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First Name: James

Last Name: Lingan


Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Middle Name: McCubbin

Date of Birth: 13 May 1751

Date of Death: 28 July 1812

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served:
James McCubbin Lingan

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


James McCubbin Lingan
Brigadier General, Maryland Militia

James McCubbin Lingan was born on 13 May 1751.

Lingan enlisted in the Continental Army on 13 July 1776, only nine days after the start of the Revolutionary War. He became a Lieutenant in the Rawlings Additional Regiment, but was captured at Fort Washington on 16 November 1776. Imprisoned in the hulk HMS Jersey, Lingan was initially kept in a cell in which he could neither lie down nor stand up. Approached by distant cousin Samuel Hood and offered £10,000 and a commission in the British Army if he agreed to switch sides in the conflict, Lingan was reported to have replied "I'll rot first." Later in his captivity, Lingan gained the reputation as a defender of prisoners' rights. On one occasion, Lingan defended the body of a recently deceased prisoner from guards who wanted to behead the corpse in order to make it fit into a small coffin.

Government Service

Following his release at the end of the war, Lingan was made Collector of the Port of Georgetown by George Washington personally and became a Brigadier General in the Maryland State Militia. He was also a founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati. He built Prospect House, in Georgetown.

Throughout his life, Lingan was a strong advocate of the freedom of the press, and at the outbreak of the War of 1812 spoke out in opposition to those who favored censorship. When the offices of the Baltimore Federal Republican were besieged and burnt by a mob angry at anti-war editorials run by the newspaper, Lingan protested at the act and sheltered the newspaper editor, Alexander Contee Hanson in Georgetown. On 17 July 1812, Hanson resumed printing the newspaper at new offices in Baltimore and another mob formed within hours, again storming the building and destroying the presses. Hanson, with Lingan, Henry Lee III and others who had hastened from Washington to try to calm the crowd, were arrested by local militia and taken to Baltimore jail in an attempt to calm the situation, but the crowd followed them to the prison and stormed the building. Lingan attempted to stop the mob by displaying a bayonet wound he had received in the Revolutionary War, but this only inflamed the crowd and Hanson, Lingan and Lee were severely beaten and left for dead. Hanson and Lee survived, although the latter was left partially blinded after hot wax was poured into his eyes. Lingan however died from his serious injuries.

Death and Burial

Brigadier General James McCubbin Lingan died of his injuries on 28 July 1812. He was buried at St. John's Church in Georgetown, at a funeral attended by thousands of mourners. George Washington Custis read the eulogy, praising Lingan's defense of free press and crying "Oh Maryland! Would that the waters of the Chesapeake could wash this foul stain from thy character!" Ninety-six years later, Lingan's remains were removed from the burial ground in Georgetown and transferred to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. In an odd bit of irony, Arlington Cemetery had been established in 1864 on the grounds of the Arlington Plantation, the home of George Washington Parke Custis.

His wife, Janet Henderson Lingan, (1765-1832) is buried with him.

Honoree ID: 2769   Created by: MHOH




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