2nd Lt Solomon Makepeace 1753-1776Leave a Comment
Biography of Lt. Solomon Makepeace Feb-12-2012 by J. Michael Phelps
Birth: 24 Sept. 1753, Warren (Worcester) MA [Warren MA VR Births p. 47; William Makepeace,
Genealogy of the Makepeace Families in the United States (Boston, David Clapp 1858) p. 85]
Death: 6 Oct. 1776, prob. at the “hospital” set up in the Old Dutch Church at New Utrecht (Brooklyn) NY
[Charles H. Lewis, Cut Off (Westminster MD, Heritage Books 2009) p. 151]; “lost his life in the
Battle of Long Island Sept. ___ 1776 in the 23rd year of his age” [Warren MA VR Deaths p. 181]
Marriage: Never married.
Children: Never sired any children.
Education: As a schoolmaster, he obviously was well read but details of his education are unknown.
Military: Sgt. 8th CT Reg. 10 July 1775 [CT Adjutants General, Records of Service of Connecticut Men in
the War of the Revolution (Hartford CT, 1889) p. 87, hereinafter “CMWR”]; Ensign, 8th CT Reg.
10 Oct. 1775 [Lewis, op.cit. p. 35]; 2nd Lt. 17th CT Reg. 1 Jan. 1776 [CMWR p. 101]; wounded 27
Aug. 1776 at Battle of Brooklyn; captured as the result of his wounds [CMWR p. 101]; died of his
wounds about six weeks later (6 Oct. 1776) while still imprisoned [Lewis, op.cit. p. 151].
Cincinnati: Died in Service prior to the formation of the Society of the Cincinnati; first represented by a current
Hereditary Member who joined in 2000.
Occupation: Schoolmaster, Stafford (Tolland) CT 1775 [Charles H. Lewis, Cut Off (Westminster MD,
Heritage Books 2009) p. 34]
Discussion: On August 27, 1776, the 17th CT Regiment was assigned the task of capturing Battle Hill, a one of the highest points on the entire battlefield and thus a key strategic objective. The British regulars had reached and secured the top of Battle Hill before the Continental forces came onto the scene. However, Lt. Makepeace and the other members of Huntington’s Regiment charged up the hill, sustaining withering file from the British. They succeeded in dislodging the British from the vital hilltop and later repelled at least two furious counterattacks. Around 11:00 a.m. the nearby Continental units under Lord Stirling (Gen. William Alexander) heard shots fired from Flatbush Pass and realized the main component of the British army had circled behind them. Lord Stirling took half of Col. William Smallwood’s Maryland Regiment to provide cover for the retreat of the Patriot troops. However, for unknown reasons, the 17th Regiment, still holding Battle Hill as ordered, never was informed that Stirling had withdrawn. Not until nearly noon did these brave soldiers learn they were completely surrounded and cut off from the other Continental units. Despite fighting valiantly while trying to escape, most of these stalwart Patriots were captured and imprisoned. How and at what point in the battle Lt. Makepeace was wounded is unknown. However, the diary of his fellow officer Jabez Fitch, who also was captured, made it clear that Lt. Makepeace was among those captured. On September 5, 1776, they both were moved onto the Mentor, a filthy, fetid transport for cattle and other supplies converted into a prison ship. The British often were abusive towards their American prisoners. Many Patriot officers and men had been stripped of most of their clothes, with some having neither britches, stockings or shoes. Food supplies were inadequate. With serious wounds and grossly-inadequate care, Lt. Solomon Makepeace uttered his last breath on Sunday, 6 October 1776, probably at the British prison “hospital” at New Utrecht. He deserved a better fate. Due to the fact that he never married or had any children, he remained unrepresented in the Society of the Cincinnati for 224 years after his death (until 2000).