I was a chaplain supporting the troops, and a diarist who recorded many stories from the Revolution.
When I was born in Greenwich in Cumberland County in 1752, my father was an officer in the British Army. My uncle was the minister in the Presbyterian Church, and I went to live with him. I studied at the College of New Jersey in Princeton and was licensed to preach in 1773.
In 1774, after the Boston Tea Party, we held a Greenwich Tea Party on December 22, in which we publicly burned some tea as a protest against Parliament’s taxes. In 1775, I married Ann Riddle and we moved to Woodbury where I served as the minister. In June, 1776, I was named chaplain for a brigade of New Jersey state militia that was defending New York City. After our retreat to Fort Washington, I wrote in my diary that I read Thomas Paine’s pamphlet The Crisis and found his sentiments to be “pretty just, but illy-drest, and rather plain.”
Later, in 1777 at Valley Forge, when I was a chaplain for the New Jersey Continental troops, I was happy to deliver a discourse of thanks when we learned that France had joined in alliance with us.
After my discharge from the army, I returned to service as minister at Woodbury, and at Blackwood. I then taught at Princeton. Finally, I was appointed to be the chaplain to the United States Navy. This brought me to Washington, where I lived until my death in 1823.