Andrew Colburn

Lt.-Col. Andrew Colburn, 3rd Regiment, New Hampshire Continental Line

Andrew Colburn, Jr. was born March 1, 1736 in Dudley, Massachusetts. He was the son of Andrew and Jane (Allen) Colburn, Sr. He married Phebe —–, widow of Ebenezer Bacon, on November 27, 1774.

            Andrew Colburn first saw action in the French and Indian War. In a letter to the New Hampshire Committee of Safety in 1775, he recounts his service as follows:

In the year 1755, I was at Oswego with General Shirly’ s Regiment; in the year ‘ 56, at Fort Edward; in the year ‘ 57, at Fort William Henry when taken; in the year ‘ 58, at Ticonderoga in the defeat; in the year ‘ 59, I sustained a commission in the Province service, and was at the taking of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, with Colonel Ingersoll’ s Regiment; in the year ‘ 60, in Colonel Ruggell’ s Regiment, at the taking the several forts on the lakes and Montreal. For the year ‘ 61, I commanded Captain Cowdan’ s Company at Crown Point, and in the year ‘ 62, at Crown Point; and in the year 1774, I received a Captain’ s commission in this Government, in Colonel Reuben Ridders’ s Regiment.

This sort of resume included above was sent as credentials for a commission in one of the New Hampshire units being raised. Andrew Colburn assisted James Reed, at his own expense, in the raising of a unit of infantry, but for some reason there was no vacancy for a commission for him in the forces at the time. As such, James Reed (now a Colonel) provided with Andrew Colburn with a letter of endorsement to the New Hampshire Committee of Safety in hopes that he would be given a commission befitting of his experience:

Fitzwilliam, June 8, 1775.

HONOURED SIR: I beg leave to trouble you with one word in favour of the bearer, Captain Colburn, that is to inform you that he is one of the signers of the paper of agreement to raise a Regiment under my command. And, Sir, as my Regiment is filled up without him, and as I had encouragement that any officer that had got men should be taken notice of in the next Regiment; and, Sir, as Captain Colburn hath been an old officer in the last war, which he is able to give and account for himself , I should take it as a favour if your Honours, the Committee, would favour him in the next Regiment as a Major, if agreeable to your Honours; at the same time would beg leave to subscribe myself your Honours’ obliged and ever humble servant at command,


In the meantime, Andrew Colburn continued as volunteer with the gathering army around Boston. In time, he was appointed the Brigade Major to Brigadier General Folsom and continued in that capacity until he secured a commission as a Major in the 4th Continental Infantry (the temporary designation for the 6th Regiment, Massachusetts Continental Line) on January 1, 1776. On October 12, 1776, Major Colburn was wounded at the Battle of Harlem Heights.

            On November 8, 1776, Major Andrew Colburn was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to the 3rd Regiment, New Hampshire Continental Line, the unit he had assisted in raising in 1775.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Colburn was mortally wounded at the Battle of Stillwater on September 19, 1777. A vote of court by the State of New Hampshire granted “Phebe Colburn widow of the late Lieut Col Andre Colburn for the sum of seven hundred fifty six pounds in full for seven years half pay from 19th Sept 1777.” Phebe returned to her native Coventry, Connecticut.

Sources: Silas R. Colburn, Genealogy of the descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn; came from England, 1635; purchased land in “Dracutt on Merrimack,” 1668; occupied his purchase, 1669, (Lowell, 1913), 32, 56; Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army (Baltimore, 1914), 164; Isaac W. Hammond, Documents Relating To Towns In New Hampshire: Gilmanton to New Ipswich (Volume XII), (Concord, 1883), 569-570; The State of New Hampshire, Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, Volume XVI (Concord, 1885), 6, 340, 373; William A. Griswold, Donald W. Linebaugh, The Saratoga Campaign: Uncovering an Embattled Landscape (Lebanon, NH, 2016), 73; Service done by Andrew Colburn; Colonel Read’s Letter in Favor of Captain Colburn; Certificate of Colonel Stark; Selected Wartime Service Records of Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Colburn