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Abiel Sherman

Abiel Sherman was wounded in the battle at Fort Independence, and was on a state pension that ended in 1823 when the Federal government took over Revolutionary pensions from the various states. Unfortunately that conversion was not automatic, and he failed to apply until 1831 and lost the monies due him for those eight years.

Fort Independence was near Spuyten Duyvil, just north of Kingsbridge on the Hudson River. Major General William Heath was leading a force of nearly 6,000 American Troops to Manhattan in January 1777 and along the way they attacked Fort Independence. Although the Hessians were surprised, the Hessian commander refused the surrender demand and fought for several days. A relief force of Tory and British soldiers made the effort futile. Apparently at some point the American troops panicked and Heath was forced to withdraw. Washington reprimanded Heath for the action, and he was never again entrusted to lead any further important field operations.

A description of his wound from two surgeons is in his pension file:

By satisfactory evidence and accurate examination it appears that on or about the tenth day of January in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven, being engaged with the British Troops at or near a place called Fort Independence in the State of New York, he received a wound in his right hand by a musket ball by which the two [ ] were fractured in a severe manner and the tendons upon the back of that part of the hand fractured entirely severed by [ ]whereof the corresponding tendons upon the inside of the said hand have become so contracted as to draw the fourth and fifth fingers close to the palm of thereof and thereby depriving him in a great degree of the use of that hand in the performance of his ordinary labor. And the [ ] and is thereby not only incapacitated for military duty, but in the opinion of the undersigned, is one half disabled from obtaining his subsistence from manual labor.