Hazen, Moses

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Hazen, Moses

HAZEN, MOSES. (1733–1803). Continental officer. Massachusetts and Canada. Born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, on 1 June 1733, Hazen served as the lieutenant of a ranger company in the Seven Years' War, seeing combat at Crown Point (1750), Louisburg (1758), Quebec (1759), and Sillery (1760). His burning of St. Ann's (Fredericton) and the murder of civilians there earned him a reputation for brutality that did not prevent his promotion to captain and a commendation from General James Wolfe. He settled in Montreal, where he became a justice of the peace and the center of numerous controversies, including the seduction of a friend's wife. He also found himself regarded with suspicion by both sides, and arrested by each in turn. Left behind by the British retreat, Hazen joined General Richard Montgomery's forces for the operations against Quebec. During the retreat he clashed with Benedict Arnold and was charged with insubordination, but a court-martial acquitted him. Congress recompensed him for property destroyed by the British, and on 22 January 1776 commissioned him colonel of the Second Canadian Regiment. This unit, known as "Congress's Own" and "Hazen's Own," consisted mostly of French-Canadians. The regiment fought at Long Island, Brandywine, and Germantown.

An advocate of further operations into Canada, Hazen was engaged in planning and gathering supplies for the proposed Canada Invasion of 1778. After this misguided scheme was abandoned, Hazen proposed that a military road be constructed to the Canadian border, and in the summer of 1779 he was back in the north working on this project, which became known as "Hazen's Road." Recalled to New Jersey, he tried unsuccessfully to have Congress pay his regiment; but was told that no funds were available. On 29 June 1781 he was brevetted brigadier general, and on 27 September he took command of a brigade in the Marquis de Lafayette's Light Infantry Division. just before the allied armies closed in on Yorktown. Edward Antill succeeded to the command of "Hazen's Own," which was now part of Hazen's new brigade. Having taken charge of prisoners at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1782, he precipitated an embarrassing dilemma for Washington in the Huddy-Asgill Affair. Retiring 1 January 1783, Hazen settled on land he had bought in Vermont during the war. He died deeply in debt on 5 February 1803 in Troy, New York.

SEE ALSO Brandywine, Pennsylvania; Canada Invasion; Germantown, Pennsylvania, Battle of; Huddy-Asgill Affair; Yorktown Campaign.


Everest, Allan S. Moses Hazen and the Canadian Refugees in the American Revolution. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1976.

                              revised by Michael Bellesiles