General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

James Grant

James Grant, an early Pioneer in Anderson County became the first person to survey the entire Cumberland Gap region and help map the entire state of KY in 1792.
James Grant was born in 1754 in Saybrook Connecticut. In June, 1775, Grant joined the CT militia under the command of Israel Putnam. His first battle would be at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.
  The battle of Bunker Hill, the 2nd major battle fought in Massachusetts was actually fought on Breeds Hill adjacent to Bunker Hill. The Battle of Bunker Hill was once nicknamed the Battle of Blunder hill by a military analyst due to all the military blunders that occurred by both armies.
 Some of the British blunders that occurred were:
1)     Early on the morning of June 17 at dawn, General Gage meets with Clinton and Howe to discuss the possible attack on Breeds Hill. Gage refuses to approve a plan by Clinton to sail up the Mystic River and place 500 troops behind the rebel position on Charlestown Neck and position the British troops on Bunker Hill adjacent to Breeds Hill and fire down on the enemy and cut off their retreat, while another General leads a frontal assault on the rebel lines. Had Gage approved this plan the Continental war may have been over at Bunker Hill.
2)   The British brought the wrong size cannonballs for the field artillery. They brought 12 pound cannon balls which were too large to be placed in the cannons making them useless in the campaign.
3)   Due to caution, the British march straight up against the fortified lines instead of attacking from the rear.
4)   A delay in the British attack gave the Patriots time to put up a barrier across the beach forcing the British to use only frontal assaults during the battle, making it impossible to encircle and out flank the patriot army. Howe ordered 3 frontal assaults which killed or wounded half his army. The British would suffer 225 killed and 828 wounded
5)   All of Howe’s 92 officers were killed during the battle which severely disrupted the command structure of the British army for the next several months.
The patriots finally ran out of gunpowder forcing them to retreat. It was first considered a British victory only because the patriots were first to withdraw. Today it is considered a Patriot victory because the greatest army in the World was almost decimated by an untrained civilian militia army.
During the winter months of early 1776, Grant and the Connecticut militia sneaked into Boston and burned the houses of several British Officers making them homeless. The next battle Grant would participate in was the Battle of White Plains on October 28, 1776.
 At White Plains, Grant and his fellow Connecticut militia were forced to retreat during a British cavalry charge up Chatterton hill.  The Continental army was forced to retreat to Pennsylvania.
 The next battle Grant would participate in was the battle of Fort Mifflin. Fort Mifflin played a key role in the defense of the Delaware River. From November 15-17, 1777, Fort Mifflin withstood the largest and worst naval bombardment of the Revolutionary war for 2 days with over 250 British warships pounding Fort Mifflin finally into submission. Grant would survive to go to a winter’s hell at Valley Forge.
 After Valley Forge, Grant would not participate in the revolutionary war until the battle of Yorktown. He was there when Cornwallis surrendered. Grant would remain the Continental army for next the four years after the war in the Carolinas chasing Tories and fighting Indians.
       In 1785, Grant moved to Philadelphia and studied as an apprentice at the Pennsylvania Gazette. When he moved to Knoxville TN in 1790 he started the first newspaper in TN, the Knoxville Gazette. In 1792, Grant went on a mapping expedition with Gilbert Imlay and helped draw up the first map of KY In 1797, Grant moved to what would become Anderson County.  In 1799, Grant surveyed the entire Cumberland Gap region. In 1818, grant filed for a pension in Campbell County. In 1824 at the age of 71 Grant died and was buried in Anderson County at Mt Moriah Cemetery.   


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