Oliver Barrett

Ensign Oliver Barrett, Warner’s Additional Continental Regiment

Oliver Barrett was born April 17, 1755 in Keene, New Hampshire. Oliver Barrett has most likely moved to westward into the “New Hampshire Grants” as he enlisted in 1775 in Captain Elisha Benedict’s company of Colonel Goose Van Schaick’s 2nd Regiment, New York Continental Line. On July 5, 1776, Colonel Seth Warner’s Regiment was re-authorized by the Continental Congress as an Extra-Continental Regiment. Oliver Barrett transferred to this regiment and was assigned to Captain William McCune’s company, who had also previously been in the 2nd Regiment, New York Continental Line. On December 4, 1776, Oliver Barrett was promoted to Sergeant. Sergeant Barrett was further promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant on July 1, 1777. During this time he participated in the battles of Hubbardton on July 7, 1777 and Bennington on August 16, 1777. Quartermaster Sergeant Barrett was commissioned as an Ensign in Warner’s Additional Regiment on August 14, 1778.  

All of the Additional Continental Regiments were having trouble enlisting recruits during 1778, as many of the States were paying additional enlistment bounties to new recruits for their own State Lines. This problem was made worse when General Washington ordered a draft of new recruits for Warner’s Regiment to Rhode Island instead of joining the Regiment. Political interference from New York with Vermont’s attempts to fill the Regiment was also a problem.

 The Regiment was involved in several skirmishes during 1778 & 1779.  The only significant one occurred at 14 Mile Island on Lake George where the Regiment lost 7 killed and 7 captured.  The Regiment’s Major & two Company Commanders were lost in this action. 

The Regiment’s final engagement was at Fort George at the southern end of Lake George on October 11, 1780.  The garrison commander, Captain Chipman, sent a force of 50 men under Captain Sill to investigate a report of 40 or 50 British in the area.  Instead they found 800 British & Indians.  With no other options available, Captain Sill attacked. In the ensuing battle the Regiment lost 15 killed and 15 captured, the rest fighting their way out.  Short on food & lacking sufficient force to defend the fort, Captain Chipman surrendered his post and 56 more men from the Regiment went into captivity. Ensign Barrett was one of those taken prisoner. Ensign Barrett was paroled and returned home, remaining un-exchanged till the end of the war. In the meantime, the Regiment was disbanded by order of General Washington on January 1, 1781 as part of the Continental Congress’ overall re-organization of the American Army. As such, Ensign Barrett was honorably retired effective January 1, 1781.

Sometime during the war in 1778 he married Elizabeth High.

Ensign Barrett applied for a pension on April 11, 1818 and his claim was allowed. His widow also was allowed a pension on application executed September 13, 1836 while a resident of Orleans, New York.

Ensign Oliver Barrett died March 13, 1832 in Windsor County, Vermont. He is buried in Sheddsville Cemetery in Sheddsville, Vermont.

Sources: Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army, (Baltimore, 1914), 88; Gavin K. Watt, The Burning of the Valleys (Dundurn Press, 1997), 103–05; Elizabeth Cometti, ed., The American Journals of Lt John Enys (Syracuse University Press, 1976), 51; United States Congressional serial set, Issue 7324, p. 59; Colonel Seth Warner’s Extra-Continental Regiment; Selected Wartime Service Records of Ensign Oliver Barrett