Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Revolutionary Oaths

Every soldier who enters the military must swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and defend it from all enemies.  The earliest American military oaths come from the Revolutionary War period, and although they vary in wording, the sentiment is almost always the same.

A great example of a Revolutionary War oath of allegiance can be found in the claim file of John Gregg which he submitted to Congress. He provided some additional documents to bolster his claim of service.  According to one of the documents,  Lieut. Gregg of the 13th Regt Pennsylvania Line swore this oath in May 1778 :

RG233 (House of Representatives), Committee of Military Pensions (21st Congress), tray hr21a-g13.1.
RG233 (House of Representatives), Committee of Military Pensions (21st Congress), tray hr21a-g13.1.

"I John Greg Lieut 13th Penn Regt do acknowledge the UNITED STATES of AMERICA to be Free, Independent and Sovereign States, and declare that the people thereof owe no allegiance or obedience to George the Third, King of Great-Britain; and I renounce, refuse and abjure any allegiance or obedience to him; and I do swear that I will, to the utmost of my power, support, maintain and defend the said United States against the said King George the Third, his heirs and successors, and his or their abettors, assistants and adherents, and will serve the said United States in the office of Lieutenant which I now hold, with fidelity, according to the best of my skill and understanding."

This oath is very specific to King George; others perhaps are more broad, asking for an oath to serve against the 'common enemy' or the Kingdom of Great Britain.  This previously un-indexed document is a great supplement to his Compiled Military Service Record which can be found on  His Congressional claim also has a few affidavits and a his Commission.

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