Maj Epaphras Bull 1748-1781Leave a Comment
Biography of Major Epaphras Bull April 7, 2012 by Harold F. Hattier, Jr.
Birth: 03 Feb. 1748, Hartford (Hartford) CT., [Find-A-Grave.com].
Death: 30 Sept. 1781; Williamsburg,(an independent city, VA,[ FEH.p. 105, Find-A-Grave.com].
Marriage: Deborah Coleman [FEH,.p 105; has no date or location].
Birth: 1754 [died age 26 per FEH p.105]; d. 16 July 1780, Hartford, CT [FEH p 105]. Children: [Per FEH p.105: 1. John Coleman b.c. 1776; dy; 2. Deborah b.c. 1776; m. Moses Chase; 3. Epaphras Wadsworth b. 7 Jan. 1779; m. Mary Wells of New Milford; see p. 677].
Education: Details are unknown, yet his Journal and various letters indicate he was articulate.
Military: He was a member of “Committee of War” for expedition against Ft. Ticonderoga; [“Connecticut Men in the Revolutionary War,B. – The Ticonderoga Enterprise,” ancestry.com’] made Capt.in Connecticut Light Horse Militia [Heitman “Historical Register, Officers of the Continental Army”, p. 131]. Appointed Capt. Of Second Continental Dragoons, Jan. 10. 1777 [Heitman p. 131]. Appointed Major of the First Continental Dragoons [Heitman, p. 131] died 30 Sept. 1781 of wounds received at the Siege of Yorktown [Find-A-Grave.com; Heitman says Oct. 1781,. P.131.].
Cincinnati: Died in Service prior to the formation of the Society of the Cincinnati: never represented by a Hereditary Member.
Occupation: Specifics of his occupation prior to the Revolutionary War are unknown. However, it appears that he was active in civic affairs in Hartford, CT.
Discussion: Following hostilities at Lexington, the control of Lake George and Lake Champlain were regarded as necessary by the assembly at Hartford for the protection of New York and New England, against British invasion from Canada. In Connecticut, Epaphras Bull was one of a party constituted as a “Committee of War” for an expedition against Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point; [Connecticut Men in the Revolutionary War. B. – The Ticonderoga Enterprise,” ancestry.com]. Under the command of Colonel Ethan Allen, Epaphras Bull took part in the surprise attack and capture of Fort Ticonderoga, on May 10, 1775 [Proceedings of the Vermont Historical Society, Montpelier: Printed for the Society, 1872, Ancestry.com]. While awaiting the arrival of more men to take Crown Point, Col. Allen appointed Epaphras Bull to take charge of some of the prisoners and escort them to Hartford. [The Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, Volume VII, July 1948, Number 2, “Journal of Epaphras Bull from Stockbridge, Mass., to Fort Ticonderoga and return to Connecticut, May 1775”]. In November, 1776, Epaphras Bull was appointed Commissary of prisoners of war in Connecticut, [“Genealogy of the Puritans”, Royal R. Hinman, p. 396]. In the same year, he was made Captain in the Connecticut Light Horse Militia [Francis Heitman, “Historical Register, Officers of the Continental Army, New, Revised, and Enlarged Edition of 1914”, p. 131]. In May, 1777, the State Legislature appointed Esekial Williams, Esq. as Commissary, succeeding Epaphras Bull who was then serving in the Continental Army as a Captain of the Second Continental Dragoons, having been so appointed on January 10, 1777 [Genealogy of the Puritans, p. 398; Heitman, p. 131]. This cavalry regiment, under the command of Colonel Elisha Sheldon and known as “Sheldon’s Horse,” was one of the most colorful cavalry regiments of the War of the Revolution. Under Col. Sheldon, Captain Bull served in the victorious campaign against British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga. He also led a portion of the Second Dragoons at the battles of Trenton and Princeton. [www.dragoons.info/past/]. In August and September, 1778, Captain Bull was assigned surveillance of ship movements in Long Island Sound. In a series of eight letters to General George Washington, he apprised the General of the arrival and departure of British war ships and transports within or near the Sound. This reconnaissance was conducted from points on the coast below White Plains, N.Y. This, combined with other intelligence, assisted General Washington in assessing his original objectives at New York City and in recognizing the strengths and objectives of the British, [“The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, July-September, 1778, Volume 16,” edited by David R. Roth, pages 379, 385, 392, 393, 394, 408, 409, 425, 511]. On August 1, 1779, Capt. Epaphras Bull was appointed Major of the 1st Continental Dragoons [Heitman, p. 131]. He died September 30, 1781 at Williamsburg, Virginia of wounds received at the siege of Yorktown. He was possibly buried in a plot in the Governors Palace Garden Cemetery, [Find-A-Grave.com]. This officer, who served throughout eight years of the Revolution has remained unrepresented in the Society of the Cincinnati.