William Milam (ca 1738 - 1791) - historical vignettes

John Hale Pension S1765:

“....He entered the service in Bedford County in the State of Virginia and from declarant's best recollection's in the year 1776 {actually July 1777} as a volunteer in the company commanded by Captain Harry Bluford – John Fields was Lieutenant and Abram Sharp an Ensign in the said Company. Declarant was marched from Bedford County through the Country to what was then the Cherokee Nation, and through it to the Long Island on Holston River where he was stationed. During the time declarant was stationed at the Long Island a treaty was held and peace was made with the Cherokees and he was there discharged by Captain Bluford having served this tour as a volunteer under him six months....He received a written discharge for a six months tour to a day from his said Captain. Declarant may mistake the year, but he is certain it was at the time the aforesaid treaty was held; declarant has a perfect recollection of having been at the treaty.

"Declarant returned from the treaty at the Long Island in the fall of the year – remained at home during the winter and went to school the summer following {1778} in Bedford County to one George Lambert. In the fall of the next year after declarant's first term of service {does he mean 1778 or 1779?} – the citizens of Bedford generally subject to Military duty were classed, and numbered in numbers from one to ten, and the numbers drawn for. Declarant recollects that his number was Seven.

Not long after this classification & in the same year declarant was called out and entered the service under Captain Charles Watkins – declarant thinks the Lieutenant's name was Milum {could it be William Milam}. He marched from Bedford County to Richmond and Norfolk and Little York and was marched from place to place without being stationed any length of time at any one until he was discharged – this tour having been called out for, served and discharged at the end of, three months – by Captain Watkins. He then returned home. – About this time a new County was established taken principally off of Bedford called as well as declarant recollects Campbell County...."

You may read a transcription of his entire declaration here .


NOTE: This is an intriguing statement. But there was no major action in eastern Virginia in the fall of 1778 which would have required a march there. Lieutenant John Milam and Captain Charles Gwatkins' company of Bedford Militia did march to Boonesville for its defense in the fall of 1777.

The Sir George Collier's invasion of Portsmouth in May of 1779 was so brief, three weeks, that distant militias were not called out. Similarly General Alexander Leslie's invasion Portsmouth in October 1780 only lasted four weeks.

Furthermore, William Milam was in Bedford County Court on 27 JUL 1778, 29 SEP 1778 and 25 OCT 1778. He was also in Court on 22 NOV 1779.

On 28 AUG 1780 William was made a Lieutenant. And we know that he and Benjamin Milam were called into active service in February 1781 and headed for the battle of Guilford Court House which ws fought on 15 MAR 1781.

I suppose that it is possible that Captain Gwatkins and Lt William Milam lead a company of Bedford militia in response to British Gen Lesie's invasion of 21 OCT 1780. Any ideas??
















To Top