The Society Of the Cincinnati in The State of Connecticut

The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776-1828. Left: Jonathan Trumbull Jr. (1740-1809) - Speaker of the Us House of Representatives. Right: Jonathan Trumbull Sr. (1710-1785) - Governor of Connecticut
The Battle of Bunker's Hill, June 17, 1775. Right: William Hull (1753-1825) - Lieutenant-Colonel in the Continental Army
The Resignation of General Washington, December 23, 1783. Left: Thomas Y. Seymour (1757-1811) - Lieutenant in the 2nd Continental Regiment of the Dragoons
The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, January 1777

Captain Abijah Savage

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Birth:

2 July 1744 in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut. Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection), Middletown Vital Records 1651-1854, p. 172

Death:

9 June 1825. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920, Volume 22 Cromwell, Cromwell First Congregational Church, 1715-1875, p. 132

Marriage:

Martha Strickland Torrey; 20 August 1765. Rev. Frederic W. Bailey, ed., Early Connecticut Marriages as Found on Ancient Church Records, Prior to 1800, Book 6, p. 94.

Children:

14; Charles Collard Adams, Middletown Upper Houses: A History of the North Society of Middletown, Grafton Press, 1908, p. 643.

Education:

Unknown

Military:

French and Indian War, 1761-1763. Second Lieutenant of 4th Company, Spencer’s Regiment for Quebec Expedition, captured 31 December 1775 (p. 91); Captain of Colonel Henry Sherburne’s Additional Continental Regiment, appointed 25 February 1777 following his release from British captivity in a prisoner exchange; retired 1 June 1780 (p.253); Connecticut Cincinnati Society, 1783 (p. 375). Henry P. Johnston, ed. The Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service during the War of the Revolution, 1775 – 1783, Hartford, 1889.

Cincinnati:

Founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati.

Occupation:

Shipwright (Adams, p. 643).

Discussion:

Following in his father’s footsteps, Abijah, at the age of seventeen, joined the British forces with three of his brothers, and participated in the French and Indian War from 1761 to 1763. Returning home, Abijah married Martha Torrey in 1765; the couple celebrated the birth of the first of many children, Joseph, named for Abijah’s father, in 1767.

On 1 May 1775, following Concord, Abijah joined the militia surrounding Boston and, as a result of his earlier experience, was appointed a lieutenant in General Spencer’s 2d Regiment. Washington assumed command of the militia forces soon after the Battle of Bunker Hill and began planning a two-pronged invasion of Canada and capture of Quebec to be conducted by Montgomery and Arnold. Lieutenant Savage answered the call for volunteers and joined Arnold’s expedition, subsequently assigned to Captain Oliver Hanchett’s company. The force departed Cambridge and sailed from Newburyport on 19 September to the Maine coast; a historical marker in Danvers, Massachusetts commemorates Arnold’s expedition. By the time that Arnold reached the Saint Lawrence River in November, his force which numbered 1,300 when it departed Cambridge, was reduced to 600 starving men. Finally assaulting Quebec on December 31, the battle was a devastating loss for the Americans; Montgomery was killed, Arnold was wounded, and 350 men were captured, including Lieutenant Savage. He remained a prisoner until January 1777, when he was released in a prisoner exchange after thirteen months of captivity. In March, he was appointed a Captain in Colonel Sherburne’s Regiment of the Continental Army. The 1778 Muster Rolls of Sherburne’s Regiment indicate that Abijah Savage was serving as a company commander. The Continental Congress established this regiment as an “additional” regiment in reserve, formed out of companies from several colonies. One of Captain Savage’s duties during this period was service as “an officer in the guard” of French general, Marquis de Lafayette.

Eight letters from Captain Savage, all written during the war, are found in George Washington’s papers. Most written while he served as a quartermaster are requesting supplies; the letter of May 1780, composed in Morristown, New Jersey stands out as it reflects the sorry state of the Continental Army. His regiment had been disbanded, and Captain Savage remained without support or any form of compensation. He requests discharge to attend to the needs of his family.

Following the war, Abijah was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati. In 1792, he received land on the Hocking River in Athens County, Ohio, in payment for his service. His daughter Chloe and her husband, Elisha Hurlbut, relocated there. When Lafayette visited the United States in 1824, Abijah Savage entertained him in his home in Middletown; he died the following year.

Biography of Captain Abijah Savage by Colonel (Ret.) Michael J. Blyth.