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 John Armstrong, Jr

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John Armstrong, Jr

Revolutionary War Continental Army Officer, Continental Congressman, US Senator, Presidential Cabinet Secretary. He was the younger son of General John Armstrong, Sr., the famed general of the Revolutionary War and older brother of James Armstrong, who would become a doctor and United States Congressman. He went to the local schools in Carlisle and then off to the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton. College was interrupted so that he might join in the fight for our independence. With several people named John Armstrong fighting the Revolutionary War, including his famous father, the records and names sometimes get mixed up. He served as aide-de-camp for Major General Hugh Mercer until he carried the wounded and dying general from the battlefield at the Battle of Princeton. Armstrong then became the aide of Major General Horatio Gates and served him through the Battle of Saratoga. Poor health caused him to resign, but in 1782 Gates asked him to return with the rank of major, which he held trough the rest of the war. After the war he returned home to Carlisle and was made Adjutant General of Pennsylvania's militia and served as Secretary of State. In 1787 and 1788 he was a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress which offered to make him chief justice of the Northwest Territory. He declined this and all other offers for public office for the next twelve years. In 1789 he married Robert Livingston's sister Alida and they moved to New York and took up life as a gentleman farmer. In 1800 he replaced a resigning senator and in 1802 was reelected for his own term. He resigned just a few months later, only to return in 1804 when another Senator resigned. After serving four months of this term, President Jefferson named him minister of France where he served until 1810. During this time he also represented the United States at the court of Spain in 1806. At the start of the War of 1812 he was called back to service as a brigadier general in charge of defending New York. President Madison made him Secretary of War in 1813 and, after making a number of improvements in the armed forces, was blamed for the British burning Washington, DC and was forced to resign. He returned to New York and lived a quiet life while publishing some works on history, biographies, and agriculture. He died at home and his farm is still operating and is owned by the Livingston family.

Bio by: Tom Todd


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Garver Graver
  • Added: 1 Aug 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6653356
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Armstrong, Jr (25 Nov 1758–1 Apr 1843), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6653356, citing Rhinebeck Cemetery, Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .