Flora read this speech at the graveside service at Rehoboth Cemetery, May 17, 2008. She read this speech written by a direct descendant of Jacob Clark's, Wilma Clark. Note - Flora did not read the poem at the end of this speech. Instead, Flora read a Armed Forces Poem. This event was sponsored by the Sons of the American Revolution, Ebenezer Zane Chapter, located in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
By Wilma Clark
Armed Forces Day is a day for the United States of America to pay tribute to the brave men and women, in all branches of the military, who protect us and fight for our freedom. One day of reverence hardly seems adequate for all their accomplishments. I am proud to pay tribute to all of my ancestors who fought for our freedom and independence, but especially to the progenitor of my Clark family who fought in our country’s first battle for independence, the Revolutionary War.
Jacob Nicholls Clark was born 13 October 1754. In January of 1776, from Baltimore Maryland, Jacob enlisted in the Continental Army and served under Captain Samuel Smith in the First Regiment of the Maryland Line, which was commanded by Colonel William Smallwood. In Jacob’s pension deposition, he details the battles in which he fought, the wounds he received, his capture, escape and eventual re-capture, as well as his time spent aboard the infamous British prison ship, The Old Jersey, which was anchored in Wallabout Bay, New York until the end of the war.
We have all read about these historic events that formed the nucleus of our Nation and our freedom; our ancestor, Jacob Clark, personally experienced many of these monumental events.
Jacob Clark fought with The First Maryland at White Plains, NY on 28 October 1776, and at Fort Washington NY on 16 November 1776 and again at Fort Lee, New Jersey on 20 November 1776.
Jacob was with General George Washington on 25 December 1776 when the troops crossed the treacherous ice-swollen Delaware River about 9 miles north of Trenton, New Jersey. At this point in the war, a significant number of these men marched through the snow in ragged uniforms and many without shoes. Raging winds combined with snow, sleet and rain on the night of December 25 was but one of many hardships endured by these brave soldiers throughout our country’s first battle for independence. Remarkably, the following day, they fought once more and were victorious at the Battle of Trenton, New Jersey.
In one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the war, Jacob Clark fought at Brandywine, PA on 11 September 1777 and six days later rode with Washington’s Army to the Warwick Furnace, in Chester County PA. Their mission was to replenish the rain damaged ammunition. This is where Jacob would first meet his future wife, Miss Tabitha Dennis, daughter of the furnace accountant.
On 4 October 1777, Jacob was engaged in battle at Germantown, PA and often told his children and grandchildren, how “he raised his rifle, taking aim at one of the British” when suddenly a musket ball penetrated his head rendering him immediately unconscious. In a crude field hospital, a trepanning operation was performed to remove the ball and a portion of his crushed skull. Forever after he wore a metal plate over this wound, held in place by a scarf tied around his head.
Jacob spent the rest of that winter recuperating at Valley Forge. He often told his family how he would hear General Washington praying to the Almighty to deliver his troops from their enemies.
When Jacob had sufficiently recovered, he worked as a Recruiting Agent until the spring of 1778. 28 June 1778, Jacob was engaged at the Battle of Monmouth County Court House in Freehold, New Jersey. That winter, he re-enlisted with the Continental Army, under the command of Captain Yates. Colonel John Hoskins Stone commanded this Regiment. Jacob states in his pension deposition that he stayed with this division of the Army from 1779 thru 1781. In 1779, Jacob achieved the rank of Sergeant while serving with Captain Yates.
In July 1781 General Washington’s Army was encamped at Dobbs Ferry, New York. Jacob Clark fell ill and remained at Dobbs Ferry when his Regiment moved on to the Siege of Yorktown. Later, while only partially recovered, he requested a map so that he could rejoin his Regiment in Virginia; however, a Captain instructed Jacob to wait and reassigned him to a scouting party of thirty to forty men who were following the movements of the enemy in New York.
Jacob N. Clark, now in the company of his new detachment, marched to the east side of the Hudson River. On the third day out, they were surprised and captured by a party of British and Hessian soldiers. During the night, Jacob escaped under the cover of darkness, but was re-captured three or four miles away, receiving a near mortal wound to his right side from an enemy bayonet. He was immediately transported to the notorious British prison ship, The Old Jersey where he was confined until the end of the war. The conditions of his imprisonment were deplorable and few Americans survived. Jacob was discharged and released in Baltimore Maryland sometime between the signing of the Peace Treaty of Paris on 15 April 1783 and 25 November when the last of the British troops evacuated New York.
Shortly after the war, Jacob Clark and his brother James ventured in to the Indian Territory, now known as Jefferson County, Ohio. They cleared land and built crude dwellings. In April of 1785 Congress forced all settlers out, often setting fire to their meager homes. Negotiations were ongoing to purchase this land from the Indians, as the Ohio Territory was not yet open to settlement. After raising his family in Cumberland, Maryland, Jacob returned again to make his home in Ohio, and died here in 1841 at the age of 87.
Jacob had a profound respect for his country and instilled the same patriotism in his children. One son was a founding citizen of Washington D.C. and fought in the War of 1812. Two of Jacob’s grandsons fought in the Mexican War, and six grandsons fought on both sides during the Civil War. One of these grandsons was the Confederate Brigadier General Charles Clark, who was elected as the Civil War Governor of Mississippi.
Jacob was a remarkable man who led a remarkable life. As descendents we are grateful to have him honored at this ceremony for his service to our country. We are sincerely appreciative for the dedication, hard work, and many hours that were spent to make this event possible. We hope that all of you will accept our heartfelt gratitude. Thank you and May God Bless Our Troops.
Today as we gather under the shadow of yet another war we all hope and wish to be the last. I would like to close with this poem published in the Atlantic Monthly, a Civil War Publication from November 1, 1864; the author is unknown. It is entitled The Last Rally.
Rally! Rally! Rally!
Armies of untried heroes,
And ye Freedmen! Rally, Rally
Old men shall fight with the ballot,
And the hearts of heroic mothers,
From the ghastly fields of Shiloh
From the Wilderness, where blanches
And they say to us, “Rally! Rally!
And their brothers, left behind them
The life-blood of the tyrant
One more sublime endeavor,
Then Rally! Rally! Rally!
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