Extract from The Sacketts of America
762. Peter Sackett, 1757-18__, son of (295) Dr. Joseph and Hannah Alsop Sackett, was born and spent his boyhood days at Newtown on Long Island. In the same town dwelt Esther Palmer, daughter of Mr. Charles Palmer, a prominent and highly respected citizen. Peter Sackett and Esther Palmer were playmates, schoolmates, and lovers. The relation existing between the other members of the two families was that of mutual respect and cordial friendship. Peter Sackett was four years older than Esther Palmer, and to all appearance a bright and prosperous future awaited them. But the war of the Revolution came. The Palmers remained loyal to King George. The Sacketts espoused the Patriot cause, and all was changed. Peter Sackett joined one of the first Continental companies organized on the banks of the Hudson and was soon marching in General Montgomery's command, which was dispatched to strike a timely blow at the British forces in Canada. He was scarcely out of his teens when he entered the service of his country as a private soldier. When he returned at the end of the campaign he was the Sergeant Major of his regiment. During his absence his father and the remaining members of his family had been forced to leave Long Island and had gone to Paramus, N. J. Newtown had meantime been captured and was being held by the British. In November, 1776, the New York troops were re-organized and Lieut. Colonel Henry B. Livingston was commissioned Colonel, and Sergeant Major Peter Sackett, Adjutant, of the 4th Regiment of the Continental Line.
During the year 1777, among the special duties to which Colonel Livingston's regiment was assigned was that of making incursions through the more loosely guarded portions of the British lines on Long Island, and forcibly taking from Loyalists there all such firearms and military stores, as could by any possibility be gotten away with, which would be of service to the Continental army.
It is not at all improbable that on some of these incursions Adjutant Peter Sackett found honorable means of communicating with Miss Esther Palmer.
Toward the close of the year last mentioned the relations existing between Colonel Livingston and his immediate superior, General McDougle, became so strained that General McDougle preferred charges against Colonel Livingston, and a Court Martial was convened by order of General Putnam, to try the Colonel.
The president of this military court was General George Clinton, then and for years afterward Governor of the State of New York. Colonel Livingston was acquitted of the principal charges, but was found guilty of a minor charge, which reads as follows:
"Delaying the returns of his Regiment and Brigade by orders and whims of his own contrary to known Rules of the Army, and thereby delaying the returns of the Army in this Department."
Unfortunately the testimony on which Colonel Livingston was convicted of this charge was that given, albeit, with evident reluctance, by Adjutant Peter Sackett. It is reported as follows:
"Adjutant Sackett says that Colonel Livingston told him he had no business to keep copies of his weekly returns, did not positively forbid him but said he did not think it proper that Adjutants should keep copies of returns and that he should give them to him. Witness believed it customary for Adjutants to keep copies of their returns, says that he did not keep copies of his returns after the Colonel said it was improper, until lately."
The sentence imposed by the court martial was "That the said Coll. Henry B. Livingston be reprimanded for his offences in General Orders for this department and cautioned against the like offense in future."
From the date of findings of said court martial it is apparent that the feelings of intense hostility entertained previously by Colonel Livingston toward his superior, General McDougle, were with increased force turned against his subordinate, Adjutant Sackett, who endured the ordeal until August 25, 1778, when broken in spirit and health he threw up his commission and left the service.
A year later, or to be exact, on the 14th of August, 1779, Peter Sackett obtained from Governor Clinton, who had a thorough knowledge of the cause of his trouble with Colonel Livingston and the facts and circumstances of his leaving the service, authority to pass through the Continental lines and visit friends on Long Island. The pass referred to has been printed on page 184 of Vol. V of "Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York," and reads as follows:
"The bearer Peter Sacket has permission to pass to Long Island to Visit his friends there and return unmolested. Given at Poughkeepsie in the State of New York this 14th August 1779.
G. C. Gov'r"
On reaching Newtown, Peter Sackett was married to Esther Palmer and they sailed on a wedding tour to Europe and remained there until the war was over.
In a record of Colonel Livingston's regiment, made at the close of the war, some one who had doubtless heard that Peter Sackett had left the service and the country during the war, wrote after his name the word "deserted," a cruel piece of injustice, which has ever since been a source of annoyance to his patriotic descendants.
On returning to New York after peace was declared Peter Sackett resided at one time in New York City and at another near Greenwich, Conn.
1864. Peter Sackett.
1865. Charles Sackett.
1866 Sarah Sackett.
1867. James Joseph Sackett, d. Aug. 8, 1830; m. Ann Black.
1868. Hannah Alsop Sackett, m. ___ Shute.
1869. Esther Palmer Sackett.