Daniel Faced the Wall, Wanting to Die

Jeannette Holland Austin
4 min readJun 13, 2024

Tracing one’s ancestors can find great stories like this one!

Daniel Bedington was fourteen when he begged his parents to allow him to join a company of riflemen in Shepherdstown, Virginia, and accompany his two brothers to war. A year later, when the brothers returned and told exciting tales of camp life, Daniel’s excitement could not be contained. But, once again, the parents refused.

The brothers had not been in New Jersey for two days when the brother could not believe their eyes. They recognized Daniel, a lean, hungry, emaciated boy hobbling into camp. He had walked on foot from Shepherdstown. Like so many young boys who joined in this war, Daniel also enlisted.

On November 16, 1776, the brothers were on Manhattan Island in the Battle of Fort Washington. General George Washington and Major General, Charles Lee of New Jersey, were defending the Hudson River corridor from the British Navy. The Continental Army had lost several engagements during the summer and early fall of the year.

In early November, the fort defended against the Hessians (German mercenaries), who attempted to take the fortification. British General William Howe chased George Washington’s main forces, and a British detachment was sent to Harlem Heights.