John Cadwalader Shoots 'That Damn Rascal' In The Mouth

John Cadwalader Shoots 'That Damn Rascal' In The Mouth

It's Cadwalader brothers weekend!

Who are the Cadwalader brothers?  Well, that's why you're reading this article isn't it?

The Cadwalader brothers, John and Lambert, were successful Philadelphia merchants who joined the Continental Army when the time arrived.  This article is about John, come back tomorrow to learn about Lambert.

John Cadwalader was a Brigadier General in the Continental Army.  He played a large role in the New Jersey Campaign and defended George Washington's honor in a duel.


John Cadwalader

John Cadwalader and his brother, Lambert, were running a successful merchant house in Philadelphia when the American Revolution began.  Both brothers supported the rebellion and joined the fight.

John, already a Colonel in the militia, was elected as senior officer of the Associators.  The Associators, founded thirty years earlier by Benjamin Franklin, was perhaps the most respected militia regiment in Philadelphia.  Cadwalader led these soldiers to meet George Washington on the New Jersey border.



During the Battle of Trenton, Cadwalader was instructed by General Washington to cross the Delaware south of the main body of the Continental Army.  Washington’s plan was to have Cadwalader approach the Hessian camp from the opposite side to prevent men from escaping.

Unfortunately, John was unable to transport his heavy artillery across the icy river and was forced to turn back.  Luckily, the attack surprised the enemy and Washington was victorious.

The Americans won at Trenton, and Cadwalader continued to lead his men throughout the New Jersey Campaign.  John eventually achieved the rank of Brigadier General.


Conway Cabal

During the Revolutionary War, many people began to question if General Washington was the right person to lead the Continental Army to victory.

A small group of powerful Generals and Congressmen attempted to replace Washington with someone else (Horatio Gates generally considered the best candidate).  This event became known as the Conway Cabal and, though it was stopped, many people were unhappy with those who were involved.

One of these unhappy people was John Cadwalader, who challenged Thomas Conway (the Cabal’s namesake) to a duel.

Cadwalader shot Conway in the mouth, stood over his body, and said “I have stopped that damn rascal’s lying.”



John only lived a few more years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War.

During that time, he became a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania.  Additionally, he relocated to Maryland where he was elected to the State Assembly.

When he passed away in 1786, his epitaph was written by the great penman Thomas Paine.  In speaking about the honor with which Cadwalader lived his life, Paine said, in part, “He never lost a friend by insincerity nor made one by deception.”  

Thomas Cadwalader, an honest man and able Patriot.


Today's book recommendation is different from my usual suggestions.  With most Founders, I attempt to offer a biography first and, if none is known to me, I suggest a book regarding certain events that surround the Founder of the Day's life.  While Cadwalader does not have an 'appropriate' biography, there is a book written about him. 

Actually, it's about his house. 

The Cadwalader family had many beautiful, unique pieces of furniture made for the house.  Much of his furniture is now in museums across the United States.  Therefore, if you want to learn more about both Cadwalader and 18th century interior decorating, find yourself a copy of 'Colonial Grandeur in Philadelphia.'  It is an interesting look at the homemaking choices of wealthy Revolutionaries.

As always, I suggest you try and find this book at the library but if you'd like a copy for yourself you can find it on Amazon through the link below.  We get a small commission from Amazon but I assure you it does not increase your just support the site!

Oh, and if you still haven't registered for the daily emails, subscribe here.  All I ever send you is a new Founder every morning.  Thanks!

Lambert Cadwalader Is Forced To Resign

Lambert Cadwalader Is Forced To Resign

Thomas Burke Escapes A British Prison Camp

Thomas Burke Escapes A British Prison Camp