Interesting bit of history

What was the Black Robed Regiment?

The Black Robed Regiment was the name that the British placed on the courageous and patriotic American clergy during the Founding Era (a backhanded reference to the black robes they wore). Significantly, the British blamed the Black Regiment for American Independence, and rightfully so, for modern historians have documented that:

There is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763.
It is strange to today’s generation to think that the rights listed in the Declaration of Independence were nothing more than a listing of sermon topics that had been preached from the pulpit in the two decades leading up to the American Revolution, but such was the case.

But it was not just the British who saw the American pulpit as largely responsible for American independence and government, our own leaders agreed. For example, John Adams rejoiced that “the pulpits have thundered” and specifically identified several ministers as being among the “characters the most conspicuous, the most ardent, and influential” in the “awakening and a revival of American principles and feelings” that led to American independence.

Across subsequent generations, the great and positive influence of the Revolutionary clergy was faithfully reported. For example:

As a body of men, the clergy were pre-eminent in their attachment to liberty. The pulpits of the land rang with the notes of freedom. The American Quarterly Register [MAGAZINE], 1833

If Christian ministers had not preached and prayed, there might have been no revolution as yet – or had it broken out, it might have been crushed. Bibliotheca Sacra [BRITISH PERIODICAL], 1856

The ministers of the Revolution were, like their Puritan predecessors, bold and fearless in the cause of their country. No class of men contributed more to carry forward the Revolution and to achieve our independence than did the ministers. . . . [B]y their prayers, patriotic sermons, and services [they] rendered the highest assistance to the civil government, the army, and the country. B. F. Morris, HISTORIAN, 1864

The Constitutional Convention and the written Constitution were the children of the pulpit.
Alice Baldwin, HISTORIAN, 1918

Had ministers been the only spokesman of the rebellion – had Jefferson, the Adamses, and [James] Otis never appeared in print – the political thought of the Revolution would have followed almost exactly the same line. . . . In the sermons of the patriot ministers . . . we find expressed every possibly refinement of the reigning political faith. Clinton Rossiter, HISTORIAN, 1953

The American clergy were faithful exponents of the fullness of God’s Word, applying its principles to every aspect of life, thus shaping America’s institutes and culture. They were also at the forefront of proclaiming liberty, resisting tyranny, and opposing any encroachments on God-given rights and freedoms. In 1898, Methodist bishop and church historian Charles Galloway rightly observed of these ministers:

Mighty men they were, of iron nerve and strong hand and unblanched cheek and heart of flame. God needed not reeds shaken by the wind, not men clothed in soft raiment [Matthew 11:7-8], but heroes of hardihood and lofty courage. . . . And such were the sons of the mighty who responded to the Divine call.


Thank you so much for sharing this.


Great read. Thanks for posting


That is incredible that people of the clergy, god fearing men, have such a great place in history. I learned something new today.



Really unknown history. Thanks.


It came up on the Appleseed Project Facebook page.


Never heard of them. Thanks for the info.


Another cool story from history.

Good morning! Welcome to Project Appleseed’s Women’s History Month series on Revolutionary War Heroines. All month long we’ll bring you tales of ordinary women who, as it turns out, were not actually very ordinary at all. Join us, won’t you?

There is much debate among historians regarding the true identity of the legendary Revolutionary War heroine known as Molly Pitcher. There are several women whose extraordinary bravery and fortitude stand out in the annals of American History, any one of whom could have been the basis for the legend.

One such woman is Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley. Mary Ludwig was born to humble German immigrants, and married William Hays in her early 20s. In 1777, William enlisted in the 4th Pennsylvania Artillery Company of the Continental Army. Mary, along with many of the other wives, followed her husband and his Company. These women were invaluable, as they helped cook, mend clothing, nurse the sick and wounded, all without drawing on the fledgling nation’s limited monetary resources. They were also known to carry water to the soldiers on the battlefield during lulls in the fighting, and to the artillery for use in swabbing the barrels of the cannon.

On June 28, 1778, the 4th Pennsylvania was engaged at the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey. Legend has it that it was over 100° that day, and William Hays was assigned the task of loading cannon after every shot. The barrels of those cannon grew hotter with each shot fired. Combined with the heat of the day, Hays was overcome with heat exhaustion and pulled behind the artillery line to recover. With no one else available to load the cannon in his place, that piece was essentially useless. Mary took up his duties at the cannon, loading and firing it herself. We know of this incident because a private in the army later wrote about it in his diary. According to the diary entry, a cannonball shot Mary right between the legs, tearing up her petticoats—but she kept going!

Private Joseph Martin explained: “While in the act of reaching a cartridge . . . , a cannon shot from the enemy passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat. Looking at it with apparent unconcern, she observed that it was lucky it did not pass a little higher, for in that case it might have carried away something else, and continued her occupation.”

The diary entry also states that following the battle she was granted the rank of Sergeant. A Revolutionary War poem recalls:

Molly Pitcher, she took up her gun
and rammed the charges home, Sir
And thus on Monmouth’s bloody field,
A Sergeant did become, Sir

William Hays died in 1786 from his battle wounds. Upon his passing, he left a large amount of land to Mary. Six years later Mary Hays married John McCauley. He was also a veteran of the American Revolutionary War, but it is said that he spent her inheritance then disappeared sometime after 1807. Hays lived the rest of her life in Carlisle, Pennsylvania working as a general servant and a domestic. In 1822, the Pennsylvania State Legislature awarded Hays a pension of $40 per year for her service and heroism in the war. She died on January 22, 1832 and was buried in the Carlisle Old Graveyard in Carlisle, PA. At her burial site, she is under the name “Molly McCauley,” with a cannon and a statue of “Molly Pitcher” above her tombstone.

#womenshistorymonth #bravewomen #projectappleseed

Works Cited:
Tara Ross at
the Cumberland County Historical Society at
Kerri Lee Alexander, National Women’s History Month Fellow