Colonel John Nixon’s 4th Massachusetts Regiment’s Revolutionary War Manuscript Payroll Abstract May 1776
May 1776-Dated Early Revolutionary War Period, Manuscript Document Signed, “Capt. Adam Wheeler,” during the “Siege of Boston” Payroll Abstract Roster for Capt. Wheeler's Company in the 4th Massachusetts Regt., Continental Army to Colonel John Nixon (later Brigadier General), Very Fine.
Historic and important Continental Army Revolutionary War Payroll Roster, headed: "An Abstract for the Wages due to the Men in Capt. Wheeler's Company in the 4th Regt. who inlisted (sic) before the first of Jany. & were not in the Service the last Campaign” (Siege of Boston Period - April 1775 to March 1776). Completely Handwritten in the field, 1 page, legal folio, measuring 7.5” x 12.5” and addressed to Colonel John Nixon (1733-1808) who personally adds his docket notation on this Documents blank verso dated May 1776.
Fifteen Continental Army soldiers are listed, along with the number of days of pay due to each, their home towns, date enlisted, and amount due, Signed at bottom by “Capt. Adam Wheeler.” The far right central margin edge has an old repair affecting some of the last digits of some of the pay figures with a couple of expected trivial fold intersection pinholes. Overall good eye appeal and attractive for display, well written in easily readable rich brown on period laid paper and boldly signed. Docket on verso appears to be in Colonel (later Brigadier General) John Nixon’s hand and reads, in full: “Capt. Wheeler’s Abstracts - May 1776 £25.8.0 - Ext. for Men Inlisted before Jany”.
The 4th Massachusetts Regiment also known as 3rd Continental Regiment or Learned's Regiment, was raised on April 23, 1775, by Colonel Ebenezer Learned outside Boston, Massachusetts. The Regiment saw action at the Battle of Bunker Hill, New York Campaign, Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Saratoga, Battle of Monmouth and the Battle of Rhode Island. The Regiment was officially disbanded on November 3, 1783, at West Point, New York. The Siege of Boston (April 19, 1775 – March 17, 1776) was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War. New England militiamen prevented the movement by land of the British Army garrisoned in what was then the peninsular City of Boston, Massachusetts. In March 1776, Henry Knox artillery fortified Dorchester Heights (which overlooked Boston and its harbor), thereby threatening the British supply lifeline. The British commander William Howe saw the British position as indefensible and withdrew the British forces in Boston to the British stronghold at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on March 17 (celebrated today as Evacuation Day). John Nixon’s 4th Continental was formed by consolidating the remnants of Thompson's Company, Danielson's Regiment, with that of Nixon's Regiment. Colonel John Nixon commanded this regiment until August 9, 1776, the date on which he was promoted to Brigadier General.
John Nixon (March 1, 1727 – March 24, 1815) was an American brigadier general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
He was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, on March 1, 1727, to Christopher and Mary Nixon. In 1755 he served in the Massachusetts militia during Sir William Johnson's campaign against the French during the French and Indian War.
In 1775 Nixon had moved to Sudbury, Massachusetts, and was a captain of the town's Minutemen whom he led at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. He and his men fought at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, his unit was one of the last to leave the field. After the battle Nixon was promoted to colonel of the 6th Massachusetts Regiment. Col. Nixon's regiment was placed into Gen. John Sullivan's brigade and took part in the New York and New Jersey campaign during 1776.
In August 1776, Nixon was promoted to brigadier general, and he commanded a brigade consisting of the 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th, and 8th Massachusetts Regiments. He led his brigade in the Battle of Harlem Heights and later in the Saratoga Campaign, when it was reinforced by Cogswell's, Gage's and Mays's regiments of Militia. Nixon's brigade was involved in the Battle of Bemis Heights in October 1777, and took part in the final assault; during this attack a cannonball passed so close to his head that his sight and hearing were affected the rest of his life. Nixon resigned his commission September 12, 1780.
The Massachusetts Line was the name given to those units within the Continental Army that were assigned to Massachusetts at various times by the Continental Congress during the American Revolutionary War.
These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. Line regiments were assigned to a particular state, which was then financially responsible for the maintenance (staffing and supplying) of the regiment. The concept of the line was also particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of Brigadier General were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.
The size of the Massachusetts Line varied from as many as 27 active regiments (at the outset of the war) to four (at its end). For most of the war after the Siege of Boston (April 1775 to March 1776) almost all of these units were deployed outside Massachusetts, serving as far north as Quebec City, as far west as present-day central Upstate New York, and as far south as Yorktown, Virginia. Massachusetts line troops were involved in most of the war's major battles north of Chesapeake Bay, and were present at the decisive Siege of Yorktown in 1781. Massachusetts General officers of the line included: Major Generals Artemas Ward, William Heath, and Benjamin Lincoln, and Brigadier Generals John Glover and John Nixon.