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First Name: John

Last Name: George


Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Date of Birth: 11 November 1759

Date of Death: 28 November 1847

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served:
John George

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


John George
Sergeant, Continental Army

John George was born on 11 November 1759.

George was traditionally acclaimed as "George Washington's drummer boy." Through extensive research by Marion County, IN, historians, there is a published body of evidence to support the legend that Sergeant George might indeed have been the personal drummer boy of Washington's Headquarters Guard during the greater portion of the Revolutionary War.

According to the researched records, John George enlisted on 1 January 1777 at the age of 17 as a Private in Captain John Flahaven's company of Col. Matthias Ogden's First New Jersey Battalion, and was listed as a Drummer on the company's rolls. Private George saw battle for the first time in September 1777 in a brief engagement at Clay Creek, a prelude to the famed Battle of Brandywine. Ogden's Battalion, as a part of the famous Maxwell Brigade, was considered to be one of the elite units of the Continental Army and served during the entire war under the personal command of General Washington. The Brigade participated in battles at Germantown and Monmouth.

John George's service records showed that he served his first three-year enlistment as a Private and a drummer. He re-enlisted as a Sergeant in Captain Aaron Ogden's company of the First Battalion, Maxwell's Brigade, for the duration of the war. The First Battalion wintered with Washington at historic Valley Forge in 1777-78 and was present at Yorktown when British General Cornwallis surrendered in October 1781. After the actual fighting ended, Sergeant George continued to serve with the Continental Army until the peace treaty was signed. His discharge is recorded as among the last of Washington's Guard at New Windsor, NY, in June 1783.

General Washington reportedly personally decorated those members of the Guard with the Badge of Military Merit in recognition of their more than six years of faithful service. In 1821, George applied for and received a Revolutionary War pension for his military service.

After his military discharge, George migrated to Harrodsburg, Mercer County, KY, to receive a 100 acre veteran's land grant for his wartime service. He worked his land grant for more than 50 years. While living in Mercer County, George married and raised a large family. When his wife died in June 1838 in Mercer County, George moved to Perry Township, Marion County, IN, to live with his daughter and her husband (his daughter had married Peter Stuck). George was now about eighty years old and he lived with the Stucks until his death on 28 November 1847.

Down through the years, many of the older residents of Perry Township maintained that Sergeant George was definitely a drummer boy of Washington's Guard and some claimed to have seen a certificate signed by Washington, confirming George's service as a drummer with the Guard. That certificate has been lost, but the research of Revolutionary War records indicates that John George likely was the Guard's drummer for more than half of the war, supporting his claim of being George Washington's drummer boy.

Death and Burial

Sergeant John George died on 28 November 1847 in Marion County, IN. He is buried at Round Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, IN. A marker at his grave shows his year of death as 1842.

Honoree ID: 2547   Created by: MHOH




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