Peter Sackett

(1757-)
FatherJoseph Sackett MD (1732/33-1799)
MotherHannah Alsop (c 1735-c 1817)
Peter Sackett, son of Joseph Sackett MD and Hannah Alsop, was born in Newtown, Long Island, New York StateG, on 4 November 1757.1 He married there in about August 1779, Esther Palmer, daughter of Charles Palmer.1 Esther was born in about 1761.2
     Sergeant Major Peter Sackett served in the American Revolutionary War.3 In 1776 he was appointed Adjutant of the 4th Regiment of the Continental Line. He resigned his commission in September 1778 apparently in consequence of his involvement as a witness in two courts martial. Although he was not the accused in either case, the verdict of the court suggested that his evidence had not found favor.
     In 1790 Peter was living in Norwalk, Fairfield County, ConnecticutG. In his household were two men, one boy, and three females.4
Extract from The Sacketts of America

Peter 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.

Extract from The George Washington Papers5
Richard Platt to Adjutant Sackett, 7 May 1777

Sir,

Youl Turn out all the men of your Regt except those warned for Duty and let them be properly officered. Major Ledyard is to go along with them. They must parade with Arms, Accoutrements and three days provision. The party ordered yesterday must parade at Head Quarters as soon as possible. No officers warned for Court Martial to go.

By Order of the Genl
Richd Platt
B[rigade] Major

Adjutant Sackett
7 May 1777

A true copy Taken from
the original
Test[ified]
George Smith Lieut

Extract from The George Washington Papers6
George Washington, 3 August 1778, General Orders

Head Quarters White Plains Monday, Augt 3rd 1778
Parole Alexandria—CSign { Boxford { Cambridge

The Connecticutt Militia Light Horse commanded by Captain Skinner are discharged and have his Excellency's thanks for their good services.

At a General Court Martial whereof Colo Stewart was President July 29th 1778, Lieutenant Colo Regnier tried 1st—In leaving his Regiment when alarmed by the firing of the Patrols upon the lines on the morning of the 29th of June last and not joining it again 'till the Alarm was over—2ndly For purchasing a horse from a soldier which property belonged to the Continent—3rd for treating Adjt Sackett in an unofficer and ungentlemanlike manner. The Court having considered the Charges and the Evidence are unanimously of opinion that Lieutt Colo Regnier is not guilty of either of the Charges exhibited against him, and are farther of opinion that they are groundless, vexatious and dictated by private Pique & Malice. They do acquit him with honor.

[Note by editor of book: Adjt. Peter Sackett, of the Fourth New York Regiment. He resigned in September, 1778.]

At the same Court Martial July 31st Captn Silleron acting as a Volunteer in the 4th New-York Regiment was tried 1st—For calling Adjutant Sackett a Liar and drawing his sword on him when unarmed—2ndly for insinuating that he was a Coward and challenging him to fight a Duel. The Court having considered the first Charge and Evidence are of Opinion that Captn Silleron is guilty thereof, but as the Abuse was reciprocal and as Captain Silleron could not mean by drawing his sword to take Advantage of Ajt Sackett's being unarmed, the Court think the Punishment of lying in Arrest (a punishment pointed out in the Articles of War of which his Crime is a breach and which Captn Silleron has already suffered) is adequate to the fault he has committed. They are likewise of opinion that Captain Silleron is guilty of the Second Charge exhibited against him, but as the challenge was given by him immediately, as it proceeded from the instantaneous Resentment of an incensed Gentleman and was not sent on cool reflection, the Court are of opinion that Captain Silleron has not been guilty of a breach of the Articles of War which prohibits sending challenges and do determine that he does not merit Censure.

Children of Peter Sackett and Esther Palmer

  • Peter Sackett b. say 1780
  • Charles Sackett b. say 1782
  • Sarah Sackett b. say 1784
  • James Joseph Sackett b. say 1786, d. 8 Aug 1830
  • Hannah Alsop Sackett b. say 1788
  • Esther Palmer Sackett b. say 1790
Appears inSacketts in the Military
ChartsLine 3a (American)

 Notes & Citations

  1. Charles Weygant, The Sacketts of America, "762. Peter Sackett, b. Nov. 4, 1757; m. Esther Palmer."
  2. Charles Weygant, The Sacketts of America.
  3. Website National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (http://dar.org/), "Sackett, Peter
    Service: New York
    Rank(S): Sergeant, Major
    Birth: 11-4-1757, Paramus, New Jersey
    Death: (Post) 1779
    Service Description: also Adj, under Gen. Montgomery
    Residence: Newtown, Long Island, New York
    Spouse: Esther Palmer."
  4. 1790 US census, digital image from National Archives microfilm, Ancestry.com, Peter Sacket. Norwalk and Stamford, CT. 2 white males (16+), 1 white male under 16, and 3 white females.
  5. Website Library of Congress, George Washington Papers (http://www.loc.gov), This letter is described on the Library of Congress website as from Richard Platt to Nathaniel Sackett. Nathaniel Sackett was not in the military. Adjutant Sackett would have been Adjutant Peter Sackett of 4th New York Regiment. A handwritten note on the letter reads, "Enclosed in 1777 May 19, Livingston to Washington", but the letter of that date gives no further clue to the identity of Adjutant Sackett.
  6. Website Library of Congress, George Washington Papers (http://www.loc.gov).
Generation.Tree762.7O.3a
Sackett line6th great-grandson of Thomas Sackett the elder
Last Edited6 July 2012