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Enoch Poor

Enoch Poor - A Klos Family Project - Revolutionary War General



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Enoch Poor

POOR, Enoch, soldier, born in Andover, Massachusetts, 21 June, 1736; died near Hackensack, New Jersey, 8 September, 1780. He was educated in his native place, and removing to Exeter, New Hampshire, engaged in business there until the battle of Lexington, when the New Hampshire assembly resolved to raise 2,000 men. Three regiments were formed, and the command of one of them was given to Poor. After the evacuation of Boston he was sent to New York, and was afterward ordered to join the disastrous Canadian expedition with his regiment. On the retreat from Canada the Americans concentrated near Crown Point, and Colonel Poor was actively occupied in strengthening the defenses of that post until a council of general officers advised its evacuation, which was accordingly ordered by General Philip Schuyler. Against this step twenty-one of the field-officers, headed by Poor, John Stark, and William Maxwell, sent in a written remonstrance General Washington, on being appealed to, while refusing to overrule General Schuyler's action, concurred distinctly in the views of the remonstrant as to the impolicy of the measure.

On 21 February, 1777, Poor was commissioned brigadier-general, and he held a command in the campaign against Burgoyne. In the hard-fought but indecisive engagement at Stillwater, General Poor's brigade sustained more than two thirds of the whole American loss in killed, wounded, and missing. At the battle of Saratoga, Poor led the attack. The vigor and gallantry of the charge, supported by an adroit and furious onslaught from Colonel Daniel Morgan, could not be resisted, and the British line was broken After the surrender of Burgoyne, Poor joined Washington in Pennsylvania, and subsequently shared in the hardships and sufferings of the army at Valley Forge. During the dreary winter that was spent by the Revolutionary army in that encampment, no officer exerted himself with greater earnestness to obtain relief. He wrote urgently to the legislature of New Hampshire: "I am every day," he said, referring to his men, "beholding their sufferings, and am every morning awakened by the lamentable tale of their distresses If they desert, how can I punish them, when they plead in justification that the contract on your part is broken ?"

General Poor was among the first, to set out with his brigade in pursuit of the British across New Jersey in the summer of 1778, and fought gallantly under Lafayette at the battle of Monmouth. In 1779 he commanded the second or New Hampshire brigade, in the expedition of General John Sullivan against the Indians of the Six Nations. When, in August, 1780, a corps of light infantry was formed composed of two brigades, the command of one of them was given, at the request of Lafayette, to General Poor; but he survived his appointment only a few weeks, being stricken down by fever. In announcing his death, General Washington declared him to be "an officer of distinguished merit, who, as a citizen and a soldier, had every claim to the esteem of his country."

In 1824, when Lafayette visited New Hampshire, at a banquet in his honor, he was called upon by a gray-haired veteran for a sentiment. Lifting his glass to his lips, and after a few explanatory words, he gave: "Light-infantry Poor and Yorktown Scammel." He had seen the latter mortally wounded at the battle of Yorktown. Both men were New Englanders. General Poor was buried in Hackensack, where a fine monument marks his grave.

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