The following is an accounting of the military career of Joseph Yadon (Yeadon) of County Down and later Tennessee. He was the son of Jacob and Elizabeth "Betsy" Proctor Yeadon.
The Muster Rolls of the 62nd Regiment of Foot commence in 1772 and the first reference to Joseph Yeadon was found on 21st July 1772 where he is shown as being a drummer and was stationed at Ballinrobe, Ireland. He was a member of Captain George Marlay’s Company at the time. He was 15 years, 7 months of age at this reference. Joseph remain at Ballinrobe until about July 1773 when he is found to be with the company in Dublin. They remained there until about July 1774 when the company was relocated to Cork. In July 1775 they are back in Ballinrobe. In February 1776 Marlay's Company is stationed in Galway where they are recruiting. In April 1776 the company is in Monkstown. Joseph is age 19 years and 3 months at this time. Records between April 1776 and April 1777 do not survive.
The 62nd Regiment of Foot departed in 1776 for Canada. Once there they would eventually become part of General John Burgoyne troops. Burgouyne embarked from St. Johns (now St. Jean), Canada, on June 17, 1777, with a total force of some 9,000 men, including about 4,200 British regulars, 4,000 German troops, and several hundred Canadians and Indians. Burgoyne's first major objective, Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, fell on July 6, after a four-day siege. Moving southward through Skenesboro and Fort Edward, the British were impeded by rough terrain and the delaying tactics of General Philip Schuyler, then commanding American troops in the Northern Department.
On September 13, Burgoyne crossed to the west bank of the Hudson at Saratoga (now Schuylerville) and marched southward. Four miles north of the village of Stillwater, the British force came upon the Americans, 9,000 strong under the command of General Horatio Gates. The Americans were entrenched on Bemis Heights where the road squeezed through a gap between the hills and the Hudson River. American artillery on the heights and in redoubts along the Hudson commanded the river and the road. Burgoyne’s army had either to run the gauntlet between the hills and the river, thus risking destruction, or drive the Americans from their fortifications on the heights. The British general chose to fight.
On September 19 the British army advanced upon the American Camp in three separate columns. Two of them headed through the heavy forests covering the region; the third, composed of German troops, marched down the river road. The American scouts detected Burgoyne’s army on the march and notified Gates, who ordered Col. Daniel Morgan’s corps riflemen to track the British march. About 12:30 p.m., some of Morgan’s men brushed with the advanced guard of Burgoyne’s center column in a clearing known as the Freeman Farm, about a mile north of the American camp.
The following battle swayed back and forth over the farm for more than three hours. As the British lines began to waver in the face of the deadly fire of the Americans, German Reinforcements arrived form the river road. Hurling them against the American right, Burgoyne steadied the wavering British line and gradually forces the Americans to withdraw. Except for the timely arrival of the German troops and the near exhaustion of the Americans’ ammunition, Burgoyne might have very well have been defeated that day. Though he held the field of battle, Burgoyne was shaken by his ‘victory,’ and ordered his troops to entrench in the vicinity of Freeman Farm and await support from British General Clinton, who was supposedly preparing to move north toward Albany from New York City. Burgoyne waited for nearly three weeks but Clinton did not come.
Burgoyne’s situation was becoming critical. He was facing a growing American army without hope of help from the south, and his supplies were rapidly running out. The British army became weaker with each passing day. Burgoyne had to choose between advancing or retreating. He decided to risk a second engagement, and on October 7 ordered a reconnaissance - in - force of 1,500 men to test the American left flank. Marching southwesterly about three-quarters of a mile, the troops deployed in a clearing on the Barber Farm. Tthe Americans knew that Burgoyne’s army was again on the move and at about 3 p.m. attacked in three columns…Repeatedly the British line was broken, then rallied, and both flanks were severely punished and driven back.
Before the British flanks could be rallied, General Benedict Arnold (who had been relieved of command after a quarrel with Gates) rode onto the field and led troops against the Germans holding the British center. Under tremendous pressure from all sides, the Germans joined a general withdrawal back to their fortifications on the Freeman Farm. Within an hour after the opening clash, Burgoyne lost eight cannon and more than 400 officers and men.
Darkness ended the day’s fighting and saved Burgoyne’s army from disaster. That night the British commander withdrew his troops to the Great Redoubt, which protected the high ground and river flats at the northeast corner of the battlefield. On the night of October 8, the British began their retreat northward. They had suffered 1,000 casualties in the fighting of the past three weeks; American losses numbered less than 500.
After marching in the mud and rain, Burgoyne’s troops took refuge in a fortified camp on the heights of Saratoga. There an American force of nearly 20,000 men surrounded the exhausted British army. Faced with such overwhelming numbers, Burgoyne surrendered on October 17, 1777.
Joseph Preston Yeadon (Yadon) and the 62nd Regiment of Foot formed the center of British General Hamilton’s brigade during Burgoyne's campaign down from Canada. This brigade was the second brigade of the [British] right wing of the army. The 62d was not only at the battle of Freeman’s farm on 19 September 1777, but were unarguably the most involved unit. They sustained more casualties (killed, captured, and wounded) that day in battle than any other British unit in battle in the whole war! They had been with the Canadian army since spring 1776 and served till the Convention of Saratoga. Their service was relatively short, but difficult.
The British commanders were repatriated but because of some disagreement with the British conduct following the surrender the ranks were not repatriated. Joseph Yadon was one of these. These prisoners were marched from New York down into Virginia toward the Albemarle Barracks, at Charlottesville, VA. Finally in 1779, Yadon enlisted in the American army at Martinsburg, VA (now West Virginia). He was a member off Colonel Joseph Crockett's Western Battalion. In September 1780, Crockett’s men were sent to Ft. Pitt (Pittsburg) where they joined General George Rogers Clark. In June of 1781, General George Rogers Clark with a force of 400 men, left Ft. Pitt by boat and headed down the Ohio River to The Falls of the Ohio (now Louisville, KY). They stayed at The Falls until December when Joseph Yadon was discharged.
On January 12, 1782, now back in Martinburg, Virginia, Joseph Yadon married Mary Susannah Pennybaker, daughter of Jacob and Christina Dotterer Pennybaker.
Coincidentally, while Joseph Yadon was hunkered down in New York state in September and October 1777, back in Pennsylvania, Pennebacker Mills (Pennypacker Mills as it is known today) was being used by General George Washington as his headquarters just prior to and immediately after the Battle of Germantown. Although Jacob Pennybaker's father, Peter Pennebacker, had died in 1770, his mother still lived there with son Samuel to whom the property went following Peter's death. Three graves of American soldiers are to be found on the property today. Presumably others lie in unmarked graves. The house had remained in the family until about 1900 when a descendent of one of Peter Pennebacker's brothers acquired the house. Samuel Whitacker Pennypacker remodeled the home into a gentleman's country home. He was govenor of Pennsylvania in the early 1900s. His descendents turned the home over to Montgomery County. Pennypacker Mills is today owned a park owned by Montgomery County and open to the public.
Mary Susannah Pennybaker's brother Conrad Pennybaker was a Fife Major 44th Virginia regiment in 1778 and died while in the army.
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