General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Joseph Yadon

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 British troops.
 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 Ticonderoga.
  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.


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