Revolutionary War:  Origins of the 14th Continental Regiment



Excerpts from "Gen. John Glover and His Marblehead Mariners" by George Athan Billias.

The regiment had its origin in the Massachusetts militia system begun in the days of Indian warfare.  One can trace its pedigree all the way back to the old East Regiment formed in 1636 as part of the Essex County militia.  But until the turn of the 18th century, the Marblehead militia was nothing to brag about.  Barnard, one of the local clergymen, reported in 1714 that '
... there were two companies of poor, smoke-dried, rude, ill-clothed men, trained to no military discipline but that of Whipping the Snake as it was called.'

"But as Marblehead grew in population and economic importance, the militia grew with it.  A half-century later, the long-lived Barnard could write proudly: ' . . . we are a distinct regiment, consisting of seven full companies, well clad, of bright countenances, vigorous and active men, so well trained in the use of their arms, and the various motions and marches, that I have heard some Colonels of other regiments, and a Brigadier General say, they never saw throughout the country, . . . nor in Boston, so goodly an appearance of spirited men, and so well exercised a regiment.'

"Glover got his earliest military training and experience with this local militia.  His service dated back to 1759 when he was appointed ensign in the Third Foot company in the Fifth County Regiment; three years later, he received a second commission as captain lieutenant, and in 1773 he was made captain of a company in Colonel John Gallison's regiment.

" . . . In mid-December, 1775, Glover's unit left Cambridge and returned to the vicinity of Marblehead and Beverly.  The change in location coincided with a change in designation.  When a new army was formed on the 1st of January, 1776, Glover's regiment was redesigned the Fourteenth Continental."

" . . . The Fourteenth Continental was an infantry regiment, but its uniforms smacked more of the seas than the army.  Enlisted men usually were outfitted in blue jackets, white shirts, breeches, and caps. . . ."

"Glover showed a real talent for training his men.  Even more important, he infused some of his own fighting spirit into the regiment.  That he succeeded in whipping the unit into shape as a disciplined military force was evident by the grudging admiration shown by a Pennsylvania officer who normally had little respect for Yankee troops:  'The only exception I recollect to have seen to these miserably constituted bands from New England was the regiment of Glover from Marblehead.  There was an appearance of discipline in this corps; the officers seem to have mixed with the world, and to understand what belonged to their stations.  Though deficient perhaps, in polish, it possessed an apparent aptitude for the purpose of its institution, and gave confidence that myriads of its meek and lowly brethren were incompetent to inspire.'

    Our thanks to Bill and Julie Power for extracting the above quotes from "Gen. John Glover and His Marblehead Mariners" by George Athan Billias.

Lineage of the 14th Continental Infantry 

General John Glover

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Revolutionary War:  Origins of the 14th Continental Regiment
Copyright 2013  14th Infantry Regiment Association
Last modified: January 20, 2013