General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Abel White

Abel White was born in 1758 in New Hampshire. At the age of 17 in 1775, White joined The Captain Carlyle Company of the Bedell Regiment. White was one of the few men to join the state Militia. Only one tenth of the male population of New Hampshire would join the State militia or Continental army, the least of any of the other 13 colonies.
 From August 21, 1775 until November3, 1775, White participated in the battle of Fort St. Jeans under the command of American General Richard Montgomery. Fort Jeans was located on the Canadian border near the city of ST. Jean. The fort guarded the entrance to Canada with over 300 British troops stationed there.
The battle of Fort Jeans was the first attempt of a Canadian Invasion in hopes of making Canada the 14th Colony.  For over 3 months, the Continentals tried to take the fort. Finally on November3, 1775 the British surrendered.
 On December 31, 1775, White participated in the battle of Quebec. Quebec was the final stronghold to be taken in Canada. If it could be taken Canada would become the 14th colony. The battle took place under the command of Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery. Arnold, the most brilliant military Commander of the Continental Army led his 900 man army up against a British army twice his size in a freezing blizzard. Snow drifts were so high in some places that over 20 Continental soldiers were found buried in the snow frozen to death during the spring thaw.
 Arnold attacked the City of Quebec from one side while Montgomery attacked the other side of the city. Montgomery was soon killed and Arnold was soon badly wounded in his leg. Daniel Morgan became the commander of the expedition. When most of the 900 men became surrounded by the British, his men begged Daniel Morgan to surrender, Morgan refused. The Battle only ended when Morgan surrendered his sword to a French priest. Morgan would write a letter to Washington saying it would be a cold day in Hell before he would surrender to the British army. The defeat at Quebec was a cold day of hell for the Continental army.  
 From March 1776 until May 1776, Arnold attempted to capture the city of Quebec again, but was forced to retreat when a major smallpox epidemic broke out. Over 900 men would contract Smallpox and die before reaching New York after the retreat. This was the last Canadian Invasion
In May 1776, White would participate at the battle of the Cedars. Fort Cedars was an American garrison located in Montreal Canada under the command of Col. Timothy Bedell, commander of Bedell’s regiment of which White was apart of.
 Most of the Bedell’s regiment was captured and sent to prison ships off the coast of Long Island NY. Over 40% of the Continental troops sent to these prison ships, nearly 11000 men, would die before the end of the Revolutionary war. White was one of he lucky ones to escape and make his way back to New Hampshire. This would be White’s last major battle.
From 1776 until the end of the war in 1783, White would spend most of his time chasing Tories and Indians along the border of Vermont. The Tories in New Hampshire were pretty much harmless doing little damage compared to the Tories in the other colonies. No Tory was ever hanged in New Hampshire. Only one Tory was ever sentenced to hang in New Hampshire, a Captain George Baxter commander of the New Hampshire loyalists. In 1777 on the day of his execution when he was supposed to be hanged, the rope broke when the scaffold dropped to hang Baxter. Baxter ran into the woods with the rope still tied around his neck and escaped never to be seen again.
 By 1780, Both the New Hampshire patriots and Tories were tired of the war. They were mostly interested in farming and plowing. In October 1783, the New Hampshire Gazette reported that the Treaty of Paris had been signed in September 1783 ended the war. The Governor of New Hampshire called for an ending of hostilities and the militia was dissolved.
 After the war White married Sarah Comfort. From this union they would have 10 children. In 1807, White would travel through the Cumberland Gap to Greenup county KY located in Eastern KY on the West VA border. In 1823, at the age of 65 White died and was buried on his farm.
 During the Civil war, Greenup county KY became a Union stronghold during the War.  On October 3, 1862, Union Commander Brigadier General George Morgan led 9000 Union troops during a retreat from Cumberland Gap to Greenup County KY. The Confederate forces in Barbourville KY had cut off Union supplies from KY making the retreat necessary. Cumberland Gap would change hands four times during the Civil war.
 Today most of White’s descendents are scattered all over Eastern KY.   


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