Saturday, May 7, 2016

Gen-4: Edward Prall

Edward Prall's bio is long enough to merit it's own post.

iii. Captain Edward Prall1846 was born about 1734 in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey.47 [possibly 23 March 1734] He died about Jul 1803 at the age of 69 in Harford Co., Maryland.29,48 He had his estate probated on 4 Aug 1803 in Harford Co., Maryland.29,48 Letters of Administration granted to Thomas Jeffrey on that date. Edward had his estate probated on 31 Aug 1803 in Harford Co., Maryland.48 Power of Attorney transfered from Thomas Jeffrey to Thomas Prall. Edward Prall was the third son of Aaron and Mary [Whittaker] Prall. "The Prall Family" [p. 49] gives his birth date [no source cited] as 23 March 1754. This would make Edward about 21 at the outbreak of the Revolution, a bit young for someone who was as actively involved in the "treasonous operations" that consumed Edward Prall's time in the 1760s and early 1770s. That also means he would have been born when his mother was 54 - extremely unlikely! [An Edward Prall, Jr. is also listed in the Maryland Revolutionary records, it is believed that this is a typographical error as no other Edward Prall of age has been located in Maryland at the time.] 1734 is a more reasonable estimate for Edward's birth. [A '5' can easily be misread as a '3' in many styles of handwriting.] At the age of 40, he would be more in line with the ages of the men who involved themselves in the work of colonial rebel leaders. [Two of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were 26, most of the others were in their late 30s or older.] Of course, he might be considered a little old to be serving in the Maryland Line in his 40s. There were men of his age and older who were serving the American and British causes on the front lines.

Edward was most likely named for his maternal great-grandfather, Edward Whittaker. He grew up on the family farm located west of the Neshanic River and north of the Old River Road in Amwell Township. Maternal grandfather, James Whittaker had purchased a farm near Larison's Corner in 1745, but may have lived with the Pralls since he was an elderly man. Edward may have been sent to Kingston as an apprentice to one of the Whittakers, or at least to receive an education. Edward wrote and witnessed his mother's will on 20 September 1760. The document followed the English style commonly found in Kingston records, rather than documents with a Dutch influence, more common to the region. Whether through family connections or other means, Edward nonetheless received a better education than his brothers and sisters. He also witnessed the will of William Rittenhouse on 27 August 1761. Rittenhouse was the grandfather of Elizabeth Rittenhouse, who would marry Edward's nephew Cornelius Prall, Jr. thirty years later. He also took the inventory of his mother's estate following her death in November. Edward and John Stout signed the papers and presented them to the court on 9 November 1761.

At some point, either while residing in New Jersey or in Maryland, Edward Prall joined the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. He was known as "Worshipful Brother Edward" in his later years, indicating that he was a Past Master of his lodge. Many prominent men of the merchant and planter class were Masons.

As Edward Prall approached adulthood, Colonial America fell into turmoil. The French and Indian War broke out in 1756 and lasted until 1763. To help pay for the war activities in the colonies, the British Parliament passed the Sugar Act [taxes on sugar, textiles, and other goods and doubled duties on goods reshipped from England], and Currency Act [prohibiting the colonies from issuing legal tender paper money] in 1764. 1765 saw the passing of the Stamp Act [taxes on paper goods such as newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, etc.], which directly affected merchants like Prall, and the Quartering Act [forcing colonists to provide shelter for British troops].  Representatives of nine colonies met in New York City as the "Stamp Act Congress" to formally protest the actions of Parliament. The Stamp Act would be repealed before the year was out. James Otis of Boston rallied opposition with his speech against "taxation without representation" and Patrick Henry stirred emotions with his "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" speech in Virginia.  Parliament passed the Townshend Acts [taxes on paper, tea, glass, lead, paint, and other imported goods] in 1767. Boycotts and protests were becoming frequent in colonial cities. In 1769 the Royal Governor of Virginia dissolved the colonial legislature's House of Burgesses, which reconvened in a Williamsburg tavern. In 1770 tensions between protesting colonists and British soldiers resulted in six deaths that became known as the "Boston Massacre" and protests in Rhode Island led to the capture and burning of the British ship, the Gaspee. The Tea Tax was passed in 1773 and led to the "Boston Tea Party" in December.

By 1761 Edward had formed a partnership with fellow trader Richard Reading. Richard's father, John, was a prominent surveyor and man of influence in the area. Reading had received from his father 446 acres fronting the Delaware River. There were several buildings on the tract including a stone store that was about a mile from Howell's Ferry. Trenton was 21 miles away and Philadelphia was 32 miles away.

In 1763 Edward was paid £18 by Dennis Woolverton, administrator, from the estate of Charles Woolverton [a local peddler and landowner north of Rosemont who died 7 October 1763] "for cash lent the dec'd at Sundry times to enable him to carry on his business." The following year on 13 March, Edward attended the Amwell Township Meeting held at the home of John Ringo. He was elected town clerk, a position that he would hold for more than two and a half years.

Reading and Prall incurred a few debts that they were unable to pay. Edward borrowed £3.19.8 from his cousin Peter Prall and was unable to settle the debt until 3 April 1779, by which time interest increased the amount to £5.2.10. The partners also were unable to collect payments from some of the transactions, which included extending credit and personal loans. Over the years, their names would appear in the records of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas held at Trenton.

In a case that was initiated by an incident from 19 April 1761 and settled on 15 September 1764, Dirck Lefforts of Trenton sued the partners over nonpayment of a hogshead [100-140 gallons] of rum. The rum was valued by R&P at £19.8.8. Lefforts demanded payment several times and finally took them to court, demanding £30 for the rum. The traders refused to pay such a large amount. In February 1764 a twelve man jury judged that they should pay £22.2.8 plus court costs of £9.7.6.

Robert Gilbert Livingston, a prominent Hunterdon Co. land owner sued Reading and Prall for £80 and court costs during the February Term of 1764. By the August Term, Livingston was asking for £51.2.9, indicating that part of the debt had been paid. The sheriff reported at the October session that he had confiscated goods from the defendants to cover the debt, interest, and court costs. However, the goods were still in his possessions for want of buyers. The case was closed at the February 1765 session.

The following notice appeared in the Pennsylvania Journal  on 25 September 1766: "All persons indebted to Richard Reading or to the partnership of Reading and Prall, by bond, bill, note, or book debt, are hearby desired to pay their respective debts by the twentieth day of October next, to Joseph Reed, jun. of Trentown, who is empowered to receive them. Those who neglect this notice, must expect to be sued for the same immediately after that time. John Cox Jun., Thomas Smith - Assignees"

Edward enlisted the services of attorney Jasper Smith to help collect accounts on the "diverse goods, wares, and merchandise which was ordered and delivered" to local taverns, inns, stores, and local residents.

On 29 November 1766, the Amwell Township meeting was again held at the home of John Ringo. It was recorded into the minutes that "Whereas Edward Prall, a chosen clerk for the Township of Amwell in the County of Hunterdon is rendered unable to serve by his removal out of the said Town, John Ringo is appointed to fill the position until the next meeting."

Edward had moved to Trenton and taken up residence at the Indian King Inn. The inn was located on the west side of North Warren Street, facing east Hanover and owned by Charity Brittain, the young widow of Joseph Brittain. Mrs. Brittain's inn furnished meat, drink, and lodging. Edward made special arrangements to have his washing done and occasionally stabling and pasturing his horse. There is no record of Edward's dealings in Trenton, but he may have continued trading with local merchants.

After Edward left the Indian King Inn late in 1768, Charity Brittain sued him for non-payment of £36.10.4. Prall appeared in court and admitted that he owed her money, but not that amount. Charity acknowledged a debt of £23, but felt she was entitled to more because of damage inflicted upon her by his promises and assumptions. Edward hired an attorney and wrote out an affidavit stating that he would abide by the ruling of the court. He signed and sealed the document. The final judgment against him was £44.19.10. Perhaps it was worth it to him to further escape Charity's wrath.

Edward Prall was last recorded in Hunterdon County records on 26 September 1769, when the executor of the will of Johannes Williamson, dec'd. paid him 10 shillings. Edward's attorney would represent him in unresolved cases in 1770 and 1771. Edward Prall was on his way to Harford County, Maryland and about to take an extremely active role in the birth of a new nation.

The partnership of Reading and Prall was dissolved and the gentlemen had gone their separate ways. Richard Reading, a Loyalist, after selling his property in Hunterdon and Sussex Counties, eventually made his way to Canada where he was reportedly murdered in 1781. Edward Prall, a patriot, had made his move south to Maryland. He would quickly immerse himself in treasonous activities as the colonies moved toward independence. His name would appear as Prall, Praul, and Prawl in the records over the next three-plus decades.

Great Britain had quickly responded to the destruction of His Majesty's tea. Parliament passed the Coercive Acts, which effectively closed the port of Boston and began to draw the ire of all thirteen colonies. The First Continental Congress was called into session at Philadelphia on 5 September 1774. Georgia was the lone holdout in sending representation. The Congress called for the repeal of the Coercive Acts, the formation of local militias, a boycott of British imports, to affect an embargo of exports to Britain, and the discontinuation of the slave trade. Committees were being formed in all of the colonies to take up "treasonous activities" and come to the aid of the citizens of Boston. In Harford County, Maryland these committees met at Harford Town.

Edward Prall, at age 36, had settled in Harford County by 1770 and gone into business. He and Henry Thomas, Jr. were named as creditors in the probate of the estate of Thomas Wheeler, dec'd. Wheeler's will was dated 18 September 1770 and proved 8 July 1771.

By 1774 Edward Prall had established himself among the men of influence in Harford County, Maryland. His name was on the list of the "Taxable in Susquehanna Hundred" and he was appointed to the Committee of Safety in Harford County that year. He was in fairly regular attendance at weekly committee meetings late in the year. On 26 December 1774 the Lower Crossroads Militia met to elect officers. The militia was to muster weekly until 16 September 1775. Edward Prall was chosen 1st lieutenant in Captain Archer's Company Number 2.

It was decided, on 23 January 1775, that Aquila Hall would be responsible for the purchase of a Magazine of Arms and Ammunition. Two donated barrels of flour were to be sent to Baltimore for shipment to the "poor of Boston." At the meeting held on 22 February, Edward Prall was elected to serve on the Committee of License in Susquehanna Hundred and was among those present who resolved to aid their brethren in Boston. During the year he would be elected to the New Committee of Harford, the War Committee and the Committee of Observation.

The boldest move of the patriots of Harford County came during their meeting of 22 March 1775. The members present decided to voice their support for the actions of the Continental Congress with a written and signed declaration.

The "declaration" reads: "We the Committee of Harford County having most seriously and maturely considered the resolves and association of the Continental Congress and the resolves of the Provential Convention, do most heartily approve of the same, and as we esteem ourselves in a more particular matter, entrusted by our constituents to se[e] them carried into execution we do solemnly pledge ourselves to each other and to our country and engage ourselves by every tie held sacred among mankind to perform them at the risque of our lives and our ffortunes."

The names of those who attached their signatures and thus risked their lives and fortunes are: Aquila Hall, Jos. Carvil Hall, George Patterson, William Morgan, Francis Holland, Samuel Calwell, Aquila Paca, James Lytle, Aquila Hall Jr., Robert Morgan, Robert Lemmon, Thomas Brice, Thomas Johnson, Alex. Rigdon, Edward Ward, Abraham Whitaker, Charles Anderson, William Fisher Jr., Richard Dallam, John Durham, James McComass, William Bradford Sr., William Smithson, John Donahuy, John Patrick, Daniel Scott, Benj. Bradford Norris, James Harris, EDWARD PRALL, Greenberry Dorsey, John Archer, W. Smithie, William Webb, John Taylor. [All of those recorded as present signed except three.]

[A photo copy of the handwritten document is in the possession of the author, with Edward Prall's signature.]

From "The Tercentary History of Maryland": "The Harford Resolves”: In the village of Bush, once "Harford Town" and the county seat, there is a granite shaft which bears the following inscription: "This tablet marks the site of the building in which were held the courts of Harford County from its organization in March 1774, until March 1783. In this house the Committee of Harford County held its meetings before and during the early years of the American Revolution. Here, at a meeting held on the 22nd day of March, 1775, the following members of the Committee passed and signed a formal declaration pledging their lives and fortunes to the cause which, a year later, resulted in the Declaration of Independence"

[It will be noted that the Harford Memorial Tablet does not assert that this resolution of support is a "declaration of independence", as is often mistakenly assumed; but the claim is made that it is "the first declaration made and signed by an organized body, [viz., the Committee of Harford Co.], the context of which could be interpreted as treason, and action taken against the signers."]

It may be added that when these representative citizens of Harford pledged their "lives and fortunes" in support of the measures proposed for resisting Parliamentary encroachments upon their liberties, they did it over a month before the receipt of the news of the clash at Lexington on 19 April.

At the meeting of 5 April, it was moved that Treasurer Aquila Hall ship from Baltimore for Boston "as much French Burrn Middlings* as he can purchase for the money he may have received for that purpose within the fifteen days from the date hereof." It was also resolved that the Captains of the militia companies be requested to consult with their companies as to when and where it would be convenient to meet and to report "their determinations before this Committee." [*middlings appear to have been biscuits.]

On 1 May it was resolved that three horses were to be purchased for the purpose of delivering expresses and other messages. Two of the horses would be stabled at Harford Town and the third at Susquehanna. M. John Lowe, Edward Prall, and Samuel Ashmead were appointed to purchase the horses.

Edward Prall continued to attend the majority of the committee meetings through 22 January 1776. At the meeting held on 4 March 1776, Ignatius Wheeler was unanimously chosen to replace Edward Prall as Committeeman and to serve on the Committee of License.

On the 1st of January of 1776 William Smallwood was named colonel and commander of the Maryland Battalion. Francis Ware was Lieutenant Colonel, Thomas Price first Major and Mordecai Gist second Major. On the 3rd, the 4th Company of what would be known as "Smallwood's Battalion" was organized with Captain Thomas Ewing commanding and 1st Lieutenant Joseph Butler, 2nd Lieutenant Joseph Baxter, and Ensign Edward Praul as his officers. Baxter resigned and Ensign Praul was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in March. At age 42, Edward Prall was about to begin a career as an officer in one of the most heralded regiments of the Continental Army.

The Battle of Long Island: Smallwood's Battalion was ordered to Annapolis to await further orders as the war ignited in Massachusetts. On 10 July 1776 six companies under Smallwood's command left Annapolis for Head of Elk, where they were joined by three companies from Baltimore. The Marylanders arrived in New York on 8 August and reported to General Washington. Washington placed them in General John Sullivan's brigade; then transferred them to General William Alexander [Lord Stirling] on the 12th. Fate now awaited Lt. Prall and the Marylanders.

On 26 August the Maryland and Delaware troops were ordered to cross over to Long Island, where the British had been landing since the 21st. Col. Smallwood and Lt. Col. Ware were serving on a Courts Martial Board, so Major Gist assumed command of the battalion.

On 27 August 1776 [probably in the morning as the troops prepared for battle, Ensign Praul and Captain Joseph Ford witnessed the verbal will of Lt. Joseph Butler, "of Col. Smallwood's Company at Long Island, New York." [proved 17 October 1777.] Butler's name would be listed among those captured during the hostilities.

The battle began early on the 27th; Stirling's Brigade of approximately 1600 met the onslaught of 5000 British and Hessian troops. The British troops included grenadiers and the Scottish 42nd [ eventually known as the famed Black Watch]. The Maryland and Delaware troops held their ground from eight o'clock until noon, when they were forced to retire. Alexander ordered an orderly retreat across Gowanus Creek. The Continentals had staged five counterattacks against British troops holding the Cortelyou House, twice gaining control of the "Stone House.” Gist and his men had repeatedly charged the enemy with bayonets. When the sixth counterattack was ordered, fresh British troops arrived. Gist's 200 remaining Marylanders tried to fight their way back to the American lines. Ten were successful, many had drowned trying to cross Gowanus Cree. Watching the engagement, George Washington exclaimed, "Good God, what brave fellows I must loose today!"

General Washington later said that the Marylanders were the first to meet the veteran legions of the British regulars "face to face with fixed bayonets," and that "no troops behaved more steadily." He also said that that hour - the stand of the Maryland Line - was "more precious to American liberty than any other in history."

Smallwood had returned to the field around noon and requested troops to support and cover the retreat. Washington refused, then relented, giving the Colonel a New England Regiment and Thomas's 5th Independent Company, just over from New York. A large marsh and a deep creek, about eighty yards wide at the mouth, lay between the place of action and the American line. The bridge crossing the creek had been burnt the day before; so it was necessary to cross the creek or surrender to the British. Smallwood took up a position at the mouth of the creek opposite Stirling's Brigade. With two field pieces, Smallwood silenced the six British pieces that fired upon the fleeing troops. All but twelve waded or swam to safety, aided by Thomas's men. Maryland suffered 256 killed, wounded, or captured.

The losses of Smallwood's Battalion were as follows: killed, Captain Edward Veazey [7th Independent Company]; mortally wounded, Captain William Harrison; wounded and captured, Captain Daniel Bowie, Lieutenant Joseph Butler,  and LIEUTENANT EDWARD PRAUL; wounded, Lieutenants Walker Muse, William Ridgley, and William Sterrett, Ensigns William Courts and James Fernandis; Captured, Lieutenants John Stockton [4th Battalion Flying Camp], Daniel Cresap [Stephenson's Rifle Regiment], and Samuel Turbutt Wright [Veazey's Independent Company].

On the 29th a retreat from Long Island was ordered. The Maryland Troops were ordered to Fort Putnam to cover the general retreat. New York was abandoned and the Continentals removed to Fort Washington. On 15 September, the enemy affected a landing at Montressor's Island, opposite the American Line with a small creek in between. The British attacked and put to flight two brigades of Connecticut troops. This spurred Washington to ride among the fugitives and cane everyone from brigadiers on down. The General detached Smallwood's Battalion from Stirling's Brigade to march toward New York to cover the retreat and defend the baggage. The British attacked on the 16th, but were repulsed by Colonel Knowlton's Connecticut Rangers, the 3rd Virginia, three Independent Companies of Marylanders under Major Thomas Price, and part of the Maryland Flying Camp. Casualties: about 400 British killed or wounded and 15 Americans killed and 85 wounded, including Knowlton. Smallwood and the rest of Stirling's Brigade arrived at White Plains on 21 October. Smallwood was promoted to Brigadier General on the 23rd.

The Marylanders went on to fight at White Plains and Fort Washington [where another 400 Marylanders were taken prisoner] as Washington's army retreated across the Jerseys to the Delaware River. With the help of local patriot sympathizers, the Continentals were able to collect enough boats to cross the river and take refuge in Pennsylvania. Washington then marched down river and recrossed the Delaware to make a startling Christmas march and attack on the Hessian barracks at Trenton on 26 December.

The British Army found itself with 4000 prisoners and little in the way of places to imprison them. Three large sugar houses, several dissenting Dutch churches, the hospital, and Columbia College were converted into prisons. These facilities were soon overcrowded. Prisoners, faced with squalid conditions, could not even lie down of the hard and filthy floors. The British also enlisted former cattle and supplies transport ships anchored in Gravesend Bay to house prisoners from the Battle of Brooklyn. Eventually these prisoners were housed on shore and the transports were, for awhile, reserved for naval prisoners. [Hatch Dent, one of the Marylanders, spent two years on a British prison ship. It is likely that many of his comrades suffered the same fate.]

There is some question as to when Edward Prall was exchanged [or escaped the captivity of the British]. Heitman reported the date as 2 December 1776. The Maryland Archives has the date as 20 April 1778. An undated document from Edward's service file reads " Appears with rank of Lieut. on a return of Maryland officers who have been Prisoners - not dated - Remarks: settled." General William Alexander, Lord Stirling, was among those captured at Long Island. He was exchanged for the Governor of the Bahamas and rejoined Washington in time for the Battle of Trenton. ( General John Sullivan, also captured at Long Island, was released a month after the battle.( General Charles Lee, who would be disgraced at the Battle of Monmouth, was captured  at White's Tavern near Basking Ridge, New Jersey in December 1776. He was exchanged in the spring of  1778. ( Captain Prall could then have been exchanged on either of the reported dates. It may be that the senior officers were exchanged in December and the junior officer had to wait until 1778 to be released.

2nd Lt. Prall was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the 1st Regiment, 6th Company, on 10 December 1776 and then to captain on 10 June 1777. [There is an item in Edward's service file dated 11 May 1779 that reads "That Lt. Prawl was entitled to a Captaincy on the 10th June 77." Could this mean that he was not present for the promotion due to being a prisoner?]

If he was exchanged on the 2nd of December, Edward saw action at Trenton [26 December] and Princeton [3 January 1777], before moving into the winter encampment near Morristown, New Jersey. The 1st Maryland took part in Sullivan's Raid at Staten Island [22 August 1777], and the defeats at Brandywine [11 September 1777] and Germantown [4 October 1777]. General Washington moved his beleaguered army into its winter encampment at Valley Forge, just outside Philadelphia. Good news had reached Washington amid his string of defeats; Arnold and Gates had defeated Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York. With proof that the Americans could win a major battle, the French were about to send aid to the Continentals. The following entry would suggest that Prall remained a prisoner until the spring exchange of 1778. [James Dobbings of Howard Co., Maryland, recalled that his company was ordered to Head of Elk and marched to Powells [sic.] (Paulis) Hook, thence to Brandwine. They joined Washington's army and fought in the Battle of Brandywine, then marched back to Paulis Hook and on to Christian Bridge [sic.] in Delaware, where he was discharged. Dobbings stated that Prall and John Archer were among his field officers. (, James Dobbings, Rev. War Pensions, p. 3.) This would suggest that Edward had been exchanged in December.]

As of 18 January 1777, Smallwood's Battalion consisted of eight infantry companies and one of light infantry. The 8th Company listed Captain Bowie killed; Lieutenant Butler killed; Second Lieutenant Praul - prisoner, promoted lieutenant 6th company; Ensign Coats promoted to second lieutenant - 3rd company.

Edward Prall's name appeared under Ensigns on a list of "Maryland Officers who have been Prisoners"; unfortunately no date of return to service appears on the list. The word "settled" does appear next to several names - including that of Ensign Prall.[ - 6 September 2007]

On 19 December 1777, Washington ordered Smallwood to Wilmington, Delaware to guard the coast. Smallwood was to keep his men on alert and grant no furloughs unless absolutely necessary. The General feared the British might move from Philadelphia and seize Wilmington. The British brig "Symetry" ran aground near Wilmington in late December and surrender to Smallwood after a brief defense. The brig contained the wives of several British officers, officers' baggage, clothing for four regiments, over a thousand stands of arms and ammunition, pork, butter, wine, and other foods. A sloop containing flour, pork, poultry, and other supplies was also captured. Smallwood left Wilmington in June 1778 and rejoined Washington at Valley Forge on the 19th. If Edward Prall was released on 20 April 1778, he may have first reported to the main army at Valley Forge. There he would have learned of his promotion to Captain and taken the oath of affirmation [see below] before being ordered to rejoin the Maryland Regiment at Wilmington.

A letter from Elias Boudinot to George Washington, with list of Exchanged Prisoners: ["Writings from the Valley Forge Encampment of the Continental Army" by Joseph Lee Boyle, p. 112]

Sir                                                                    Camp, April 22nd, 1778
Being just returned from German Town, I beg to inform your Excellency that I was happy to perfect the Exchange of the following Officers, for those of equal rank due to us from the Enemy, which I hope will meet with your Excellencys Approbation -
                                                     I have the Honor to be your Excellencys
                                                                               Most Obed't Hble Serv't
The first officer listed: Major General Charles Lee
Named on the list of lieutenants exchanged: Edward Prall
[This letter would seem to verify Edward's release in 1778.]

On 3 February 1778, Congress decided that every commissioned officer should subscribe the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the United States. In the spring of 1778 the oath was administered to those encamped at Valley Forge. Among those officers named as having taken the oath before camp broke was Captain Edward Prall. (

The Continental Army had spent much of the winter encampment undergoing "European style" military training under Baron von Steuben. Their first test would come at Monmouth Court House, New Jersey on 28 June 1778. General Charles Lee's retreat was met with verbal wrath by Washington. The American forces reformed and held fast, proving that they could hold their own on the field of battle. On 16 September at Phillips Heights, southwest of White Plains, New York, Americans under Col. Mordecai Gist were attacked by a superior force of British and Hessian troops. Gist led his troops across the Saw Mill River and escaped. The Marylanders spent the winter of 1778-1779 at Middlebrook, New Jersey. The company muster roll for February 1779 lists Edward Praul as captain of the 8th company of the 1st Maryland Regiment of Foot. The muster roll for 3 March 1779 also showed him as command the 8th Company 1st Maryland Regiment. In both cases the regimental commander was Col. John H. Stone.

On 15 July 1779 General Anthony Wayne, with 1350 handpicked men, attacked the British outpost at Stony Point on the Hudson River, garrisoned by about 6000 men. Major John Stewart led one of the two advance columns, about 150 men, mostly Marylanders. Wayne, eager to avenge the British bayonet-charge massacre at Paoli, gave orders for all but one battalion to attack with bayonets. Stony Point was an overwhelming American victory. [Pvt. Joseph Fearson stated in his pension that he enlisted in Captain Edward Praul's company in 1779 and saw action at Stony Point. (, Joseph Fearson Rev. War Pensions, p. 31.]

Edward Praul was among ten officers of the 1st Maryland Regiment ordered to be paid by the Western Shore Treasurer on 29 September 1779. [Maryland Archives, Vol. 21, p, 539]

While Washington's Army met with a mixture of success and failure throughout 1778, things were turning disastrous in the South. Savannah, Georgia fell on 29 December. On 19 October 1779, French and American troops failed in an attempt to recapture the city. Sir Henry Clinton laid siege to Charleston, South Carolina on 7 March 1780. The garrison surrendered on 12 May. Major General Benjamin Lincoln and nearly 7000 men were captured. The American Army in the South was lost. It would be left to partisan leaders like Francis Marion and Thomas Sumter to harass British forces until Washington could send a new army southward.

General Washington would send his best to effect the Southern Campaign. The Maryland Division and Delaware Regiment with twelve field pieces left Middlebrook on 16 April 1780. They were to reinforce Major General DeKalb. Smallwood commanded the 1st Brigade, consisting of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th Regiments. Gist commanded the 2nd Maryland Brigade [2nd, 4th, and 6th Regiments] and the Delaware Regiment. Major General Horatio Gates was sent South by Congress. The reputed hero of Saratoga would supersede DeKalb as commander of the Southern Army. DeKalb was given command of the new arrivals from Maryland and Delaware.

Before the 1st Maryland headed south, Captain Prall was mentioned in other accounts. He was one of the officers who gave a receipt for provisions provided to the regiment by John Randall. Twice before war's end, Edward would also issue receipts to his younger brother, Benjamin, who was a merchant-trader back in New Jersey. The captain was furloughed in January and February 1780.He was also shown as being absent without leave from the 1st to the 3rd of April. Edward was at that time the captain of the 3rd company of the 1st Maryland, then under command of Major Levin W. Winder.

As of 5 February 1780, Captain Prall's company strength was shown with 2 officers, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 2 drummers & fifers, and 24 privates totaling 32 men. Of these, one officer [probably Edward himself] was on furlough, one drummer/fifer was recruiting, and two privates were sick.

On 19 June 1780, the Treasurer was ordered to pay Captain Edward Prall of the 1st Regiment $2250 to be expended in Recruiting Service and accounted for. [v43, p.199] The Commissary of Stores was ordered to deliver Cloth for a Jacket and Breeches with Trimmings to Captain Prall on the 20th of June. [v43, p. 200] Captain Edward Prall of the 1st Maryland would apparently enter action in the Southern Campaign attired in a new uniform. He would also have the funds available for recruiting new troops that would be badly needed following the Battle of Camden.

General Horatio Gates decided to attack General Cornwallis on the morning of 16 August 1780. The armies met about six miles north of Camden. Smallwood's 1st, 3rd, and 7th Regiments formed to the rear of the reserve force. The 5th was sent to assist Sumter. Gist was on the right wing. The British advance panicked the Virginia and North Carolina militia. The 1st Maryland reformed as the militia fled, but Smallwood was swept away with the militia. Colonel Otho Holland Williams took command and tried to bring the 1st up on the exposed flank of the 2nd Maryland. The Maryland Line twice rallied only to be driven back by the British, and forced from the field. The 2nd held awhile longer, battling the British in hand-to-hand combat. DeKalb was mortally wounded. The Americans lost about 700 men. British casualties were just over 300. As for General Gates? By the time the battle was over, "The Hero of Saratoga" was well on his way at full gallop toward Charlotte, about 60 miles away. He told Congress that he had hoped to rally the survivors as they reached Charlotte. He was exonerated, but never held command again.[From Savannah to Yorktown: The American Revolution in the South, by Henry Lumpkin, toExcel Press, 1987, p. 64]

Among the names of 1st Brigade losses were Thomas Hale, John James, and John Phillips - missing; John Parison, Patrick Riley, William Bulley, and James Gwynn - prisoners. [] These men were listed on the February 1779 muster roll for Captain Edward Prall's Company.[]

Washington sent his most trusted officer, Major General Nathanael Greene, to replace Gates in the South. American victories at Kings Mountain and Cowpens began to turn the tide of the war. John Eager Howard commanded the 320 surviving Maryland and Delaware Line troops of the 2nd Brigade at Cowpens. Col. William Washington commanded 80 light dragoons. General Daniel Morgan was in overall command. Also on hand were militia from Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Morgan's crafty use of the militia helped rout the British forces under Col. Banastre Tarleton on 17 January 1781.

The disaster at Camden forced the reorganization of the badly depleted Maryland Line. On 1 January 1781 the Maryland Line was reorganized into five regiments. Edward Prall was a captain in the 1st Regiment under Colonel Otho Howard Williams. Captain Prall commanded the 2nd Company, with Lieutenant William Raisin and Ensign Basil Burgess as company officers.

The War in the South would continue to take a dramatic turn. Lord Cornwallis marched against General Greene at Guilford Court House, North Carolina on 15 March 1781. Brigadier General Otho Howard Williams with 630 men of the 1st Regiment and the 5th Regiment were on the front. British artillery fire, killing both British and American soldiers, forced Greene to order a retreat. American casualties numbered about 258, while British casualties numbered about 592. Technically, Guilford Court House was a British victory, but the loss of nearly a quarter of his troops was a devastating blow to Cornwallis. One British historian called the 1st Regiment "The finest battalion in the American Army."

The 1st Maryland was in action at the defeat at Hobkirk's Hill [about a mile from Camden] on 25 April  and the successful Siege of Ninety Six from 22 May - 19 June. On 8 September the 1st saw action in the hotly contested Battle of Eutaw Springs. Greene withdrew from the field, giving the British a tactical victory. However, the British were forced to evacuate Eutaw Springs and retreat to the Charleston area.

The Maryland State Papers show the following entries for Captain Edward Prall: #15702: 12 March 1781: Account and receipt of order for provisions. #15701: Same date: Order to pay above account. #15762: 28 July 1781: Account and receipt of order for provisions. #18393: 30 August 1781: From John Crisall; promise to issue rum. #18425: 31 August 1781: Receipt for pay to Robert Denny.

Captain Prall of the 1st Regiment was to have 28 gallons of rum and 112 pounds of sugar delivered to him by order on the 12th of March 1781. [v45, p.349] On 18 June 1781 Captain Edward Prall was ordered to serve on a Court of Judicature for the trial of Thomas Doyle, who was suspected and apprehended as a Spy or Emissary from the Enemy.[v45, p. 479] On the 28th of July, the Treasurer was ordered to pay Captain Prall "£14.5 due him for Stores per account passed by the Dept'y."[v45, p. 479]

Edward may have been dispatched to Annapolis, or on a recruiting mission back to Maryland, in late July or early August. Joseph Beall wrote Governor Lee on 3 August 1781 that "our recruits march tomorrow under care of Captain Praul about 45 in number recruits & Deserters." [v45, p. 39] Benjamin Nicholson wrote the governor on 4 August, "Sir - Please to order payment to Captain Edward Prall for $1500 due James Phillips in part of his Bounty for Enlisting & which sum I could not Borrow nor by any means get in the County." [v45, p. 42]

Captain Prall was evidently active in dealing with deserters from his company. He was also named three times on a list of "Recruits and Deserters sent to Annapolis" aboard the sloop "Liberty" on 17 August. Peter Scott enlisted in the Regiment and his enrollment was given to Captain Praul. Daniel King, a deserter, deserted from Captain Praul and was taken again. A recruit sent before by Captain Praul - Edward Freeman and deserted from Annapolis. [v45, p. 50] On 27 August, Thomas Hanan a Deserter sent to Annapolis by Captain Praul & from thence deserted & again taken up & re-enlisted on pretence of being discharged by the Council. [v45, p. 62]

The Commissary of Stores was ordered on 23 August to deliver 2¾ yards of Russia duck [heavy cotton linen] to Captain Edward Prall of the 1st Regiment and to be charged to him.

Cornwallis had taken refuge at Yorktown, Virginia. The French had joined Washington in New York and marched south to engage Cornwallis. The French fleet sailed for Yorktown to take on the British naval vessels there. The 1st Maryland would not participate in the ensuing siege. From the 23rd of September until the 17th of October the British were under American and French guns. On 19 October 1781 Cornwallis surrendered Yorktown. The Revolutionary War would officially end with the British evacuation of New York City in November 1783.

Captain Prall had a large number of soldiers from Charles County, Maryland in his company by 1 January 1782. His company would see action at least once during the year. Private William Pherson was taken prisoner on the 1st of May. [Md Arch: v18, p. 463]

On 1 January 1783, Captain Edward Prall resigned as a commissioned officer in the 1st Maryland Regiment of the Continental Army. He was approaching his 49th birthday. The Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland was organized at Annapolis on 23 November 1783. The purpose of the society was both fraternal and beneficial. The officers contributed a month's pay which went for widow's pensions, educational funds for fatherless and orphaned children, and other needs that arose. Edward Prall was an original member of the Maryland chapter.

1783: 2072 Sundry Accounts disbursed to Capt. Edward Prall -
pay of the army for subsidy from 1 June 1778 to 1 August 1780 - $ 175.70
pay and subsidy from 1 August 1780 to 1 January 1782 - $ 793.37
pay for the year 1782 - $ 480 / $ 1449.17
Communication account for five years full pay in lieu of half pay for life - $ 2400 / $ 3849.17

Capt. E. Prall - Disbursements to Sundry Accounts:
To United States for O Emiss [probably officer discharge:BEC] reduced $ 54.74 [possibly for lost equipment]
for sundries - $ 113.57 / $ 171.41
To State of Maryland for goods and cash -$ 419.37
To General Greene for cash - $ 24
To Cincinnati Society for 1 mo. pay - $ 40
To Certificates issued for 89171 & 89174, interest from different periods - $ 2895. 86 / $ 35550.79
Vol. 142, page 115 T.A. Johnson, copyist
[American Revolutionary War Service Records: Series M860, film #398]

The officers and enlisted men who served their country between 1775-1783 were due back pay from Congress. Congress was unable to meet the payrolls and offered bounty land in lieu of money. During the 1781 November session of the Maryland General Assembly it was decided that "All vacant lands west of Fort Cumberland [within the limits of Allegheny and Cumberland Counties] were appropriated for division into lots to be awarded to the men who served Maryland in the Revolution. Captain Edward Prall was assigned lots 1574, 1575, 1576, and 1577. [Officers received 4 lots, privates one lot.] Edward Prall received 300 acres in Muskingham County, Ohio.[; History of Western Maryland, J. Thomas Scharf, p. 145-146]

[The Office of Army Accounts under Paymaster General, USA, was authorized by Congress, July 4, 1783, to settle and finally adjust all accounts whatsoever between the U.S. and the officers and soldiers of the American Army. "Journal of American Congress, Vol. 4, p. 237." The government did not have the funds to pay these men, so scrip was issued in lieu of money, giving land in designated areas. This was called a Bounty Land Warrant, and was issued for service prior to 1856.]

Service: Maryland.  Name: Prall, Edward. Number: BLWT. 1729-300. Captain
Issued: August 14, 1789, only one paper, no original papers. Under 'Service':
"This man also appears as "Praul" in Heitman's Historical Register in the Maryland Archives. The 2nd sheet [the only one in the files] states: Received of the Secretary of War, one land warrant for 300 acres of land in favor of Cap. Edward Prale, No. 1729-300, which I promise to deliver to his heirs or legal representative. War Office: 7 March 1805    John Auker

Edward Prall retired from military service and returned to Harford County. The record of his remaining years is from an assortment of county records. Where he resided from 1783-1803 is not known.

Edward purchased seven acres of land on 24 December 1783

His name frequently appeared in the proceedings of the Orphans Court of Harford County numerous times between 1785 and 1799. Edward was appointed to settle disputes, summoned as a witness in several cases, and witnessed the signing of various documents. Edward Prall replaced as auditor of estates of Samuel and Benjamin Baylis in August of 1785.

Prall was named co-executor of James Walker's estate on 14 March 1789. Also in 1789 he was a presidential elector and land commissioner. Captain Prall was granted Bounty Land Warrant # 1729-300 issued to Edward Prall for service during the American Revolution on 14 August 1789. On 28 August, while serving as Land Commissioner, he helped set boundaries for "Neighborhood" and "Bachelor's Good Luck." He was a taxpayer in 1798, being assessed $67.50 for 1 tract of 22 acres and 80 perches in the Susquehanna Hundred with no slaves.

On 12 April 1790 Edward Prall and five other justices authorized William Pinkney to act as an attorney for the county in a dispute between Harford and Baltimore Counties in a case to be heard on the 2nd Monday in May. In 1790 Edward was a candidate for the Maryland General Assembly, receiving 468 votes and served as judge of the county court..

On 3 January 1791 Edward witnessed the marriage between Samuel Grover and Ann Hopkins at the Deer Creek Quaker Meeting House. [Probably Darlington Friends Meeting House.][Quaker Records of Northern Maryland 1716-1800, Henry C. Peden, Jr., p.122]

From 1791-1793 Edward Prall was a member of the House of Delegates.

On 26 September 1792 Edward Prall was one of the managers of a lottery. The proprietor was Patrick Cretin. The prize was a plantation near the Lower Crossroads, Harford Co., Maryland. There were also prizes of livestock. The drawing was to be held at James Cretin's at the Black Horse Tavern on the York Rd.

On 12 October 1792 Edward was elected as delegate to the Maryland legislature for Harford County.[Notice in the "Baltimore Sun"]

Edward was named as an heir to Benjamin Prall, deceased.

He served on a Grand Jury in March 1798 and on a Petit Jury in August 1799.

Prall served on a petit jury for the August term 1800.

On 20 November 1800 Edward, named as Major Edward Prall, purchased 15 acres of land called "Good Neighborhood Enlarged" at the Lower Crossroads from George and Mary Vandergrift for $1. Vanergrift and James Bell had purchased the land jointly, but Bell died before the transaction was completed. On 10 November 1800, Major Prall had purchased a tract of land lying between that of Bell and Vandergrift from Thomas Haines of Mifflin Co., Pennsylvania, through Haines' attorney Dr. John Archer, for $1.[Harford Co. Deed Book JLG, p. 396-399] The land was sold by Edward's heirs [Cornelius and Christian Prall, Asher and Agnes Atkinson, Aaron Prall, Thomas Prall, Ann Prall, Elizabeth Prall, Mary Moore, Edward Prall, and Phineas and Deborah Ely] on 2 June 1812.][Harford Co. Deed Book HDW, p. 413-415]

On 10 February 1803 Captain Edward Prall, Esq. was treated by Dr. John Archer. [Ailment unspecified.]

Captain Edward Prall died intestate, probably during the latter part of July 1803. Whether he was being treated for an unspecified illness by his long-time friend Dr. Archer is not known. He was 69 years old.

Power of Attorney dated 31 August from Thomas Jeffrey of Harford County, Maryland administrator of Edward Prall, Esq., of the same dec'd [intestate] to Thomas Prall of Hunterdon County [New Jersey]. Letters of administration were granted to Thomas Jeffrey on 4 August 1803 in Harford Co., Maryland. Witness: Joseph Brownley - 10 December 1804.

The surviving heirs sold Edward's bounty land in Muskingham Co., Ohio in 1817.[Muskingham Co., Ohio Deed Book E, p. 310-313] The sale of the land verified several family relationships. Asher Atkinson stated that he was the only son and heir of Jemima Atkinson who was a sister of Captain Edward Prall. He received $100, a third of the sale price. Aaron, Thomas, Edward, and Anne Prall stated that they were the children of James Prall, also a brother of Edward. Mary Moore stated that she was a daughter of Pamelia Moore, daughter of James Prall. As a group, they received a third of the profits. Edward received $20, but the others only receive $16 each as $12 in back taxes were deducted from their share. Since Mary accepted her mother's full share, which meant none of her siblings were still alive. John Prall of Trenton stated that he was the son of Edward's brother, Cornelius. He accepted a sixth of the sale [$17], meaning that another of his siblings had died [probably Mary.]

The life of Edward Prall spanned approximately seventy years. He had grown up a farm boy, was the best educated among his siblings, and became a prominent merchant-trader in New Jersey. The rise of revolutionary activities marked him as a traitor to the crown and a patriot to his adopted home of Maryland. He served with the "Maryland Line", which became one of the most feared and respected battalions among their British opponents. He was wounded and captured at Long Island [a memorial to the memory of the "Maryland 400" was erected in Brooklyn's Prospect Park] and a veteran of the post-Valley Forge campaign and the Southern Campaign. The Maryland Line would be decimated in the south, but maintain its reputation. After resigning from service, Edward remained active in the political, business, and public arenas until his death. His was a long, active, and rewarding life.



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