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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ASGILL, Sir Charles, soldier, born in England, 7 April 1762; died there, 23 July 1823. He was a son of Sir Charles Asgill, a London alderman, first baronet of that name. When sixteen years of age he entered the 1st foot guards, and in 1781 became a captain. He served in the United States under Cornwallis, and was included in the surrender at Yorktown. Particular interest is attached to this young officer on account of his narrow escape from death. Captain Joseph Huddy, of the New Jersey line, had been captured, falsely charged with having been concerned in the death of Philip White, a desperate Tory, who was killed while trying to escape from his guard, and then hanged by the British troops. In retaliation, Washington was authorized by congress to select by lot from among his prisoners an officer of equal rank to be executed immediately, and Asgill was chosen, but his death was postponed while an investigation as to the exact cause of Captain Huddy's execution was being made in the British army. Meanwhile six months elapsed, and, in response to an appeal made by the queen, Marie Antoinette of France, congress directed that Captain Asgill be set at liberty. After his return to England, he served in Flanders, and later was in command of the garrison in Dublin during the rebellion in Ireland. He became colonel of the 11th regiment, and in 1807 was made general in the British army. On the death of his father he succeeded to the estate and the baronetcy. His story was made the ground-work of a tragic drama by Madame de Sevigne.
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