the main American army could come up and give battle.
12: The weather was unsettled, high day-time temperatures giving way to heavy rainstorms. Clinton suspected that Washington would attack him in strength and ordered Knyphausen to begin his march up the Middletown road to the North at 4am on 28th June 1778. Warned by Dickinson and his New Jersey militia that the British army was on the move, Washington ordered Lee to attack and bring the British withdrawal to a halt until he could bring up the main strength of the American army along the Monmouth Road. Lee lay to the west of the Middletown road and should have delivered a coordinated attack on the slow moving column. Properly planned this could have halted the British withdrawal to the north east and enabled the main American army under Washington to attack from the rear. It seems that Lee gave no proper orders to his commanders and permitted them to commit their troops as they saw fit. Skirmishes with parties of British troops took place as Lee’s force moved tentatively forward towards the Middletown Road. Confused fighting broke out with Clinton’s rearguard, largely composed of British regiments. Finally Lee ordered his troops to retreat on the main American army. As he withdrew down the road, Clinton launched his troops in pursuit. General Washington, bringing the main American army along the Monmouth road, encountered, not the rear of the British column, but Lee’s regiments, retreating in considerable disorder with the British advancing behind them. Memorably this is the one occasion Washington is said to have sworn. He deployed a consignment of oaths directed at Lee, to the admiration of those listening, before ordering Lee to the rear. Washington then galloped forward and began the task of rallying Lee’s disordered troops.
13: Washington ordered General Wayne with the last of Lee’s regiments, Stewart’s 13th Pennsylvania and Ramsay’s 3rd Maryland, to form to the North of the road and hold the British advance. These regiments resisted strongly but were driven back by the British 16th Light Dragoons. Their stand gave Washington the time to form the rest of the American army, with artillery on Comb’s Hill to the South of the road enfilading the attacking British foot. Fierce fighting took place as the British attempted to drive back the American line. This was the first test of Steuben’s re-trained American Continental Foot regiments and they withstood the trial well. As the evening wore on the British troops fell back and returned to their journey north, leaving the Americans on the field. | Molly Pitcher loading her husband's cannon during the Battle of Monmouth
14: The Battle of Charleston April 1- May 12, 1780 in Charleston, South Carolina The Siege of Charleston was one of the major battles which took place towards the end of the American Revolutionary War, after the British began to shift their strategic focus towards fighting in the southern colonies. As a defeat, it was the biggest loss of troops suffered to the revolutionary army in the war wherein the losses consisted essentially of the major part of the forces available to the revolutionaries. By contrast, General Washington avoided attempts to match force on force and adroitly avoided getting his forces pinned strategically so the superior British communications (SLOC) could assemble a crushing blow. At the same time, Washington, at the least with his aide and sub-commander General Lafayette, was cognizant of efforts to bring in the Kingdom of France against the British. From 1777 to 1778, the British had considerable success in the southern colonies, namely in the Province of Georgia with the Siege of Savannah, whereas the waiting strategy of maneuver adopted by Washington leading the northern army, had the British freedom of action stymied, and with near parity of forces, the conflict was essentially a stalemate. The amount of battles won in the south by the British in 1779 immensely increased in the following year, when they victoriously swept up through South and North Carolina. In December 1779, Gen. Henry Clinton sailed himself sailed south bound for Charleston from New York City. The British fleet included 90 troopships and 14 warships with more than 8,500 soldiers and 5,000 sailors. Because they had been delayed several months in leaving, the fleet now sailed through stormy seas. The first storm hit on December 27 and lasted 3 days.
15: On January 1, another storm hit and lasted 6 days. This pattern continued and the fleet was separated. After having been separated by constant storms, about 2/3 of the British fleet had regrouped. However, they found themselves off the coast of Florida and had to sail back north. They went as far as Georgia where a diversionary infantry force was put ashore on February 4. The cavalry commanded by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton and including Maj. Patrick Ferguson also went ashore to find new mounts. During the voyage the horses had to be put overboard, because of serious injuries like broken legs. General Clinton then continued sailing north with the main body of his force. Back in 1776, Clinton had deferred to Admiral Sir Peter Parker whose choice of approach directly into Charleston Harbor had been a disaster. Clinton had learned his lesson from that defeat and chose to land his forces 30 miles south of Charleston and approach overland. While the army marched overland, the ships would sail up the rivers delivering provisions as necessary. The first men were put ashore on February 11. General Clinton then continued sailing north with the main body of his force. Back in 1776, Clinton had deferred to Admiral Sir Peter Parker whose choice of approach directly into Charleston Harbor had been a disaster. Clinton had learned his lesson from that defeat and chose to land his forces 30 miles south of Charleston and approach overland. While the army marched overland, the ships would sail up the rivers delivering provisions as necessary. The first men were put ashore on February 11.
16: On February 4, a diversionary infantry force was put ashore in Georgia. The cavalry commanded by Tarleton and including Ferguson also went ashore to find new mounts. During the voyage, the horses had to be put overboard, because of serious injuries like broken legs. Clinton had chosen to land his forces thirty miles south of Charleston and approach overland. The first men, English and Hessian Grenadiers and the 33rd Regiment of Foot, were put ashore on February 11, on the southern tip of John's Island. On February 14, these men set out in search of Stono Ferry, which was the crossing point to James Island. Later that day, they found the river, but the other bank with fortified and manned by militia. The British retreated without taking fire from the Americans. The next day, they discovered that the Americans had deserted their position overnight. On February 24, fortifications were completed at Stono Ferry and the British crossed over to James Island the next day. There was a Continental presence on the island. French Chevalier Pierre-Franois Vernier commanded the cavalry, while Francis Marion commanded the American infantry. They had been observing the British movements for several days. On February 26, they attacked a returning British scavenging patrol as it passed down a narrow way. The German Jgers came to their rescue and drove Vernier off. In spite of the Continental presence and continued skirmishing with Chevalier Vernier and his cavarly, the British gained control of James Island by March 1.
17: On March 10, Clinton's second-in-command Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis finally led the main force onto the mainland at Wappoo Cut. On March 11, naval ships finally came up the Stono River and delivered much needed supplies. From March 11-21, the British fortified their position which was located where the Wappoo Creek flowed into the Ashley River. They mounted artillery to shell American ships and keep the Ashley River secure. They then moved upstream and north, away from Charleston, slowly securing the plantations along the way while the Americans shadowed them from across the river. On March 29, under the cover of fog , the British crossed the Ashley River upstream from the heavily fortified Ashley Ferry and established themselves on Charleston Neck. When the Americans learned that the British were on the Neck, they abandoned their breastworks at Ashley Ferry. On April 1, the British had moved down into position to begin their siege works. While the British slowly closed in, naval maneuvering in Charleston Harbor for the Americans was a disaster. In December 1779, 4 frigates had arrived under the command of Commodore Abraham Whipple and were joined by 4 ships from South Carolina and 2 French ships. There were 260 guns afloat and 40 guns at Fort Moultrie. However, even before the British arrived, Whipple informed Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln that the flotilla could not defend the entrance to Charleston Harbor. Lincoln questioned Commodore Whipple's conclusion, but Whipple was backed up by a naval board. Whipple chose to first withdraw to the mouth of the Cooper River. Meanwhile the British began their approach on March 20. When Whipple saw the size of the British attack fleet, he scuttled the ships at the entrance of the river
18: On April 2, siege works were begun about 800 yards from the American fortifications. During the first few days of the siege, the British operations were under heavy artillery fire. On April 4, they built redoubts near the Ashley and Cooper Rivers to protect their flanks. On April 6, a warship was hauled overland from the Ashley River to the Cooper River to harass crossings by the besieged to the mainland. On April 8, the British fleet moved into the Harbor under fire only from Fort Moultrie. On April 12, Lt. General Henry Clinton ordered Tarleton and Ferguson to capture Monck's Corner, which was a crossroads just south of Biggins Bridge near the Santee River. Gen. Isaac Huger was stationed there 500 men under orders from Lincoln to hold the crossroads so that communications with Charleston would remain open. On April 13, during the evening, Tarleton gave orders for a silent march. Later that night, they intercepted a messenger with a letter from Huger to Lincoln and thus learned how the rebels were deployed. On April 14, at 3:00 A.M., the British reached the American post, catching them completely by surprise and quickly routing them. Following the skirmish, the British fanned out across the countryside and effectively cut off Charleston from outside support. South Carolina Governor John Rutledge left Charleston on April 13.
19: On April 21, a parlay was made between Lincoln and Clinton, with Lincoln offering to surrender with honor. That is, with colors flying and marching out fully armed, but Clinton was sure of his position and quickly refused the terms. A heavy artillery exchange followed. On April 23, Cornwallis crossed the Cooper River and assumed command of the British forces blocking escape by land. On April 24, the Americans ventured out to harass the siege works. The lone American casualty was Tom Moultrie, brother of Brig. Gen. William Moultrie. On April 29, the British advanced on the left end of the canal that fronted the city's fortifications with the purpose of destorying the dam and draining the canal. The Americans knew the importance of that canal to the city's defenses and responded with steady and fierce artillery and small arms fire. By the following night, the British had succeeded in draining some water. By May 4, several casualties had been sustained and the fire had been so heavy that work was often suspended. On May 5, the Americans made a countermove from their side, but by May 6, almost all of the water had drained out of the heavily damaged dam and plans for an assault began. On that same day, Fort Moultrie had surrendered.
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