Washington and His Generals - Vol. 1

By Joel Tyler Headley | Go to book overview

BRIGADIER-GENERAL MORDECAI GIST.

MORDECM GIST was born in 1743. He was the son of Captain Thomas Gist and Susan Cockey, both of whose families were among the earliest English settlers in Maryland. He was trained for commercial life, and when the Revolution broke out he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. He proved himself a worthy son of that epoch of immortal men, and hastened to render his best services to his country.

In January of 1775 we find the first record of his military career. He was then elected to command a company of volunteers raised at Baltimore, from among the young men of the most respectable families. This was the first military body furnished by Maryland to the revolutionary army, and Gist seemed fitted to be the pioneer of his native state. His tall and graceful figure, symmetrical proportions, great strength, and expressive features lighted by an eye of singular brightness, indicated one of those chivalric characters who are created to lead others, and adorn the country of their birth.

At the battle of Long Island our hero had an opportunity of displaying the courage and sagacity, which were native to his character. At the commencement of 1776 he had been made major of a battalion of Maryland regulars, and in the absence of the colonel and lieutenant-colonel, he commanded his regiment. During the campaign of the succeeding year, he distinguished himself greatly for fidelity and steadiness. The hour of duty always found him at his post. This year he was made colonel, and together with Smallwood, whose name is on more than one occasion honourably connected with his own, com

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