Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Solomon Bush and the Revolutionary War

What was the highest rank obtained by a Jewish soldier during the Revolutionary War? The answer is Lieutenant-Colonel, by order of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, to Solomon Bush. Born in Philadelphia in 1753, Bush was an ardent patriot (as was his father, Mathias, who signed the 1765 Non-Importation Agreement following Britain’s Stamp Act). Bush’s contribution to the war effort was to join the Pennsylvania militia, where he was appointed Deputy Adjunct-General.

In September 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine, Bush was severely wounded and, briefly, taken prisoner by the British. He was paroled and brought to his father’s house to recuperate. His wounds were serious enough that he could not return to battle and even had trouble earning a living. In October 1779, the Executive Council of Pennsylvania promoted him to Lieutenant-Colonel to grant him that rank’s pay and rations.

Following the war, Bush appears to have been eking out a living, sometimes as a doctor. It is known that he spent some years in London, from where he sent several petitions to President George Washington asking to be appointed to a diplomatic position. In some of his communications, he offered information on political acts, such as Britains impressment (forced service) of American sailors. He was never given an appointment.

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