Richard Humpton

Humpton (1733-1804) was born in England. He joined the British military, and as a captain was present during the 1758-59 siege of St. Malo in the West Indies. Humpton moved to America and settled along the upper Susquahanna River in Pennsylvania. He was named Lieutenant Colonel of the Flying Camp in July 1776. The Flying Camp was intended by Washington to be a group of mobile soldiers who would be able defend widely spread out geographic areas.

After the Flying Camp was disbanded, Humpton was made a colonel in the 11th PA. In early 1776 he helped to remove boats from the creeks along the Delaware River which proved to be an invaluable service. The British chased Washington across New Jersey late in 1776 but were unable to follow him into Pennsylvania once he crossed the Delaware River — there were not enough boats.

Humpton fought at Brandywine then moved on to Paoli. At Paoli, Humpton can hardly be blamed for what happened though. In the confused swirl of events, Wayne ordered the troops of the whole division to wheel to the right to face the enemy; then a subsequent "left-face" order for retreat was misunderstood by Humpton's regiment. Being Humpton's regiment was at the tail of the column, the order to face left actually caused Humpton's men to move the wrong way — right in front of the bright campfires and toward the British.

Humpton, who commanded the 2nd Pennsylvania Brigade, was stridently critical of Wayne's performance that night. His troops took the hardest hit.

Humpton fought the rest of the war and was breveted an brigadier general. After the war he retired to his farm.


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Philadelphia Campaign 1777