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First Name: John

Last Name: Boyd

Birthplace: Newburyport, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Parker

Date of Birth: 21 December 1764

Date of Death: 04 October 1830

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served:
John Parker Boyd

•  War of 1812


John Parker Boyd
Brigadier General, U.S. Army

John Parker Boyd was born on 21 December 1764 in Newburyport, MA. A New Englander of Scottish descent, Boyd was too young to serve in the American War of Independence. He began his military career when he joined the U.S. Army as an Ensign in 1786. He resigned three years later, to serve as a Soldier of Fortune in the army of the Nizam of Hyderabad, in Central India. Boyd was considered to be a highly successful cavalry commander. He was discharged in July 1798, due to his "refractoriness, disobedience, and unreasonableness."

Boyd rejoined the U.S. Army on 7 October 1808 as Colonel of the 4th U.S. Infantry. During the Battle of Tippecanoe, he served as the Infantry Brigade Commander and as second-in-command to William Henry Harrison, with the acting rank of Brigadier General.

When the war of 1812 broke out, Boyd initially commanded a brigade under Major General Henry Dearborn in camp at Albany, NY, and in some indecisive actions north of Lake Champlain. He was formally promoted to Brigadier General at some point in July that year when Major General Peter Gansevoort died, creating a series of vacancies in the general ranks of the U.S. Army.

In 1813, he successfully commanded a brigade at the Battle of Fort George. As illness or disgrace removed many of his contemporaries, he eventually commanded the garrison of captured Fort George, although the defeat at the Battle of Beaver Dams forced him to remain strictly on the defensive.

Moving his troops from Fort George to Sacket's Harbor, he participated in Major General James Wilkinson's ill-fated attack on Montreal. At the Battle of Crysler's Farm, the illness of Wilkinson and the army's second-in-command, Major General Morgan Lewis made him the commander of the attack on a smaller British force. His troops, already dispirited, straggled into action on unfavorable terrain, and were repulsed.

Boyd remained in command of a brigade at the winter camp of the Army at Salmon Creek, NY. After a half-hearted attack by Wilkinson at Lacolle Mill failed, he was sidelined into a rear-area assignment, and saw no further front-line service. He published a defense of his actions in 1816.

In Retirement

After the war, he was involved in several business ventures, often in partnership with his brothers, and was a founder of the Maine towns of Orneville and Medford. In 1820 he was compensated by Britain for military services he had rendered in India. In March 1830 he was appointed U.S. Naval Officer of the Port of Boston, where he served until his death.

Death and Burial

Brigadier General John Parker Boyd died on 4 October 1830 in Boston, MA. He is buried at Copp's Hill Burying Ground in Boston, MA.

Honoree ID: 2273   Created by: MHOH




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