Joseph Yadon, a drummer in a British artillery
unit, became an American Patriot, fighting Indians with George Rogers Clark
during his 1781 Kentucky Campaign. Yadon was born in County Down Ireland on
December 17,1756 . In 1768, Yadon ran away from home after the death of one
of his parents. In 1772, Yadon joined the Irish 62nd artillery unit as a
drummer. In 1776, Yadon was sent to Quebec Canada with the rest of his
unit. On June 17, 1777, Yadon joined the Burgoyne Campagn with 9000 other
On July 6, 1777, Burgoyne captured Fort
Ticonderoga without firing a shot. General St. Clair had withdrew from the
fort with his men after determining the fort was indefensable. Burgoyne soon
caught up with St. Clair on July7th, and defeated him in a battle south of
The 62nd Irish regiment was sent with
British General Hamilton to capture an american supply flotilla on the
Hudson River under the command of a Col. Long. The British soon caught up
with Long and captured all the American supplies.
On September 13, Burgoyne came in Contact
with teh American Army under General Horation Gates. Burgoyne placed the
Irish 62nd Foot artillery unit with their 6 cannons in the center with
General Hamilton's regiment. One military analyst has said if Burgoyne had
placed the Artillery units on both flanks located upon the hills, the
British could have easily destroyed the American army. One note about
General Hamilton's regiment, One British army soldier wrote in his diary' I
do believe we have the worst muskets in the entire British army. They refuse
to fire and become jammed easily God help us when the enemy attacks.." Out
of the 6000 British muskets captured at Saratoga, 4647 muskets were
considered unusable by the American army.
During the battle of Freeman's farm fought on
September 19, 1777, Yadon, the drummer led his unit onto the field of
battle. During the battle, Yadon barely escaped with his life. At the end
of the battle, the 62nd Irish regiment sufferd the worst casulties of any
British unit during the battle. Out of 400 men, only 62 men survived the
battle not wounded. The British won the battle of Freeman's farm, but at a
very high cost of lives. One British soldier wrote " It was a very dear
victory with no tactical advantage accomplished".
There is no mention of the 62nd Irish
regiment in the battle of Saratoga fought on October 7, 1777 in the
British military records. The British were defeated when both flanks gave
away leaving the center exposed. a diary of a soldier in the 62nd foot is
the only source found that mentions the unit after October 7th,
1777. It talks about a torrential rain storm on October 8,1777. the diary
stated" the Heavens weep at our loss of victory. Tonight we will be forced
to sleep in the mud in our rain soaked clothes.".
On October 17, 1777, Burgoyne surrenders. Yadon
becomes one of the British prisoners sent to Prospect Hill near Boston
Prospect Hill located near Boston MA,
was the site of the winter encampment of 1775, site of the Citadel,
the largest Revolutionary war fortification in Massachusetts, and the site
of the raising of the first American flag. 2300 British Prisoners were sent
here after the battle of Saratoga
In November 1778, Yadon , along with
the British prisoners were moved to Albermarle Barracks near Charlottesville
VA. Yadon escaped, and joined an American unit in the Va militia. In October
1780, Yadon's unit was sent to escort the British Prisoners back to
Frederick Maryland. It is Ironic, had Yadon not escaped, he would have been
among the British prisoners marching to Frederick Maryland, instead of a
prisoner, he is now serving as one of the captors of the British army.
Since this march was done in the middle of Winter of 1780, this march is
considered one of the first prisoner of war death marches in British
Military history. Hundreds of British troops died during the winter march to
Frederick MD. the British Troops would stay in Frederick until August
1781, when they were moved again to York County PA.. Here over 40 British
soldiers died due to heat realted illness. In the winter of 1782-1783, a
camp fever due to dysentary problems broke out in the camp killing hundreds
of British soldiers.
Yadon was at frederick until june 1781
where he was then transferred to Fort Pitt. At Fort Pitt, Yadon joined an
expedition with George Rogers clark to the Falls of the Ohio. here they
fought a few skirmishes with Indians. In December 1781, Yadon was discharged
from the army.
On January 12, 1782, Yadon married Mary
Pennybaker. From this union they had 12 children. The Pennybaker family had
one of the largest flour mills in the Philadelphia area. In Septeber 1777,
Washington had encamped his men on the Pennybaker farms before the battle
of Germantown on October 7, 1777.
In 1802, Yadon moved to Grainger county Tn.
In 1832, Yadon applied for his revolutionary war pension . On September 1,
1842, Yadon died and was buried in Yadon family cemetery in Maynardville Tn.
During the Civil war, Nine Yadon family
members fought in the Civil war. Seven fought for the Confederacy and two
fought for the Union army. A Joseph Yadon, 1st Tn cavalry,a Confederate unit
was killed at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863.