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William Lindsey of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania


William was a sergeant in Capt. Joseph Erwin's independent company, which was raised in Westmoreland County.  Erwin's company was in the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776.  After the battle, many men in Erwin's company were missing, including three sergeants.  William was one of the missing sergeants.  He did not appear on any of the muster rolls in 1777.  Captain James Carnahan, who had been a lieutenant in Erwin's company in 1776, was also captured in the battle.  Carnahan, who was released in December of 1776, later reported that William Lindsey had died by November of 1776.

Below are images of Capt. Joseph Erwin's muster roll in 1776.  William Lindsay is listed, along with three other sergeants. I'm unsure of the dates of the first three pages; on the fourth page it says that three of the four sergeants were missing.  The battle date referred to is August 27, 1776.  This was the Battle of Long Island. The second set of three pages is a muster roll taken at King's Bridge on Sept. 4, 1776.  Three unnamed sergeants were also reported missing on this muster.

PA Archives Series 5, Volume 2, Pages 391-396:

Lt. James Carnahan was also captured.  He was released in Dec. 1776.  William Lindsay is a sergeant  nin Erwin's company.  

Three sergeants were captured in the battle on August 27th. Erwin's company was at King's Bridge on Sept. 4, 1776.

   3 sergeants are missing since the battle on August 27th.


In 1777, Captain Joseph Erwin had been transferred to the 9th PA regiment.1  James Carnahan took over as captain of Erwin's former company, which was now part of the 13th PA regiment.2  Carnahan's company was stationed at Red Bank in May of 1777.  Below are images of the muster roll of Carnahan's company that was taken on May 9, 1777.  John Justice and James Dugan, who had been sergeants with William Lindsey in 1776, are shown on the list as sergeant and ensign. William Lindsey is not listed on the muster roll.

PA Archives Series 5, Vol. 2, Pages 550-553:

  Three sergeants are listed: Henry Fitzgerald,     William Waddle, and John Justice.    


Below is an image of James Carnahan's Co. muster roll dated  October 13, 1777.  Again, William Lindsey is not on the roll. The sergeants listed are now Henry Fitzgerald, William Waddle, John Justice, and Patrick Mulvany.

NARA Publication M-246, Microfilm Roll 84, Folder 40, Page 32:


In December of 1777, Captain Carnahan made a list of men from his company who had been taken prisoner.  By each name he listed the months for which they were owed arrears pay.  William Lindsey was owed pay for September, October, and November.  I think William must have died in November of 1776, while in captivity.

Below is an image of a list of men in James Carnahan's company who had been taken prisoner at the Battle of Long Island. The list shows the months for which the men were owed arrears pay.  William Lindsey and Samuel Roddy, who had been sergeants in 1776, are both on the list, and both are shown as deceased.  Though the list is dated December 31, 1777, I think the months shown are for 1776, because none of the men listed as deceased were on any muster rolls in 1777.  Men who were on the list shown as alive in December of 1777, had been listed as missing by Joseph Erwin in 1776 (see images above).  These men must have been released or perhaps they escaped because they appeared on the muster rolls for 1777.

I think that because James Carnahan was also taken prisoner in September of 1776 and released that December, he was probably aware of when the men who had been captured with him died while in captivity. William Lindsey may still have been alive when Carnahan was released, but because William never returned, Carnahan assumed that he had died.  Perhaps the last time Carnahan saw William Lindsey alive was in November of 1776.

NARA Publication M-246, Microfilm Roll 84, Folder 41, Page 34:



1. Annals of Southwestern Pennsylvania, by Lewis Clark Walkinshaw. New York : Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc.,1939.  Page 99:;view=toc;c=pitttext

"There were some independent companies raised at Hannastown before the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment was assembled. Joseph Erwin for a time conducted a hotel at Hannastown across the way from the courthouse. He was also one of the five commissioners to find a permanent location for the county seat of Westmoreland, but being interested in Hannastown, along with Justice Robert Hanna, he joined with a majority of the commissioners in keeping the seat of justice there. Captain Joseph Erwin was commissioned a captain on April 6, 1776, and his company became a part of the 13th Pennsylvania Regiment, and later of the 2d Pennsylvania. Captain Erwin was himself promoted to the 9th Regiment."

2.  Ibid; pages 99-100:

"When this company came into action, there was necessarily a shifting of men and officers to later companies. There were casualtiies among some of the men, and others were captured at the battle of Long Island, on August 27, 1776, and in other engagements. First Lieutenant James Carnahan was promoted to a captaincy on March I, 1777, and his muster roll at Red Bank, New Jersey, dated May 9, 1777, shows many of the names of soldiers appearing in the earlier company of Captain Erwin"...


This page was updated on 2-5-2012

Susan Grabek