Jeremiah Batcheller was just sixteen years old when he, his father, and his younger brother all signed up for a three-month enlistment in the Massachusetts Militia. It was the fall of 1776, and his company was sent to Dorchester Heights, overlooking Boston, to work on fortifications. When that enlistment was up, he signed up for another three months with a different company. He did that several times, culminating in a six-month enlistment with the Continental Army in the summer of 1780.
More than fifty years later, he had to recall all his enlistments, along with the names of his officers and the activities he engaged in. On June 7, 1832, Congress passed a pension act, and, to qualify, soldiers had to give sworn statements detailing their service. From those documents we know that he worked on fortifications and barracks on Castle Island in Boston Harbor. He marched to Riverton, Rhode Island when the British threatened to attack. Then, he was stationed at Provincetown and later North Kingston, Rhode Island. At one point, he served a month as a substitute for his brother, Joseph, so that he could visit home. That was spent in Rutland, Massachusetts guarding British soldiers who had surrendered at Saratoga.
Perrin was a farmer near Upton. His birth was recorded in nearby Grafton on Nov. 1st, 1737. He married Martha Fisk in Upton on April 24th, 1760. Both he and Martha were from families that had been in New England since the 1630’s.
He was at West Point when Benedict Arnold escaped and, later, he was witness to the execution of Major Andre, Arnold’s British contact. He would later recall to his family that Andre was well thought of by both British and Americans and there were few dry eyes after the hanging. He also liked telling the story of the time he kept General George Washington waiting in a heavy rainstorm for half an hour. It happened one night while he was standing picket duty. An officer and his staff approached and, when challenged to give the counter sign, stated that they had been away from camp when the sign was given and didn’t know what it was. Batcheller told them that they could not pass this point, to which the officer replied, “I am General Washington, Commander of the American Army.” Batcheller said that it didn’t make any difference who he was and refused to let him pass until word was sent on to the guard house and someone came back who could identify the general. As Washington rode by, he reached down and patted Jeremiah on the back, and said, “You are a good soldier.”
In all, he was credited with two years’ service and qualified for a pension of $80 per year. He would die two years later at age 71, but his widow, Lydia Prentice, continued to be eligible until she died in 1843. He had married Lydia on May 15, 1787 in her hometown of Hopkinton, MA. Shortly after that they moved to Slatersville, RI where they raised eleven children. Later they moved to Douglas, MA. They are both buried there in the Evergreen Cemetery.
References and Notes
MA Soldiers and Sailors of the Rev War Vol 1, p. 402.
Frederick Clifton Peirce, Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy (Chicago, Ill, Press of W. B. Conkey Company, 1898), pg. 434.
Batchelor Family, Unpublished manuscript, ca 1915 by Benjamin Batchelor.
Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Pension Number: W. 20654, Jeremiah Batchelor.
Earlville Cemetery Record, From Cemeteries of Madison County, NY Web Site, http://madisoncountynewyork.com/Cemeteries/Hamilton/HamEarlvilleI.htm.