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Capt John Chilton
Birth: Aug. 22, 1739
Prince William County
Virginia, USA
Death: Sep. 11, 1777
West Chester
Chester County
Pennsylvania, USA

On Aug 22nd 1739, he was born in Rock Spring in Prince William County, Virginia.

On July 26, 1767, he was commissioned lieutenant in Captain Morehead's company of militia.

In 1775, he organized a company of volunteers from Fauquier County.

On April 29th, 1776 he was commissioned captain in the 3rd Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line.

In the summer of 1776, George Washington's Continental Army was in a tough spot. The British had landed on Long Island in late August and were advancing on New York City. What Washington needed most was more soldiers. Virginia responded by sending the 3rd Virginia Infantry, the Old Dominion's first contribution of regulars to Washington's army. Captain John Chilton, a thirty-eight-year-old farmer from Fauquier County, was among those who traveled north with the unit. "Great things are expected from the Virginians," he explained to his father-in-law,"and of consequence we must go through great fatigue & danger."

On September 11, 1777, with Col. Thomas Marshall commanding, he was killed at the Battle of Brandywine. Col. Marshall's 3rd Virginia Regiment were ordered to take up positions in an orchard at the intersection of what is now Street Rd. and Birmingham Rd. About 3 pm on a very hot September afternoon, our William and about 150 fellow soldiers took up positions in this orchard. As the first squad of British Dragoons and Light Infantry approached along Birmingham Road, Col. Marshall's forces were the first to open fire. They were able to stop the British and force them to fall back. Soon after, the British light infantry attacked Marshall's front and left flank. Seeing his situation deteriorate, Marshall ordered his men to fire and fall back. William took cover along with the rest of his regiment behind a low stone fence near the Birmingham Meeting House. They were holding their own, but sustained heavy casualties. The British were working their way up Birmingham Hill to the left of Marshall's troops. The British got enough men through that they were able to make an assault and drive Marshall off the hill. The Colonials ordered a retreat to a second position on a small hill to the rear of Birmingham Hill. Col. Marshall was ordered to pull back after suffering 54% casualties.

A soldier of Captain Chilton's company gave this account of his death: "Captain Chilton realized that he had received a mortal wound, but requested that he should not be borne from the field during the battle, but that he should be placed against a tree in view of his soldiers. He did this for two reasons, that his men might not be discouraged by the thought that his wound was serious, and because of the small number of soldiers engaged in this battle. Even those used for bearing him from the field to a place where his wounds could be dressed, would have been missed." After the battle he was taken to an old Meeting House nearby where he died in a few hours. He had been recommended for promotion by Col. Marshall a few days before the battle. His sword and other personal effects were brought home by returning soldiers, but his body lies where he fell. His children doubly orphaned, their mother having died before the war began, were reared by his brother Charles and other members of the family. "Rockspring" was eventually sold and passed out of the family.

A diary kept by him during greater part of his military campaign recording principal events of the war, is now owned by his great granddaughter Mrs. Eugene MacDonnell of Baltimore; another great-granddaughter, Mrs. C. B. Ryan, of Norfolk, Va., has a valuable letter written by him to his father in law, Mr. Joseph Blackwell, describing the comparative strength of the British and American forces outside of New York. Accompanying it is a drawing executed by himself of the relative position of each army

The last entry in his diary reads "Tuesday Sept. 9th, at 2 in the morning we had orders to march, took the road from Newport to Wilington 2 miles then turned to almost north about 2 ms more. we then marched west course 10 miles s. w. and crossed Brandywine Creek and encamped on the heights of the creek."

1) VA Historical Society biography on Captain John Chilton
2) Heitman-Historical Register of Officers of the
Continental Army (page 154)
3) Wikipedia - Third Regiment of Virginia Regulars
4) - The Battle of Brandywine


John Chilton (1666-1726)
Lettice "Letitia" Mary Ball (1670-1737)

Mordecai Cooke (1680-1715)
Elizabeth Buckner (1689-1731)

Thomas Chilton (1699-1775)
Jemima Cooke (1707-1796)

Mary Chilton 1724 1788
Hannah Chilton 1726 1793
William Douglas Chilton 1730 1774
Thomas Chilton Before 1739
Charles Hereford Chilton 1741 1793
Stephen Chilton 1742 1774
Elizabeth Chilton 1744

Letitia Blackwell married on April 10, 1768

Thomas Chilton 1769 1835
Nancy Chilton 1771
George Chilton 1772 1852
Joseph Chilton 1774 1841
Lucy Chilton 1775 1855

Interesting Notes
There is a book named "They Behaved Like Soldiers: Captain John Chilton and the Third Virginia Regiment 1775-1778"

President George Washington and John Chilton were 2nd cousins. John's grandmother Lettice "Letitia" Mary Ball
was 1st cousins with George's mother.

Last Updated
Oct 4, 2015

Family links: 
  Thomas Chilton (1699 - 1775)
  Jemima Cooke Chilton (1707 - 1796)
  Letitia Blackwell Chilton (1750 - 1775)*
  George Chilton (1772 - 1852)*
  John Chilton (1739 - 1777)
  Charles Chilton (1741 - ____)*
*Calculated relationship
Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery
West Chester
Chester County
Pennsylvania, USA
Maintained by: Keith Chilton
Originally Created by: P Fazzini
Record added: Dec 13, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 62866486
Capt John Chilton
Added by: Robin Simmons
Capt John Chilton
Added by: Scrappy
Capt John Chilton
Cemetery Photo
Added by: gravemarker
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In love and thanksgiving for my uncle. The book containing his diary "They Behaved like Soldiers" can be purchased through Amazon.
- a niece of Captain Chilton
 Added: Oct. 3, 2016

- Sherry
 Added: Sep. 26, 2015
Rest in peace to my husband's 5x great grandfather...
- Kim B
 Added: Dec. 14, 2014
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This page is sponsored by: Keith Chilton

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