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David Wooster

WOOSTER, David, soldier, born in Stratford, Connecticut, 2 March, 1710; died in Danbury, Connecticut, 2 May, 1777. He was graduated at Yale in 1738, and when war between England and Spain began in 1739 he entered the provincial army as lieutenant, and was subsequently made captain of a vessel that was built and equipped by the colony for the defence of its coasts. In 1745 he served as captain in Colonel Aaron Burr's regiment, which participated in the expedition against Louisburg, and commanded the "Connecticut." which conveyed the troops thither. From that place he went, in Command of a cartel, to England. He was made a captain under Sir William Pepperell, and received half-pay until 1774. He was appointed colonel in the 3d Connecticut regiment in 1755, and later brigadier-general, and served during the French war, 1756-'63. He was an originator of the expedition that captured Ticonderoga in April, 1775, and afterward served in the Connecticut assembly. On the organization of the Continental army he was appointed one of the eight brigadier-generals, third in rank, and served in Canada, where, after the death of General Richard Montgomery, he held for a time the chief command. He resigned from the army, but on his return to Connecticut he was made the first major-general of the militia of that state. During the winter of 1776-'7 he was employed in raising recruits and provisions for the force that was stationed in Danbury, and was in command of that town when it was attacked by Governor William Tryon's troops on 26 April, 1777. Tryon, fearing that he might be cut off on his retreat, marched toward Ridgeway, a parish in the town of Ridgefield, and when this movement was known to the American commanders they separated their forces into two parts. The largest. division, of 400 men, under Gold Selleck Silliman and Benedict Arnold, was stationed in front of the enemy, while Wooster, with the remaining 200, was sent to annoy the rear-guard. Arnold, on arriving at. Ridgefield, constructed a barricade across the highway between the house of Benjamin Stebbins and a ledge of rock to the west of the road, and awaited the enemy's approach. The British, after leaving Danbury, changed their course of retreat, , and Wooster hastened forward until he met the foe a few miles north of Ridgefield, fell upon the rear of the British column, and, after a sharp skirmish, took forty prisoners. He made a second assault about a mile north of the Stebbins house. Several discharges of artillery caused the American column to break, and Wooster endeavored to rally his men, exclaiming, "Come on, my boys! Never mind such random shots!" But a musket-ball pierced his body. He was taken to Danbury, where he died a few days afterward. On 17 June, 1777, the Continental congress passed a resolution that a monument be erected to the memory of General Wooster. The sum of $500 was appropriated for this purpose, but the money was never paid, and the grave of the hero soon became unknown. A handsome monument of Portland granite was erected to his memory in Danbury in 1854.--His grandson, Charles Whiting, naval officer, born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1785; died in California in 1848, entered the merchant service, and during the war with England armed the privateer " Saratoga," with which he captured many prizes, acquiring a fortune. When the Chilians in 1817 were trying to improvise a navy for capturing a Spanish convoy that was expected in Callao by way of Cape Horn, Wooster arrived in Valparaiso with his armed brig "Columbus," which the government bought from him, and, under the name of the "Araucano," placed under the command of Wooster, with the rank of captain. After a fortunate cruise on the coast of Peru and Mexico, his vessel was sent, with the "San Martin," " Chacabuco," and "Lautaro," to capture a convoy of nine transports, escorted by the frigate "Maria Isabel," which was expected from Spain in Talcahuano. On 28 October, 1818, they found the frigate in that port, and captured her after a short struggle, Wooster being the first to board her. In recompense he was given command of the prize, and, with four of the transports, captured shortly afterward, the Chilian fleet entered Valparaiso. When Lord Cochrane was given command-in-chief of the Chilian navy in 1819, Wooster, refusing to serve under him, resigned and took command of a merchant-vessel. After Cochrane's departure, Wooster entered the service again in 1822, taking command of his old ship, with the rank of post-captain, and in the following year made a successful cruise on the coast of Peru. He also took part in the campaigns of 1824-'6 against the Chiloe archipelago. In 1829 he was promoted rear-admiral, and, for a long time before, he had been practically commander-in-chief of the small Chili-an navy. He went in 1847 to California, where he engaged in mining on Yuba river, but without success. --G en. Wooster's great-grandnephew, David, physician, born in Jasper, Steuben County, New York, 10 June, 1825, served as acting assistant surgeon in the United States army during the Mexican war, being stationed in La Puebla. He was graduated at the Cleveland medical college in 1849, and in that year began the practice of his profession in Adrian, Michigan In 1850 he crossed the plains to California, practised medicine, and was a miner on Yuba river until 1856, when he removed to San Francisco. In 1861-'3 he served as surgeon in the California volunteers in Arizona and New Mexico. From 1867 till 1871 he was United States special examiner of drugs in San Francisco, and in 1871-'2 he was surgeon in the United States marine hospital of that city, where he still practises his profession. In 1858 he founded "The Pacific Medical and Surgical Journal" in San Francisco, which he edited four years. Besides numerous contributions to this journal and to other medical periodicals, he has published a brochure on "Diphtheria," the first publication in the United States on this disease (1859); "Diseases of the Heart" (1867) ; a pamphlet on "Hip-Joint Disease" (1876); and a "Genealogy of the Woosters in America" (San Francisco, 1885).

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