Shreve, Israel

views updated

Shreve, Israel

SHREVE, ISRAEL. (?–1799). Continental officer. New Jersey. Lieutenant colonel of the Second New Jersey on 31 October 1775, he was colonel on 28 November 1776 and served until he retired on 1 January 1781 when the reorganization of the New Jersey Line took effect, but stayed on duty long enough to deal with the mutiny of the New Jersey Line of 20-27 January 1781. When George Washington wrote Shreve for an explanation of his failure to put in an appearance on 27 January, Shreve mentioned nothing about being out of the service but said, "[I] thought it best to not go to camp until the matter was over, as those who suffered might look up to me for to intercede for their pardon." Washington did not learn until 7 February that Shreve had left the service when the New Jersey Brigade was reorganized as of 1 January 1781. Elias Dayton theoretically moved from command of the Third New Jersey to succeed Shreve as commander of the Second New Jersey.

A loyal Patriot who had been impoverished by his long war service, the immensely fat Shreve was an incompetent officer. His slim prospects for promotion to brigadier general were killed by Washington's statement in December 1780 that "here I drop the curtain." (Van Doren, p. 209).

During his six years of service, Shreve fought in skirmishes in New Jersey, the invasion of Canada in 1776, and the battles of Monmouth and Springfield. A farmer after the war, he moved to western Pennsylvania, where he died the same day as Washington.

SEE ALSO Dayton, Elias; Mutiny of the New Jersey Line; New Jersey Line.


Thompson, William Y. Israel Shreve, Revolutionary War Officer. Ruston, La.: McGinty Trust Fund Publication, 1979.

Van Doren, Carl. Mutiny in January: The Story of a Crisis in the Continental Army. New York: Viking, 1943.

Ward, Harry M. William Maxwell and the New Jersey Continentals. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997.

                              revised by Harry M. Ward