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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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William Irvine

IRVINE, William, soldier, born near Enniskillen, Ireland, 3 November, 174l; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 29 July, 1804. He was graduated at Dublin university, studied medicine, and was surgeon on board a ship-of-war during a part of the war of 1756-'63 between Great Britain and France. A short time before the declaration of peace he resigned his commission, emigrated to this country, and in 1764 settled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he practised his profession. At the opening of the Revolution he took part with the colonies. He was a member of the Provincial convention, which assembled in Philadelphia on 15 July, ] 774, and recommended a general congress, until he was appointed by congress, on 10 January, 1776, colonel of the 6th regiment of the Pennsylvania line, and ordered to join the army in Canada. He raised the regiment, led it to the mouth of the Sorel, and co-operated with General William Thompson in the attempt to surprise the vanguard of the British army at Three Rivers. He was taken prisoner in that disastrous battle on 16 June, 1776, and released on parole on 3 August, but was not exchanged until 6 May, 1778. In July, 1778, he was a member of the court-martial that tried General Charles Lee. In 1778 he commanded the 2d Pennsylvania regiment, and on 12 May, 1779, was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general, and assigned to the command of the 2d brigade of the Pennsylvania line. His brigade was engaged in Lord Stirling's expedition against Staten Island and in the unsuccessful attack of General Wayne at Bull's Ferry on 21 and 22 July, 1780. He engaged unsuccessfully in recruiting, and attempted to raise a corps of cavalry in Pennsylvania. On 8 March, 1782, he was ordered to Fort Pitt, to take command of the troops on the western frontier, where he remained till 1 October, 1783. In 1785 he was appointed agent for the state to examine the public lands, and had the administration of an act for directing the mode of distributing the donation lands that had been promised to the troops of the commonwealth. He suggested the purchase of the tract called the " triangle" in order to give Pennsylvania an outlet on Lake Erie. He became a member of the Continental congress in 1786, and was selected, with Nicholas Gilman and John Kean, one of the commissioners for settling the accounts of the United States with the several states. He was a member of the convention for revising the constitution of Pennsylvania. In 1794 he was sent as a commissioner to the whiskey insurgents, and, when he failed in his efforts to quiet them, was assigned to the command of the Pennsylvania militia, and took part in the movements resulting in their pacification. He was elected a representative in the 3d congress, and served from 2 December, 1793, to 3 March, 1795. He afterward removed to Philadelphia, and in March, 1801, was appointed superintendent of military stores there. He was president of the State society of the Cincinnati at the time of his death. -His brother, Andrew, died in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 4 Nay, 1789, was also an officer of the Revolutionary army., holding the rank of captain. He entered the service as lieutenant, marched with his brother in the Canadian expedition, and afterward served under Wayne, and took part in the movements that preceded the massacre of Paoli, where he was wounded. He continued in active service throughout the war, and fought in the northern campaigns and at the south. -Another brother, Matthew, physician, was a surgeon in General Lee's division.--William's son, Callender, soldier, born in 1774; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 9 October, 1841, was appointed a captain of artillery and engineers in the United States army on 1 June, 1798, and resigned on 20 May, 1801. On the death of his father he succeeded him as superintendent of military stores, and in 1812 became commissary of purchases for the United States army.--Another son, William N., soldier, born in Pennsylvania, entered the United States army as captain of light artillery on 3 May, 1808, and resigned on 15 August, 1811, but after the beginning of hostilities with Great Britain joined the army again as colonel of the 42d infantry, on 4 August, 1813, and served till his regiment was disbanded on 15 June, 1815.--Another son, Armstrong, born in Pennsylvania; died at Fort Warren, Massachusetts, 15 January, 1817, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1811, and commissioned a lieutenant of light artillery. He served during the war with Great Britain on the Niagara frontier in 1812, and on the St. Lawrence the following year, took part in the capture of Fort George in Upper Canada, was commissioned a captain in his brother's regiment on 1 October, 1813, and was in the battle of Chrysler's Field on 11 November, 1813. On the reduction of the army after the treaty of peace in 1815, he was retained as captain of light artillery, and was aide to General Ripley in 1816.

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