The History of
The Fifth Virginia Regiment of the American Revolution
December of 1775, the Virginia General Assembly voted to increase
the size of the military forces from two regiments to nine regiments.
These new regiments were to be comprised of ten companies of sixty
men each, three companies to be riflemen and act as light infantry.
On December 28, 1775, the Continental Congress requested the Commonwealth
of Virginia to furnish six battalions for use by the Continental
forces. February 13, 1776 the nine Virginia regiments were accepted
by the Continental Congress for Continental service.
The Fifth Regiment of the Virginia troops, under the command of William Peachy, along with the Third Regiment was assigned the area between Potowmach and Rappahanoch for security. The Fifth Regiment was then stationed at Richmond Courthouse, where the activities of the Fifth Regiment from March 1776 until July 1776 are covered in the orderly book of the company of Captain George Stubblefield. May 7, 1776, Colonel William Peachey resigned and Colonel Scott was assigned as commander of the regiment. It is unclear as to when the Fifth Regiment marched to join Washington’s forces, although, it is known they were part of Brigadier General Adam Stephen’s Brigade at the Battle of Trenton. Here it is reported that General Stephen jeopardized Washington’s Trenton raid by sending an unauthorized patrol across the Delaware River on Christmas Day. The patrol was led by Captain Richard Anderson of the Fifth Virginia Regiment.
January 1, 1777, found the Fifth Regiment under Colonel Scott Making up part of an outpost along Five Mile Run on the Trenton - Princeton Road. With the advance of the British from Princeton this outpost retreated in the direction of Trenton, finally reaching the main battle position south of Assumpenk Creek. It is not known hat part the Fifth Regiment played during the Battle of Princeton on January 3,1777. April 1777, saw the Fifth Virginia, under the command of Colonel Josiah Parker, part of General Pete Muhlenburg’s Brigade, consisting of the 1st, 5th, 8th, 9th, and 13th Virginia Regiments. The history of the Fifth Virginia Regiment from the period of April 1777 until December 1777 is reflected in the writings of General Muhlenburg in his orderly book.
In the Battle of Brandywine, 11 September 1777, the Fifth Virginia as a member of Muhlenburg’s Brigade, along with Weeden’s and Nash’s Brigade formed Greene’s Division. The extent of the Fifth’s participation in the Battle is unknown. Likewise, the performance of the regiment, as members of the Muhlenburg’s Brigade, at the Battle of Germantown, 4 October 1777, is also unknown. However, it is known that Muhlenburg led his Brigade in a bayonet attack that penetrated the British Lines and pushed 1000 yards to the rear. In his subsequent retreat to regain Greene’s main body, Colonel Mathew’s 9th Virginia, which lead the advance, was surrounded and captured.
During the winter of 1777 - 1778, the Fifth Virginia continued to be part of Muhlenburg’s Brigade and encamped with the rest of the Continental Line at Valley Forge.
Due to the lack of factual information, it is not known whether the Fifth Virginia participated in the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778. Records do show that sometime between May 1778 and July 1778, Colonel Joseph Parker was replaced by Colonel Abraham Buford.
In September 1778, the Virginia Line was rearranged, by reducing the fifteen regiments to eleven. The reorganization saw the Fifth Virginia Regiment (of 1775) redesignated the Third and the Seventh Virginia becoming the "new" Fifth Regiment. The Commander of the "new" Fifth was Colonel William Russell.
Little is written about the Fifth Regiment during the winter of 1778 -1779 In the reorganization of the Virginia Line in May 1779, the Fifth Regiment became part of General William Woodford’s Brigade. Following operations in the Northern Colonies, the Virginia troops were ordered south to join General Lincoln in defense of the Southern Colonies. These troops under General’s Woodford and Scott entered Charleston, South Carolina on April 7, 1780. On 12 May 1780, General Lincoln surrendered the city of Charlestown, along with the entire Virginia Line of Continental troops to the British.
Send your comments and questions
© 1997-2008 John Stanfield, All rights reserved