BARBER, FRANCIS. (1750–1783). Continental officer. Born in Princeton, New Jersey, on 26 November 1750, Barber graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1767. Becoming a teacher, he numbered Alexander Hamilton among his students at the Elizabethtown Academy. Named a lieutenant in the militia on 22 January 1776, Barber immediately took part in the capture of the British supply ship Blue Mountain Valley. For his heroism, he was made major of the Third New Jersey Regiment on 26 January 1776 and was sent with his regiment to the Mohawk Valley. Promoted to lieutenant colonel on 26 November 1776, Barber led his regiment in harassing British forces during the winter and spring of 1777 and at the Battles of Brandywine (11 September 1777) and Germantown (4 October 1777). During the winter at Valley Forge, he served under General Friedrich von Steuben as one of four subinspector generals responsible for training the troops. Wounded by a musket ball at the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778, Barber returned to duty by the end of the year, again harassing enemy positions in New Jersey. The following year his regiment took part in General John Sullivan's attack on the Iroquois. Barber was named deputy adjutant general of General Sullivan's Western Army on 26 May 1779 and was wounded at the Battle of Newton on 29 August 1779. Back in New Jersey, he took part in the battles at Connecticut Farms on 7 June 1780 and Springfield on 23 June 1780 before being named deputy adjutant general at West Point. In January 1781 he was placed in charge of the force that suppressed the mutiny of the New Jersey Brigade. Barber served under General Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Green Spring, near Williamsburg, Virginia, on 6 July 1781 and was aide-de-camp to Lafayette at Yorktown, where he was wounded with a bayonet in the attack of 14 October. Barber was made colonel of the Second New Jersey Regiment on 7 January 1783. On 11 February 1783 he died in a freak accident when a tree fell on him.
revised by Michael Bellesiles