Sunday Salute #46 ~ Thomas Ogan ~ Revolutionary War

Thomas Ogan, my paternal 4th Great Grandfather, was born in 1740 at sea in the Caribbean. He was the son of Major Thomas Henry Ogan (1716-1779) and Elizabeth MNK. He married Ann Martin (1738-1813) in Frederick Virginia about 1766. They had 5 children, 4 girls, and 1 boy.

Thomas, at the age of 16 fought under George Washington during the French and Indian War between 1756 and 1763. Twelve years later at the start of the Revolutionary War, Thomas joined Captain William Johnson’s 11th Virginia Regiment under the command of Daniel Morgan’s Rifle Brigade in 1775. After the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army. Thomas was a wagoner in the regiment.

Morgan had served as an officer in the Virginia Colonial Militia since the French and Indian War. He recruited 96 men in 10 days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them 600 miles to Boston, Massachusetts in only 21 days, arriving on Aug. 6, 1775. What set Morgan’s Riflemen apart from other companies was the technology they had with their rifles. They had rifle barrels with thin walls and curved grooves inside the barrels which made them light and much more accurate than the British muskets. Morgan used this advantage to initiate guerrilla tactics by which he first killed the Indian guides the British used to find their way through the rugged terrain and also to kill the British officers that led the troops. While this tactic was viewed as dishonorable by the British elites, it was, in fact, an extremely effective method that created chaos and discord for the British Army.

On December 31, 1775, a battle was fought between the Continental Army and the defenders of Quebec City. During this encounter, Daniel and 400 of his men including Thomas, were captured while leading an assault against the British. Benedict Arnold had originally been leading it, but he was injured and this forced Daniel to take command of the troops. They got trapped in the lower city and were forced to surrender. They were held prisoners until reinforcements arrived in the early spring.

Thomas spent the entirety of the war in Morgans brigade fighting many battles including the one at Valley Forge with General George Washington. He also fought in the battle of Freeman’s Clearing under the command of General Horatio Gates.

After the war, he and his family were given a land bounty of 200 acres in Rockingham Virginia. Here he farmed the land and raised his family under the flag of freedom that he fought for. He died at home in December 1813 at the age of 73.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

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