Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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IRVINE, James, soldier, born in Philadelphia, 4 August, 1735; died there, 28 April, 1819. His father, George Irvine, was an emigrant from the north of Ireland. In 1760 he was ensign in Captain Atlee's company of the provincial regiment. He was promoted to captain, 30 December, 1763, and the year following served under Colonel Henry Bouquet on his expedition against the Indians northwest of the Ohio. He was a delegate to the Provincial conference at Philadelphia, 23 January, 1775, at the beginning of the Revolution was chosen a captain in the 1st Pennsylvania battalion, and on 25 November, 1775, was commissioned its lieutenant-colonel. He served in the Canada campaign of 1776, was commissioned colonel of the 9th regiment of the Pennsylvania line on 25 October, 1776, and was subsequently transferred to the command of the 2d regiment. He resigned, 1 June, 1777, owing to a question of rank, but on 26 August, 1777, was made a brigadier-general of the militia. On 5 September his command, the 2d brigade of Pennsylvania troops, was at Wilmington, Delaware, where it remained until after the action of Brandywine on the 11th. At the battle of Germantown he was with General Armstrong on the extreme right of the American army. On 5 December, in the skirmish at Chestnut Hill, he was wounded and made prisoner, he was taken to Philadelphia, thence to New York, and afterward to Flushing, L. I., where he remained until his exchange, 1 June, 1781. In the following September, when it was thought that the British intended to move against Philadelphia, he was active in organizing the troops to oppose them. Congress appointed him commander at Fort Pitt, 11 October, 1781, and on 27 May, 1782, he was commissioned major-general of the Pennsylvania militia, which office he held until 1793. He was a member of the supreme executive council from 1782, and held the office of vice president of the state from 6 November, 1784, till 10 October, 1785. During the session of 1785-'6 he served in the general assembly, and was state senator from 1795 till 1799. He was one of the original trustees of Dickinson college, and a firm friend of popular education.
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