General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Ransom Day


Ransom Day was born on January, 15, 1760 in Louisa county Virginia.

In May 1780, Day joined the Virginia line of the Continental army. His first duty was at Charlottesville VA guarding the British Prisoners of Burgoyne’s army captured during the battle of Saratoga.

The American victory at Saratoga is considered by many military historians to be the most decisive battle during the Revolutionary war. It was this battle that brought both France and Spain into the war on the side of the Americans assuring America’s independence from Britain.

 The British made 4 blunders that led to their defeat at Saratoga on October 1777.

1)     The British defeat at Fort Stanwix(August 6, 1777) which prevented 1000 Iroquois Indians and 600 loyalists from forming Ranks with Burgoyne

2)      British defeat at Bennington NY (August 11, 1777). This battle prevented Burgoyne from getting badly needed supplies and lost 10 percent of his army trying to procure these supplies.

3)      Howe’s decision to attack Washington at Brandywine on September 11, 1777 instead of meeting Burgoyne at Albany NY.

4)      Clinton’s inability to get the River boaters to take the British army past Fort Montgomery located south of Albany up the Hudson River after taking the fort on October 6 1777. The River boaters started a mutiny that kept Clinton stranded at Fort Montgomery and from participating in the battle of Saratoga.

       After the British defeat at Saratoga, the British were supposed to be sent back to England under the terms of the convention of Saratoga. Congress refused to send the soldiers back to England instead putting over 5700 British soldiers in prison in Boston. In January 1779, the British prisoners were sent to Charlottesville Virginia. They stayed there until October 1780 where they were marched up to a prison in Frederick Maryland in a deep snow. Some of the British prisoners froze to death during the march. This was the first Prisoner of war death march in U.S. Military History.

       Day stayed in Charlottesville until August 1780. Day went to Hillsboro NC where he joined Nathaniel Greene’s regiment. Day was later sent to Salisbury NC to help guard the British prisoners there.

       On February 11, 1781, Day participated in the famous Race to the Dan. It was an 80 mile race from NC to Halifax Virginia that Greene partook of with Cornwallis chasing close behind. For 3 days, Day and the rest of Greene’s army walked through snow and Freezing rain on an average of 19 miles per day. On the last day on February 14 they marched 40 miles in 16 hours without stopping to rest. Greene barely made it across the river before Cornwallis showed up. If Cornwallis had captured Greene on this side of the Dan River the Revolutionary war would have been over.

      Day participated in the battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 11, 1781 in Greensboro NC. Day was apart of the Virginia line located on the second line of defense. The Virginians fought bravely until Tarletan showed up with his cavalry.

     Day participated in the battle of Ninety six. This was the longest siege during the revolutionary war fought from May 27 until June 18, 1781. The British wanted to surrender, but never received orders to do so because all the Couriers were captured by the SC militia. Greene was soon forced to abandon his siege. This was the last battle Day would participate in.

    Day lived in Goochland county Virginia and Halifax Virginia after his service

 In 1794, Day met Elizabeth Smith and was soon married. They had at least 1 child from this union.  In 1806 Day moved to Claiborne County. In 1834 Day married Catherine Bowman.  The 1840 Claiborne county census shows two six year old kids, probably twins living with Day and Catherine. These may be there Children. In 1844 Day applied for his pension. Day died in 1847 three years later.

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