Ramsay, Nathaniel

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Ramsay, Nathaniel

RAMSAY, NATHANIEL. (1741–1817). Congressional officer, politician. Maryland. The elder brother of David Ramsay, Nathaniel Ramsay was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on 1 May 1741. Graduating from Princeton in 1767 (two years later than the brother, who was eight years his junior), he studied law and settled in Cecil County, Maryland. In 1775 he was a delegate to the Maryland Convention and to the Continental Congress. On 14 January 1776 he was chosen captain in Smallwood's Maryland regiment. The next July that unit became part of the Continental army and distinguished itself at Long Island in August 1776. On 10 December 1776, Ramsay was commissioned its lieutenant colonel when the regiment was redesignated the Third Maryland, "Smallwood's Regiment." Ramsay is particularly famous for his role in checking the retreat of the American army at Monmouth on 28 June 1778, giving Washington time to rally his army. Ramsay was wounded, left for dead, and captured. On parole until his exchange on 14 December 1780, he retired from the army on 1 January 1781.

Returning to Congress where his brother David also was serving, from 1785 to 1787, he became U.S. marshal for the district of Maryland in 1790. Four years later he became naval officer of the Baltimore district, a position he held until his death on 23 October 1817.

SEE ALSO Ramsay, David.


Stryker, William S. The Battle of Monmouth. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1970.

                              revised by Michael Bellesiles

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