The 2nd Virginia Regiment

  • Authorized on August 21, 1775 in the Virginia State Troops as the 2nd Virginia Regiment
  • Organized on October 21, 1775 at Williamsburg to consist of 7 companies
  • Adopted on November 1, 1775 into the Continental Army
  • Reorganized on January 11, 1776 to consist of 10 companies
  • Assigned on February 27, 1776 to the Southern Department
  • Relieved on December 27, 1776 from the Southern Department and assigned to the Main Continental Army
  • Assigned on May 22, 1777 to the 2nd Virginia Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army
  • Reorganized on November 1, 1777 to consist of 8 companies
  • Consolidated on May 12, 1779 with the 6th Virginia Regiment (see 6th Virginia Regiment) and consolidated unit designated as the 2nd Virginia Regiment, to consist of 9 companies
  • Relieved on December 4, 1779 from assignment to the 1st Virginia Brigade and assigned to the Southern Department
  • Captured on May 12, 1780 by the British Army at Charleston, South Carolina
  • Disbanded on November 15, 1783



Also designated at various times: 2nd Battalion, Virginia Forces on Provisional Establishment; 2nd Virginia Battalion of Foot in the Service of the United States; 2nd Virginia Regiment on Continental Establishment; 2nd Virginia Detachment; 2nd Virginia Battalion

The 2nd Virginia Regiment was authorized by the Virginia Convention, July 17, 1775, as a force of regular troops for the Commonwealth's defense. It consisted of seven companies, 476 privates and the usual regimental officers. This regiment saw considerable service in the Norfolk area against British forces and loyalists under Dunmore. Colonel William Woodford, of Caroline County, because the de facto commander in chief of Virginia's forces from October through December 1775, after which time he turned over his command to Gen. Robert Howe, of North Carolina.

Companies, September 1775-1776

  • 1st Company - Capt. George Johns(t)on, September 21, 1775. Raised in Fairfax.
  • 2d Company - Capt. George Nicholas, September 28, 1775. Raised in Hanover.
  • 3d Company - Capt. Richard Parker, September 28, 1775. Raised in Westmoreland.
  • 4rd Company - Capt. William Taliaferro, September 29, 1775. Raised in Caroline.
  • 5th Company - Capt. William Fontaine, October 21, 1775. Raised in Amelia.
  • 6th Company - Capt. Richard Kidder Meade, October 24, 1775. Raised in Southhampton
  • 7th Company - Capt. Morgan Alexander, November 27, 1775. Raised in Frederick. (Riflemen)

On December 1, 1775 three companies of 60 men each were added to the regiment.

  • 8th Company - Capt. Buller Claiborne, January 31, 1776. Raised in Prince George and Petersburg.
  • 9th Company - Capt. Samuel Hawes, February 19, 1776. Raised in Caroline.
  • 10th Company - Capt. Wood Jones, March 8, 1776. Raised in Amelia and Williamsburg

Originally raised for one year's state service, the 2nd Virginia was accepted by Congress for Continental service on February 13, 1776, and reorganized at Suffolk.

In the fall, the 2nd was dispatched to engage Lord Dunmore's land and naval forces in the campaigns around Norfolk. Shortly before the Regiment departed in December 1776 to join Gen. George Washington and the Main Army in New Jersey. By the time the 2d was ordered to Maryland's Eastern Shore to suppress local Loyalists, the Regimental tailors were busy in Philadelphia equipping the Regiment with new regimental clothing.

Orginially attached to Weedon's Brigade in 1777, the 2nd Virginia Regiment became part of Woodford's Brigade from 1779 to 1780. From March 1776 through the White Plains arrangement of September 1778, the following officers commanded companies in the regiment:

  • Capt. Everard Meade, commissioned March 8, 1776
  • Capt. Francis Taliaferro, March 1776
  • Capt. Francis Taylor, May 8, 1776
  • Capt. John Willis, June 15, 1776
  • Capt. William Stanford, December 25, 1776
  • Capt. William Taylor, Decemeber 28, 1776
  • Capt. Marquis Calmes, January 17, 1777
  • Capt. Peyton Harrison, March 11, 1777
  • Capt. John Peyton Harrison, May 4, 1777
  • Capt. Alexander Parker, June 1, 1777
  • Capt. Philip Taliaferro, September 23, 1777
  • Capt. Thomas Tebbs, 1777
  • Capt. Benjamin Holmes (Hoomes), April 24, 1778
  • Capt. James Upshaw, 1778

In late 1777, the British sailed landed on the Chesapeake Bay to march on Philadelphia, and the 2nd Virginia Regiment was involved in the defense of the capital in the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown, both were defeats for Washington's army.

After surviving the harsh winter at Valley Forge from December 1777 to June 1778 , the Continental Army emerged from their winter quarters with renewed vigor. They had spent the months under the supervision of Frederick "Von" Steuben, training to become a professional army. With the rest of the Main Army, the 2nd Virginia proved they could stand up to the best of the British Army at the battle of Monmouth, were they provoked a rear action and held the field at the end of the day.

Om July 1778 , new 2nd Virginia Regiment reported 26 commissioned officers, 4 staff officers, and 658 rank and file. On September 14, 1778, the 2nd Virginia Regiment was consolidated with the depleted 6th Virginia Regiment at White Plains. At this "re-arrangment", Col. Christian Febiger remained colonel, while Lt. Col. Charles Simms of the 6th Virginia became retained his role.
On January 23, 1779, there were 137 men in the regiment enlisted for the duration of the war, an unusually large proportion.

Companies, September 1778-Spring 1779

  • Colonel's Company - Capt. Lieutenant Thomas Catlett
  • Lieutenant Colonel's Company - Lt. Colin Cocke(?)
  • Major's Company - Lt. Francis Cowherd(?)
  • 4rd Company - Capt. William Taylor
  • 5th Company - Capt. Marquis Calmes
  • 6th Company - Capt. John Peyton Harrison
  • 7th Company - Capt. Alexander Parker
  • 8th Company - Capt. Benjamin Taliaferro
  • 9th Company - Capt. John Stokes

In 1779, Capt. Marquis Calmes was captured by the British. Capts. Valentine Harrison and Colin Cocke joined the regiment toward the end of the year.

In December 1779, the 2nd Virginia Regiment was temporarily consolidated with the 3d reassigned to the Southern Department to counter a new British threat as part of General William Woodford's brigade. In what could have been a crushing defeat for the Continental Army, the 2nd Virginia Regiment was captured along with the whole Southern Department at Charleston, South Carolina in May 1780. A handful of men under Capt. Alexander Parker escaped capture and returned to Virginia to particpate in the Yorktown Campaign.

The 2nd Virginia Regiment, although in captivity, was arranged on paper by boards of field officers meeting at Chesterfield Court House, at Cumberland Old Court House, and at Winchester, in 1781, 1782, and 1783 respectively.

Companies, 1781-1782

  • Capt. Robert Higgins (from the 8th Virginia Regiment)
  • Capt. John Smith
  • Capt. Alexander Parker
  • Capt. Benjamin Taliaferro
  • Capt. Henry Moss
  • Capt. Isaiah Marks
  • Capt. Colin Cocke
  • Capt. Robert Porterfield
  • Capt. Francis Cowherd
  • Capt. John Jordan
  • Capt. Beverley Stubblefield
  • Capt. James Mabin (Maybone)

Because they were on detached service with Col. Abraham Buford, captains Thomas Calett and John Stokes escaped at Charleston, Catlett only to be killed and Stokes wounded at The Waxhaws later in the month.

The final arrangement of the Virginia Line, which took place at Winchester on January 1, 1783, created a tiny regiment of two companies, which was designated the 2nd Virginia Regiment. One company was composed of veterans, and the other of recruits who were serving out their enlistments "for the war."

Companies, 1781-1782

  • Major-Commandant Smith Snead
  • Capt. Alexander Parker (Veterans)
  • Capt. Samuel Booker (Recruits)
  • Brevet-Capt. Thomas Parker, September 30, 1783
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