Revolutionary War

New Jersey Militia Company of Light Infantry Elects Officers

New Jersey Militia Company of Light Infantry Elects Officers


In response to an order from Brigadier General Richard Dey (1752-1811), William Colfax, who had been a member of General George Washington’s elite Life Guard, announced and conducted the election, which resulted in the election of Philip I. Schuyler as captain of the company, Simeon Mead as lieutenant, and John D. Piatt as ensign.


William Colfax, Autograph Document Signed, Certification, to Richard Howell, August 12, 1793. 1 p., 8.25" x 13.5", expected folds. Some browning on edges and small tears at folds.


Complete Transcript:

Bergen County            }

State of New Jersey     } Ss

I do hereby Certify that in pursuance of a Warrant to me directed from Brigadier General Dey I have advertised a meeting of a Company of Light Infantry in Colonel Wards regt and superintended an Election of Officers for the sd Company when the following gentlemen were duly Elected.

Viz.      Philip I Schuyler Captain

Simeon Mead Lieutenant

John D. Piatt Ensign

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 12th day of August 1793

                                                                        William Colfax Major

NB. this Company by permission of

the Colonel is changed from Lt Infantry

to grenadiers. it is therefore requested

the Commissions may issue accordingly


To His Excellency / Richard Howell Esquire / Comdr in Chief


After the demobilization of the Continental Army in the early 1780s, local and statewide militias remained an important force for defending the new United States, or as in the case of the Whiskey Rebellion, for suppressing internal disobedience to the laws. This document records an election of officers in a militia company in Bergen County, New Jersey, in the northeastern corner of the state.


William Colfax (1756-1838) was born in Connecticut and received a commission as a lieutenant in the Continental Army when he was seventeen years old. In 1778, General George Washington chose Colfax as one of one hundred Life Guards to guard Washington. In January 1781, Colfax became captain of the Life Guard. He was promoted in the regular army to first lieutenant and to captain by 1783, when he retired from the army. He served as a justice of the peace in Bergen County, New Jersey, and represented the county in the state legislature from 1806 to 1813. Colfax was commissioned a major in the 3rd Regiment, Bergen County New Jersey Militia, on June 5, 1793. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1806 and to brigadier general in 1814, when he led the militia in the War of 1812.


Richard Howell (1754-1802) was born in Newark, Delaware, and moved with his parents to Cumberland County, New Jersey, where he studied law. He apparently was one of the young men who disguised themselves as Native Americans and burned tea at Greenwich, New Jersey, in November 1774, nearly a year after the more famous 'Boston Tea Party." In 1775, Howell received a commission as captain of a company in the Jersey line in the Continental Army. He was promoted to major in September 1776. After the war, he served as governor of New Jersey and commander-in-chief of the state militia from 1793 to 1801. In 1794, he personally led New Jersey militia to help in suppressing the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. He also composed songs, including “Jersey Blues,” which he wrote during the Whiskey Rebellion to encourage his state’s troops.



Item: 64031

Price: $400.00
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