Until recently, I did not appreciate fully the extent of the service in the Revolutionary War of our patriotic ancestor, Colonel Henry Chew Gaither. By happenstance, I had the pleasure of encountering Colonel Gaither in two Revolutionary War settings this past summer that “book-end” his illustrious service. First, when paying a family visit to Greensboro, North Carolina, I learned that he was an officer in the battle of Guilford Courthouse in which the Patriots weakened and delayed a superior British force, directly leading to their final defeat at Yorktown.
My second surprise encounter was at a Maryland State Archives seminar about their research into the Battle of Brooklyn (also known as the Battle of Long Island). This British-won battle was the first major engagement of the Revolutionary War. The Archives’ project is to identify and formally recognize the Marylanders who fought in that horrific battle, holding their line and earning the appellation adopted by Maryland as the “Old Line State”. The project has identified Henry Chew Gaither as one of the heroic “Maryland 400” soldiers in that battle.
A plaque at the Battle of Brooklyn Old Stone House Museum commemorates the bravery and heroism of the Marylanders who held the British long enough to enable the Continental Army to escape and avoid total destruction. The plaque states: “In Honor of Maryland’s Four Hundred Who on This Battlefield August 27th 1776 Saved the American Army”.
The Archives’ project team is seeking biographical information about the soldiers they’ve identified, including Henry Chew Gaither. It would be wonderful if one of our Society members, who may have researched Henry, or be interested in researching Henry, could prepare a biography for submission to the project. Colonel Henry was one of the few Revolutionary officers who continued to serve honorably in the American Army long after the Revolution.
For inspiration, I encourage you to visit the project’s fabulous website at: www.msamaryland400.wordpress.com. Among other items of interest on that site, is the will of Captain Daniel Bowie, Commander of the Maryland 4th Regiment, which Henry Chew Gaither witnessed on the eve before the battle.