Harley Stewart, a member and past president of the Williamsburg Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, attended the dedication of a monument to the Culpeper Minute Battalion on October 24, 2020 at Culpeper, Virginia. On the monument was engraved the name of one of his patriot ancestors, John Chilton, a captain in the Fauquier County company. Chilton was already recognized by a gold star on Stewart’s ribbon of chapter presidency.
The Battalion was formed in August 1775 as an elite militia unit, it did a lot of training, and, having passed through Williamsburg, fought in the battles of Hampton, Great Bridge, and Norfolk. Those battles ended British presence in Virginia until 1781. The Minute Battalion included a special unit of riflemen (not muskets) that were used with deadly effect at the battles.
The Battalion was disbanded in October 1776 to become part of the army of George Washington, who had appealed for troops from the various states. Chilton found himself a captain in the 3rd Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army. He fought in the battles of Harlem Heights, Trenton, and Brandywine Creek. At Brandywine he was wounded and died on the battlefield. He left five orphaned children, one of which led to a grandchild named Lucy Chilton. Lucy married a Hiram Stewart. Lucy and Hiram were the grandparents of Stewart’s grandparents.
Stewart’s Revolutionary War ancestor, John Chilton, is the subject of a book by Mike Cecere, a Williamsburg resident and recipient of the Virginia Society SAR Outstanding Teacher of the Year award in 2005. The book, entitled They Behaved Like Soldiers, is a collection of the diary entries and letters home of Chilton while he served.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart