State of New York
City & County of New York
In order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832, personally appeared in open court before the honorable, the justices of the Marine Court now sitting Elias Van Benschoten a resident of the City, County and State of New York, aged eighty two years and upwards, having first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.
That he was born in the Township of Poughkeepsie, County of Dutchess on the fourteenth day of July A.D. 1751, but has no record of his age, now in his possession and that he entered into the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as hereafter stated. To vitz-
Sometime in the spring of the year 1775 (the particular day or month he does not now recollect) while residing at the place last mentioned he enlisted as a private in a company commanded by Captain Louis Dubois of the same place for the term of six months (Elias Van Benschoten also of the same place and deponents cousin) was the first Lieutenant and Henry Dubois, bother to the captain as deponent thinks was Second Lieutenant, soon after his enlistment he went with the company to Albany in the same state where they encamped for a few days. The place of encamping was either Mt Patroc??? There were other companies encamped there at the same time but the particular officers he does not now distinctly recollect but thinks they were commanded by Colonel Van Schaick of the same state.
Deponent and his company went from that place to Fort George and after two or three days marched over to Ticonderoga and General Gansevoort was also stationed there but deponent does not recollect who was the commanding officer at that post. This was in the fall. Deponent and his company were under the command of the same colonel and other officers. Left Ticonderoga and went to St. John’s on Lake Champlain in bateaux, stopping on the way a few days at Isle Aux Noix, at St. John’s. General Montgomery commanded the American Army.
Deponent’s company was attached to Colonel Van Cortland’s Regiment. Colonel Van Schaick also commanded a regiment at the same place, deponent does not recollect the names of any other officers. The adjutant of his regiment was a French man. Deponent was present at the whole siege at St. John’s while the British Garrison surrendered to Montgomery and was constantly engaged on duty. A few days after the capture of the British the American troops principally left the place and went to Les Prairie on the river St. Lawrence on the American shore. Deponent and his company under Colonel Van Cortland were billeted upon the inhabitants at this place for a few days. While there deponent was one of a party send from the American Army to take possession of a place called Long Gale opposite Montreal to annoy the British.
While there the British and Indians made an attack upon theirs but were repelled with considerable loss. The American party lost but a few men and immediately returned to La Prairie and the next day the American Army took possession of Montreal without any loss. Montgomery commanded also at Montreal. After a few days the army left Montreal for Quebec. Deponents officers under whom he had served since his enlistment consisting of Montgomery, Colonels Van Cortland, Captain Dubois, and Lieutenants Van Benschoten and Dubois and other officers left Montreal leaving deponent at that place to take care of Major Henry Livingston who was confined by sickness at Montreal. While at Montreal deponents tour of enlistment expired which was a few days before the attack upon Quebec. Deponent received no written discharge and returned soon after to his native place.
Deponent some time in the spring or summer of 1776 the day or month he does not now distinctly recollect while residing at his native place, Poughkeepsie again enlisted as a private in a company raised at Poughkeepsie commanded by Captain Davis for the term of five months. Peter Van Benschoten was the first and Abraham Hyate the second Lieutenant, Captain Davis marched his company to Berrian’s Hill in the County of Westchester and within about fifteen miles of the City of New York which was the first place where deponent and his company encamped after leaving Poughkeepsie. Captain Bernardus P. Swartveanty? also from Dutchess County with his company encamped at the same place continued at that place until the enemy took possession of Govt Island when the encampment broke up and went to Philipps Mills also in Westchester County went next to White Plains and was in the battle at that place.
From White Plains they went to Law Pitts and afterwards to Peekskill all in the same county. Deponent’s duties were various, during these duties deponent because acquainted with Masor Nielblas Fish of the City of New York from Peekskill Captain Davis marched his company back to Poughkeepsie where Deponent’s time of enlistment expired. Deponent received no written discharge.
While residing at this last mentioned place the month or year he cannot distinctly recollect but thinks it was in 1777 he again entered into the army by enlisting as private for the term of three months in a company commanded by Captain Hill, James Slight was first and Abraham Levt Second Lieutenant. This company soon after deponent’s enlistment marched to the Highlands (so called) in the same county (now called Putnam County) deponent and his company repaired a temporary fortification called Fort Constitution, continued at that place while the expiration of the time for which they enlisted (Captain Hill commanded at this post) Captain Hill gave deponent a written discharge which is now lost. Deponent again returned to Poughkeepsie.
[According to Lauber (ed.) Orderly Books of the Fourth New York and Second New York Regt, Peter Van Benschoten was a Lieut. In Van Courtland’s 2nd NY Regt. They were in Albany Dec. 2, 1778 (Pg. 50) after which there is a hiatus in the orderly book and they appear at Fort Plank when it is resumed on Jan 21, 1779 (pg 53). The nine months drafts were discharged at Ft. Plank on Feb. 4 & 5, 1779 (pp 58-59) Note by James F. Morrison]
Some time in the winter of 1777 or early in the spring of 1778 the particular day, month or year he cannot distinctly recollect. Deponent while residing at Fishkill in the County of Dutchess and State of New York again entered into the service of the United States by enlisting for nine months under Lieutenant Peter Van Benschoten who was also a Lieutenant under Capt. Davis as before stated, Lieutenant Van Benschoten was authorized to raise recruits for our army there lying at Valley Forge.
Lieutenant Peter Van Benschoten conducted deponent and other recruits to Valley Forge while General Washington commanded. Deponent was encamped at this place during the said Van Benschoten commanded the regiment to which deponent was attached was commanded by others, Colonel Van Cortland or Colonel Weisenvelt. Deponent does not now distinctly recollect which this regiment made as part of General Poor's Brigade while at Valley Forge and before the Battle of Monmouth, deponent was selected to compose one of the advanced guard ??? organization of the advanced guard deponent left the encampment for Monmouth in the State of New Jersey. Deponent was constantly engaged in the action at Monmouth from morning while night being so much exhausted as to be unable to keep with his company who suffered him lost, until he rejoined them the next morning.
Lee commanded deponent’s detachment as he thinks in the early part of the action. Deponent the next morning went with the army in pursuit of the enemy and ???. The hand ??? he arrived at New Brunswick from New Brunswick, they took a turn North and crossed over into the State of New York at VerPlanck’s Point on the New York side of the river under Colonel Van Cortland as deponent thinks. Deponent and his company went next to a place called Frederick Town in Dutchess (new Putnam) County went next to Fishkill before spoken of and from thence to Albany then to Schenectady, then to Johnson’s Hall next to a place called Stone Robby (Stone Arabia) and as deponent believes in the County of Herkimer (Tryon, now Montgomery County) from there to Canajohary where deponent and his company were billeted upon the inhabitants. While at this last place deponent and his company were engaged in erecting a temporary fort for the protection of the women and children from the Indians. While at this last place deponent’s time of enlistment expired. Deponent obtained no written discharge and returned to his native place, Poughkeepsie in the County of Dutchess and State of New York.
Deponent further saith that in addition to the twenty three months as before stated he or a variety of occasions, perhaps fifteen times was a different periods of the war when not employed as before stated and engaged in what was then called “Tory Hunting” which was for a few persons to assemble together and under the command of a Lieutenant or some other officers not then a regular duty to go in search of persons who became attached to the interest of the enemy and capture and make prisoners of them in these excursions, lasted from one to seven days and deponent was on this kind of duty servicing the cause of his country at least two months in all perhaps more.
Deponent says that the above prior to his services are correctly stated that by reason of the age and loss of memory he cannot swear more positively to the dates and nature of his service that he has done but they are correctly stated according to the best of his present recollection which has been much ?? for a few years past.
Deponent says that the troops with which he served named aforesaid (except the Tory hunting parties) were called State Troops or Militia he does not distinctly recollect and that officers in addition to those before mentioned whom deponent knew were Generals Washington, Poor, Sullivan, Sterling, Montgomery, Lee, Arnold, Colonels Willett, Van Cortland, Weirsinnett, Major Fish, Colonel Van Schaick.
These are most of whom he believed belonged to the Regulars.
Deponent says that because of the great lapse of time he is now unable to obtain any of this evidence of his services except that annexed, having no documentary evidence of any nature or kind or relatives.
Deponent for the last fifteen years has resided in the City and State of New York and he hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency of any state.
Sworn to and subscribed in open court this 15th day of July A. D. 1832.
(Signed with his mark) Elias Van Benschoten