Fayette County Genealogy Project
Captain Valentine Giesey's Co. of PA Militia (Brownsville Blues)

Contributed by Karen Souhrada
<souhrada at rochester.rr.com>

Captain Valentine Giesey's Co. of PA Militia (Brownsville Blues), discharged February 25, 1815

From the Bounty Land Pension file for STEPHEN WESTCOTT, a resident of Fayette county, following his service in the War of 1812

[Document #1:  A nice copy of a really old and ornate looking form which has a fancy border and header design, and which appears to have been folded into fourths many times:]



Annapolis, February 25th, 1815

By virtue of a General Order from the Commanding Officer of the 4th & 10th Military Districts, he has, in the most honourable manner, discharged the Company of Volunteers from Pennsylvania, under my command, and who had so patriotically came forward and offered their services in defence of their Country, for six months.  It gives the Commanding Officer of the Company pleasure to find, that the Men whom he had the honour to command, have conducted themselves with that solier-like conduct and behaviour, as not only to give satisfaction to himself, but to the Citizens of Annapolis, in aid of whom they came forward, in times of danger, to guard against a rapacious and an invading Foe. -- Therefore, in obedience to the orders I have received from the Commanding Officer of the Districts aforesaid, I do hereby honourably discharge from the service of the United States, STEPHEN WESTCOTT a Private as a Volunteer of the Brownsville Blues of Pennsylvania, he having conducted himself as a good and faithful citizen and soldier.

Valentine Geesey, Captain

[Notations on Captain Giesey: 

Source:  In Franklin Ellis' "History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania";

pp 180 & 181, in his section on the War of 1812-15:]

“Capt. Valentine Giesey [note spelling], of Brownsville (who had been first a sergeant, and afterwards a second lieutenant in Capt. Joseph Wadsworth's company), raised a company numbering one hundred and eighteen men and officers, who left this county in November, 1814. . . . The company marched hence to Baltimore, Md., but while on their way there they were met by a messenger bearing orders for their return.  The eagerness of officers and men for active service was so great, however, that while the company halted and remained at Hagerstown, Capt. Giesey pushed on to Washington City, where by his importunity he prevailed on the Secretary of War to accept the services of the company, and order them forward to report to Gen. Scott, at Baltimore. On arriving there, Capt. Giesey, accompanied by his second lieutenant, Shuman, repaired to the headquarters, where he reported to Scott in person.  The general examined the captain's order, and remarked in some surprise, "What! from Western Pennsylvania?"  "Yes,, sir, from Western Pennsylvania," answered Giesey.  "Well, Capt. Giesey," said the general, "you must have a very patriotic company of men." "I hope I have, sir, " replied the captain.  Gen Scott continued the conversation for a short time, expressing the hope that the men of the comapny might have an opportunity to show their soldierly qualities, and finished by ordering them to duty with the Second Regiment of Maryland Militia.  Three days later the company left Baltimore for Annapolis, where they remained until after the declaration of peace, when they were mustered out of service and returned to their homes.”


A footnote to this passage states that it was reported in the Brownsville Times of Aug. 30, 1861 as related by Capt. George SHUMAN, who was second lieutenant of the company and that John SOWERS of Uniontown was the first lieutenant.

Ellis goes on to copy the "Muster-Rolls of the War of 1812-14" which were published "under authority of the State."   He further notes that Capt. Giesey's company is not in this list.  Perhaps this is because they became a part of the Maryland Militia.

[ The following information comes from NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) records in reference to applicants from Fayette county for Bounty Land awards:]


JAMES E. HEATH, Esq.                     Uniontown, Penn.


Enclosed, please find five applications for bounty land under the late act of Congress.  I hope you will give them your earliest possible attention.  The applicants are, STEPHEN WESTCOT, JOHN EMERSON, HENRY HUTCHISON, STEWART SPEERS, and SAMUEL JOBES. I have the honor to be Your Obedient Servant J. K. EWING"


[Source Information:]  While this paper is not dated, the others in the packet run from 1850-1855. The bounty land that was granted was for 40 acres.]


General Information on Bounty Land Acts:

There were two Bounty Land acts for War of 1812 veterans:

  • The Act of September 1850 awarded 40 acres for one month of service, 80 acres for four months of service and 160 acres for 9 months of service.

  • The Act of March 3, 1855 awarded additional land so that the total an individual received was 160 acres of land.

Congress passed a series of laws providing inducement for men to join and stay throughout the War or for a long period and they received 160 acres after the War ended but all Bounty Land was in IL, MO and AR Territories.  Late in the war the 160 acres was briefly increased to 320 acres.  In 1842 a law was passed where bounty land warrants could be used anyplace public land was available. Before 1852 the warrants could not be transferred or sold, but after 1852, this could be done.

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