Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum
   You are in: Virtual War Museum >> Revolutionary War Hall >> Benjamin Lincoln

The Seven Flags of the New Orleans Tri-Centennial

For More Information go to New Orleans 300th Birthday


Benjamin Lincoln

Major General

Served 1777 - 1783

LINCOLN, Benjamin - A Klos Family Project - Revolutionary War General

Click on an image to view full-sized

LINCOLN, Benjamin, soldier, born in Hingham, Massachusetts, 24 January, 1733; died there, 9 May, 1810. His father, Benjamin, was born in Hingham in 1700, his family having been among the first settlers, the name of Thomas Lincoln, a cooper, appearing on the town-records as early as 1636. He received only a common school education, and was a farmer until 1773, holding the offices of magistrate, representative in the provincial legislature, and colonel of militia. He was also a member of the provincial congresses of Massachusetts, of which he was secretary, and served on its committee of correspondence. He was active in organizing and training the Continental troops, and was appointed major-general of state militia in 1776, and on 23 May, 1776, was placed at the head of a committee to prepare instructions for the representatives of the town in the general court, previous to the Declaration of Independence. The following is an extract from his instructions entered on the records of the town: 

"You are instructed and directed at all times to give your vote and interest in support of the present struggle with Great Britain. We ask nothing of her but peace, liberty, and safety. You will never recede from that claim, and, agreeably to a resolve of the late house of representatives, in case the honorable Continental congress declare themselves independent of Great Britain, solemnly engage, in behalf of your constituents, that they will, with their lives and fortunes, support them in the measure." 

In June of that year he commanded the expedition that cleared Boston harbor of British vessels. After the American defeat on Long Island he was dispatched by the council of Massachusetts to re-enforce Washington with a body of militia, and he subsequently participated in the battle of White Plains and other engagements. At the close of 1776 Lincoln, with the greater part of 6,000 militia, was engaged with General William Heath in the attack on Fort Independence, which resulted disastrously. In the beginning of 1777 he joined Washington at Morristown with a new levy of militia, and on 19 February was promoted to major-general, having been recommended by Washington in a letter to congress dated 20 December, 1776: 

"In speaking of General Lincoln, I should not do him justice were I not to add that he is a gentleman well worthy of notice in the military line. He commanded the militia from Massachusetts last summer, or fall rather, and much to my satisfaction, having proved himself, on all occasions, an active, spirited, sensible man. I do not know whether it is his wish to remain in the military line, or whether, if he should, anything under thee rank he now holds in the state he comes from would satisfy him." 

He was then stationed at Bound Brook, New Jersey, the advanced post of the British, where he was surprised by a party of 2,000 men under Lord Cornwallis and General James Grant on 13 April, but escaped with his aides before he was surrounded. He remained attached to Washington's command till July, when he was sent with General Benedict Arnold to act under General Schuyler against Burgoyne, for which purpose he raised a body of New England militia. He sent out a successful expedition, which seized the posts of the enemy at Lake George, and broke Burgoyne's line of communication. General Lincoln then joined General Gates at Stillwater, and took command of the right wing. During the battle of Bemis's Heights he commanded inside the American works, and on the next day, in leading a small force to a post in the rear of Burgoyne's army, fell in with a party of British, supposing them to be Americans, and received a severe wound, which forced him to retire for a year and lamed him for life. 

He rejoined the army in August, 1778, on 25 September was appointed by congress to the chief command of the southern department, and for several months he was engaged in protecting Charleston against General Augustine Prevost. Upon the arrival of Count d'Estaing he co-operated with the French troops and fleet in the unsuccessful assault on Savannah; but from the unwillingness of his allies to continue the siege he was forced to return to Charleston, where in the spring of 1780 he was besieged by a superior British force under Sir Henry Clinton. After an obstinate defense he was obliged in May to capitulate, and in November retired to Massachusetts on parole.

In the spring of 1778 he was exchanged, and immediately joined Washington on Hudson river. He participated in the siege of Yorktown, and Washington appointed him to receive the sword of Lord Cornwallis on the surrender of the British forces. He held the office of secretary of war from 1781 till 1784, after which he retired to his farm, receiving the thanks of congress for his services.

In 1787 he commanded the forces that quelled Shays's rebellion in western Massachusetts, and in that year was elected lieutenant-governor of the state. Upon the establishment of the Federal government he received from Washington the appointment of collector of the port of Boston, from which office he retired about two years before his death. He was a member of the commission that made a treaty with the Creek Indians in 1789, and of the one that in 1793 unsuccessfully attempted to enter into negotiations with the Indians north of the Ohio, the other members including Thomas Pickering and Beverly Randolph, of Virginia, the place appointed for the conference being Sandusky. He kept a journal of this expedition, which was published entire in the collections of the Massachusetts historical society (series iii., vol. v.). Accompanying this is an engraving of an outline sketch taken by a British officer present at the meeting of the Indians on Buffalo creek, representing Randolph, Pickering, and Lincoln, General Chapin, several Quakers, two British officers, the Indian orator, and the interpreter. He was also a member of the Massachusetts convention that ratified the United States constitution and president of the Massachusetts society of the Cincinnati from its organization until his death.

He was much esteemed by General Washington, who presented him with a set of epaulettes and sword knots, which he had received from a French officer. He devoted his last years to literary and scientific pursuits, and was a member of the American academy of arts and sciences, and of the Massachusetts historical society. Harvard gave him the degree of M.A. in 1780. His correspondence during the adoption of the Federal constitution was large and important, including letters from the leading patriots, and a letter from Dr. David Ramsey, the historian, dated Charleston, 19 January, 1788, gives an interesting view of the relations then existing between New England and South Carolina. While secretary of war he wrote long letters to his son, which he intended to be read at the meetings of the academy, containing the results of his observations of the physical features of the south. A paper upon his belief that trees receive nourishment from the atmosphere instead of the earth, and one on the ravages of worms in trees, were published in Cary's "American Museum." Many of his writings appeared about 1790, including a paper on the migration of fishes, in an appendix to vol. iii. of Dr. Belknap's "History of New Hampshire," and three essays, published in the collections of the Massachusetts historical society: "Observations on the Climate, Soil, and Value of the Eastern Counties in the District of Maine"; "On the Religious State of the Eastern Counties"; and on the "Indian Tribes, the Causes of their Decrease, their Claims, etc." His portrait was painted by Henry Sargent, a copy of which was presented to the Massachusetts historical society. (See his life by Francis Bowen in Sparks's "American Biography,"' second series, Boston, 1847.)



Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM


Start your search on Benjamin Lincoln.

The Congressional Evolution of the United States Henry Middleton

Unauthorized Site: This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected, associated with or authorized by the individual, family, friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated sites that are related to this subject will be hyper linked below upon submission and Evisum, Inc. review.

Research Links

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Constitution of the United States of America

    Copyright© 2000 by Evisum Inc.TM. All rights reserved.
    Evisum Inc.TM Privacy Policy

  • Search:

    About Us



    Image Use

    Please join us in our mission to incorporate The Congressional Evolution of the United States of America discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The People Click Here


    Historic Documents

    Articles of Association

    Articles of Confederation 1775

    Articles of Confederation

    Article the First

    Coin Act

    Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence

    Emancipation Proclamation

    Gettysburg Address

    Monroe Doctrine

    Northwest Ordinance

    No Taxation Without Representation

    Thanksgiving Proclamations

    Mayflower Compact

    Treaty of Paris 1763

    Treaty of Paris 1783

    Treaty of Versailles

    United Nations Charter

    United States In Congress Assembled

    US Bill of Rights

    United States Constitution

    US Continental Congress

    US Constitution of 1777

    US Constitution of 1787

    Virginia Declaration of Rights


    Historic Events

    Battle of New Orleans

    Battle of Yorktown

    Cabinet Room

    Civil Rights Movement

    Federalist Papers

    Fort Duquesne

    Fort Necessity

    Fort Pitt

    French and Indian War

    Jumonville Glen

    Manhattan Project

    Stamp Act Congress

    Underground Railroad

    US Hospitality

    US Presidency

    Vietnam War

    War of 1812

    West Virginia Statehood

    Woman Suffrage

    World War I

    World War II


    Is it Real?

    Declaration of

    Digital Authentication
    Click Here


    America’s Four Republics
    The More or Less United States

    Continental Congress
    U.C. Presidents

    Peyton Randolph

    Henry Middleton

    Peyton Randolph

    John Hancock


    Continental Congress
    U.S. Presidents

    John Hancock

    Henry Laurens

    John Jay

    Samuel Huntington


    Constitution of 1777
    U.S. Presidents

    Samuel Huntington

    Samuel Johnston
    Elected but declined the office

    Thomas McKean

    John Hanson

    Elias Boudinot

    Thomas Mifflin

    Richard Henry Lee

    John Hancock
    Chairman David Ramsay]

    Nathaniel Gorham

    Arthur St. Clair

    Cyrus Griffin


    Constitution of 1787
    U.S. Presidents

    George Washington 

    John Adams
    Federalist Party

    Thomas Jefferson
    Republican* Party

    James Madison 
    Republican* Party

    James Monroe
    Republican* Party

    John Quincy Adams
    Republican* Party
    Whig Party

    Andrew Jackson
    Republican* Party
    Democratic Party

    Martin Van Buren
    Democratic Party

    William H. Harrison
    Whig Party

    John Tyler
    Whig Party

    James K. Polk
    Democratic Party

    David Atchison**
    Democratic Party

    Zachary Taylor
    Whig Party

    Millard Fillmore
    Whig Party

    Franklin Pierce
    Democratic Party

    James Buchanan
    Democratic Party

    Abraham Lincoln 
    Republican Party

    Jefferson Davis***
    Democratic Party

    Andrew Johnson
    Republican Party

    Ulysses S. Grant 
    Republican Party

    Rutherford B. Hayes
    Republican Party

    James A. Garfield
    Republican Party

    Chester Arthur 
    Republican Party

    Grover Cleveland
    Democratic Party

    Benjamin Harrison
    Republican Party

    Grover Cleveland 
    Democratic Party

    William McKinley
    Republican Party

    Theodore Roosevelt
    Republican Party

    William H. Taft 
    Republican Party

    Woodrow Wilson
    Democratic Party

    Warren G. Harding 
    Republican Party

    Calvin Coolidge
    Republican Party

    Herbert C. Hoover
    Republican Party

    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Democratic Party

    Harry S. Truman
    Democratic Party

    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Republican Party

    John F. Kennedy
    Democratic Party

    Lyndon B. Johnson 
    Democratic Party 

    Richard M. Nixon 
    Republican Party

    Gerald R. Ford 
    Republican Party

    James Earl Carter, Jr. 
    Democratic Party

    Ronald Wilson Reagan 
    Republican Party

    George H. W. Bush
    Republican Party 

    William Jefferson Clinton
    Democratic Party

    George W. Bush 
    Republican Party

    Barack H. Obama
    Democratic Party

    Please Visit

    Forgotten Founders
    Norwich, CT

    Annapolis Continental
    Congress Society

    U.S. Presidency
    & Hospitality

    © Stan Klos





    Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum