Samuel Blachley Webb was born into the family of Joseph and Mehitabel Webb of Wethersfield, Connecticut, on December 3, 1753.1 He was suitably tutored by his step-father, Silas Deane, and joined him in business ventures as a young adult.  During the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, Webb was also introduced into the world of politics by his step-father, by functioning as Deane’s secretary while on the local Committee of Correspondence and during Deane’s term as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1774.2 

Incensed by the acts of the British Army in Massachusetts, Samuel Blachley Webb volunteered for military duty as a first lieutenant of a local light infantry company.  His unit marched for Boston in May of 1775 and were met with a “Cannonadeing [that] flew as thick as Hail Stones” at the Battle of Bunker Hill.3 Through Deane’s influence, Lieutenant Webb was straight away appointed an aide-de-camp to Major General Israel Putnam on June 22, 1775, with the rank of Major.4  Webb performed in this position for a year until he was requested by General George Washington’s military secretary, Joseph Reed, as an assistant.5  Expressing some reservation with Webb, the Commander-in-Chief nonetheless granted Reed his choice and Webb was named an aide-de-camp in General Orders for June 21, 1776.6  Samuel Blachley Webb served in Washington’s “military family” through the New York and New Jersey campaigns of 1776-1777, performing his duties “with fidelity, Integrity & Capacity.7  His time with the Commander-in-Chief was brief, however.  On January 11, 1777, he was selected to command one of the Continental Army’s “additional regiments.”8  Webb was captured during an unsuccessful raid on a supply depot on Long Island, New York on December 10, 1777.9  He languished as a prisoner of war on parole for the next three years and returned to duty at the head of the 3rd Connecticut Regiment, serving for the remainder of the war.10 

After the War for American Independence, Samuel Blachley Webb easily established himself as a merchant in New York City.  There, he served as one of the “Masters of Ceremony” during the inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States on April 30, 1789, an event he described as attended by the “greatest concourse of Citizens that I ever beheld”.11  Afterwards, Webb lobbied the new chief executive “for an office that will be permanent and honorable,” but was unable to settle upon a federal posting that would keep him close to his fiancée.12  In early September of 1790, Samuel Blachley Webb married Catherine Hegeboom and relocated to her family’s farm in Claverack, New York.  There, the couple raised a family and, after years of declining health, Samuel Blachley Webb passed away on December 3, 1807.13 

 

Samuel K. Fore

Harlan Crow Library

 

Notes:

1.  Webb, J. Watson.  Reminiscences of Gen’l Samuel B. Webb of the Revolutionary Army…  (New York: Globe Stationary & Printing Co., 1882), p. 89 & Appendix, pp. v-vi.

2. “Biographical Sketch of Samuel Blachley Webb” in Ford, Worthington C., ed.  Correspondence and Journals of Samuel Blachley Webb.  Vol. III, 1783-1806. (New York: [Lancaster, Pa.: Wickersham Press], 1893), pp. 261-262.

3.  Titus Homer, Middletown, Conn., May 22 & 28, 1775, to Silas Deane.   Trumbull, J. Hammond, ed.  “Correspondence of Silas Deane, Delegate to the Congress at Philadelphia, 1774-1776,” Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society No. 2 (1870), pp. 240 & 243 & John Chester & Samuel Blachley Webb to Joseph Webb, June 19, 1775.  Ford, Worthington C., ed.  Correspondence and Journals of Samuel Blachley Webb.  Vol. I, 1772-1777 (New York: [Lancaster, Pa.: Wickersham Press], 1893), pp. 63-69.

4.  Silas Deane to Joseph Trumbull, “June 22d. [1775].  Smith, Paul H., ed.  Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789:  Vol. I, August 1774-August 1775. (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1976), p. 533. & “General Orders, 22 July 1775,” Chase, Philander D., ed. The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, Vol. I: 16 June-15 September 1775. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1985), pp. 153-156.

5.  Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Reed to George Washington, 3 March 1776,” Chase, Philander D., ed. The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, Vol. III: 1 January-31 March 1776. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988), pp. 406-408.

6.  See “George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Reed, 25 March 1776,” Chase, Philander D., ed. The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, Vol. III: 1 January-31 March 1776. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988), pp. 536-538 for Washington’s reservations, & “General Orders, 21 June 1776,” Chase, Philander D., ed. The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, Vol. V: 16 June-12 August 1776. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993), pp. 61-62.

7.  George Washington to Colonel Samuel Blachley Webb, 4 July 1783,” George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

8.  Commissions to the Colonels of the Sixteen Additional Continental Regiments, 11 January 1777,” Grizzard, Frank E., Jr., ed. The George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, Vol. VIII: 6 January-27 March 1777.  (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998), pp. 38-39.

9.  Colonel Samuel Blachley Webb to General Gorge Washington, 29 December 1777,” Lengel, Edward G., ed. The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, Vol. XIII: 26 December 1777-28 February 1778. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2003), pp. 53-54.

10.  The Maryland Gazette Friday, December 1, 1780; Wright, Robert K., Jr.  The Continental Army.  (Washington, D.C.: U. S. Army Center of Military History, 1989), pp. 234 & 238; & Samuel B. Webb to Richard Henry Lee, 7 March 1785.  Papers of the Continental Congress (M247, i78, v24, p507).

11.  “Order for Conducting the Ceremonial for the Inauguration of the President, April 27, 1789” George Washington Papers, Series 2, Letterbooks 1754 to 1799: Letterbook 25, April 6, 1789 - March 4, 1791, Library of Congress & “Samuel Blachley Webb to Catherine Hogeboom, May 3, 1789” Ford, Worthington C., ed.  Correspondence and Journals of Samuel Blachley Webb.  Vol. III, 1783-1806. (New York: [Lancaster, Pa.: Wickersham Press], 1893), pp. 128-129.

12.  Samuel Blachley Webb to Catherine Hogeboom, June 7, September 6 & 27, 1789.  Ford, Worthington C., ed.  Correspondence and Journals of Samuel Blachley Webb.  Vol. III, 1783-1806. (New York: [Lancaster, Pa.: Wickersham Press], 1893), pp. 133-134, 139 & 141.

13.  Webb, J. Watson.  Reminiscences of Gen’l Samuel B. Webb of the Revolutionary Army…  (New York: Globe Stationary & Printing Co., 1882), p. 32.

Further Reading:

Lefkowitz, Arthur S. George Washington’s Indispensable Men: The 32 Aides-de-Camp Who Helped Win American Independence. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2003.

Webb, Samuel Blachley.  Correspondence and Journals of Samuel Blachley Webb.   Collected & Edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford.  3 volumes.  New York: [Lancaster, Pa.: Wickersham Press], 1893.

Webb, J. Watson.  Webb, J. Watson.  Reminiscences of Gen’l Samuel B. Webb of the Revolutionary Army…  New York: Globe Stationary & Printing Co., 1882.

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