General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

John Bingham

John Bingham was born in 1763 in Albemarle county VA as the son of Charles Bingham and Margaret Smith. At the age of 14, Bingham joined the Virginia Line and fought in the New York Campaigns of Harlem Heights located on Manhattan Island and White plains. At the battle of Harlem Heights, The Virginia line showed for the first time they could fight effective against the British.
 Between December 1776 and January 3 1777, Bingham would participate in the battles of Trenton and Princeton. These two battles are considered the two most crucial battles of the Revolution. Had they lost here the Revolution would have been over.
 Between September 1777 and October 1777, Bingham participated in the Pennsylvania campaigns of Brandywine and Germantown. At Brandywine, Bingham and his Virginia Continentals were located in the center of the right flank on Birmingham Hill near the Birmingham Meeting house. When the British outflanked the Virginia Continentals, Bingham and his comrades positioned themselves behind a stone fence. During a Hessian bayonet charge, the Virginia Continentals were forced to retreat a half mile to a hill nicknamed Battle Hill. Five times the British forced the Virginia Continentals off of the hill, only to have the Virginians retake the hill each time. These Virginians had an attitude. They refused to let the enemy take one inch of their territory without a fight. It was this attitude of perseverance that would lead to their victory at Yorktown four years later. After two hours of fighting in 90 degree heat the Virginians ran out of gunpowder and ammunition so they were forced to withdraw from the battlefield.
 In December 1777, Bingham arrived at Valley Forge with 12000 other patriots. While at Valley Forge he was transferred to the command of the Marquis De Lafayette. Lafayette had first heard about the Revolution going on in America from having dinner with the duke of Gloucester, the brother of King George III. Lafayette decided to come to America and join the fight of Independence. Lafayette arrived in America in August 1777 and fought his first battle at Brandywine.
On January 23, 1778 Lafayette journeyed to Albany New York to plan a second invasion Of Canada. Since Bingham was now an officer under Lafayette command there is very good possibility Bingham went with him to Albany. The invasion was soon called off due to not being able to raise a militia or gather enough supplies for the invasion.
 On May 19, 1778, Bingham would engage in a small skirmish when British General Grant surprised Lafayette on the outskirts of Philadelphia near Barren Hill during a routine reconnaissance mission. Lafayette was able to withdraw his artillery and troops without any loss.
On June 21, 1778, Bingham would participate in the battle of Rhode Island. General Sullivan of the continental army was ordered by Washington to capture Aquidneck Island located off the coast of Rhode Island for a base for French ships to use to unload badly needed supplies from France. Bingham would serve in an artillery division under Lafayette at this battle. The battle ended in a draw with the Continentals unable to capture the Island.
 On June 28, 1778, Bingham would be with Lafayette at the battle of Monmouth NJ. Bingham fought bravely in the 95 degree heat and helped the Continentals capture a baggage train of General Howe of the British army that contained badly needed supplies.
In May 1780, Bingham would participate in the siege of Charleston. He was one of the 5500 prisoners taken but soon paroled if he promised not to fight the British again. The loss of Charleston was a severe blow to American Independence. The continentals lost four Continental Navy ships docked in the harbor and tons of Ammunition and gunpowder.
This was the last battle that Bingham would participate in. One source has it that Bingham would rise to rank of Captain while another says he rose to the rank of Colonel. After this battle Bingham moved back to Albemarle county VA where he would marry Deborah Phipps in 1789. They would have 5 children from this Union.
By 1795, Bingham would move to Knox county Kentucky making them one of the first pioneer families to move to Southeast KY. In 1808, Bingham moved in with his son Joshua who lived near by. In 1820 Bingham would move to Claiborne County where he would soon die that year at the age of 57. Bingham was buried at Green family cemetery in Calloway KY. After Bingham’s death, his wife Deborah would marry Samuel Rose.
 During the Civil war, Several of Bingham’s descendents fought on the Union side. At least one was captured and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond.
 Today most of Bingham’s descendents live in Southeast KY in the Bell county and Knox county Region.

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