JACKSON, HENRY. (1747–1809). Continental officer. Massachusetts. Born in Boston, before the war Henry Jackson was an officer in the First Corps of Cadets, an elite militia unit that was disbanded during the British occupation. After the British left Boston, six former Cadet officers, including John Hancock and Henry Jackson, organized the Boston Independent Company. The Massachusetts General Court commissioned its officers on 7 December 1776. Because of the company's elite, voluntary status, Hancock, its nominal leader, was commissioned as colonel, and Henry Jackson, the actual commander, was commissioned as lieutenant colonel.
Jackson led the company on an alarm to Newport, Rhode Island, in mid-April 1777. Commissioned as colonel of one of the sixteen Additional Continental Regiments as from 12 January 1777, he raised the regiment by recruiting around Boston in the spring and summer. With the main army during the Monmouth campaign, he led the regiment back to New England for operations against Newport in 1778 and 1779. On 9 April 1779, the regiment was consolidated with three other understrength Additional Continental Regiments (David Henley's, William Lee's, and Henry Sherburne's), with Jackson continuing in command. Returning to the main army in November 1779, the regiment helped to oppose the Springfield Raidin New Jersey in June 1780.
The unit was redesignated the Sixteenth Massachusetts Regiment on 24 July 1780 and consolidated into the reorganized Massachusetts Line on 1 January 1781. Jackson assumed command of the Ninth Massachusetts and then, on the further consolidation of the Line, of the Fourth Massachusetts on 1 January 1783. He was breveted brigadier general on 30 September, and on 3 November 1783 he became colonel of the First American Regiment. On Evacuation Day, 25 November 1783, he was the "senior infantry officer present" and commanded the 800-man column that marched into New York City. Jackson continued in command of the First American (the only infantry regiment in the American army after the Continental army was disbanded on 31 December 1783) until 20 June 1784, at which time the American standing army was reduced to eighty men. After the war he was major general of the Massachusetts militia (1792–1796), U.S. agent supervising the building of the frigate Constitution in 1797, and business agent for his close friend, Henry Knox, especially concerning Knox's land holdings in Maine.
revised by Harold E. Selesky