John Hoskins Stone Gets Shot...Again
John Hoskins Stone was a decorated Officer in the Continental Army who was twice forced to tender his resignation due to wounds sustained in battle.
Stone would later serve as an important Governor of Maryland.
John Hoskins Stone
As soon as word of Lexington and Concord reached Maryland, John Hoskins Stone joined the fight.
Stone followed William Smallwood into the newly created Maryland Battalion which would go on to form one of the most decorated segments in all of the Continental Army. Smallwood began the war as a Colonel and Stone as a Lieutenant.
Throughout the early years of the Revolutionary War, Smallwood earned several promotions and, just behind him, so did Stone.
Although it probably helped that his brother, Thomas, was a member of the Continental Congress (and a signer of the Declaration of Independence), the main reason for his advancement was that he earned the trust of General Washington.
During the Battle of Germantown, John Hoskins Stone was shot in the ankle. This wound limited his action for some time, and he was informed by the doctor on site that he might never properly walk again.
Fearing his inability to lead would hold another officer who was fit for duty back from a promotion, Stone wrote to General Washington with a resignation.
Washington responded by saying that if John really needed to leave the Continental Army he would, ‘regret that the service has lost such a good officer.’ However, he asked that Stone stay with the Army, ‘for at least a month or six weeks longer,’ to see if the wound healed.
John agreed to this and, although the injury would hinder his ability to walk for the remainder of his life, he recovered enough to again lead his men.
The following year, now back in action, Stone was again wounded.
This time, during the Battle of Stony Point, his injuries were substantially more serious.
Shot in both the arm and the head, John may very well have died if not for Lieutenant James Fernandis. Fernandis saw his leader get hit with bullets and, despite wounds of his own, threw Stone over his shoulder and carried him from the field.
(I wanted to give Fernandis his own Founder of the Day, but information on him was extremely hard to come by. I gave him this section of Stone’s article for now. Bonus Founder!)
Getting shot in the head was not the type of injury Washington was quite so eager to have his Officer ‘tough it out.’
Stone sent the General another resignation and, this time, it was quickly approved.
Fortunately, John recovered enough that he was appointed to Maryland’s Executive Council the following year. The Executive Council, at the time, can best be described as a combination of the Governor’s Cabinet and the State Senate.
It was not an elected position, but it did place a still-only-29-year-old Stone among the highest levels of the State Government.
After six years in the Executive Council, Stone was elected as a member of the Maryland House of Representatives.
John spent a decade in the House before he was elected Governor of Maryland.
From an historical perspective, Stone’s most notable achievement as Governor was leading a campaign to have the State loan the Federal Government the money it needed to construct Washington, D.C. Without this capital, the Capitol might have been delayed indefinitely.
From his perspective, however, Stone’s most notable achievement was a letter he wrote to President Washington. Late in his second term, Washington was receiving criticism from many of his opponents. The Stone-led Maryland was an ardent supporter of the President and voted in several resolutions confirming their approval.
I’ll conclude this article by quoting Stone’s letter at length:
“I consider as the most agreeable and honorable circumstances of my life, that during my administering the Government of Maryland, I Shoud have been twice gratified in communicating to you the unanimous and unreserved approbation of my Countrymen of your Public conduct, as well as their gratitude for your eminent services—as this will probably be the last time which this pleasing duty will devolve on me, I beg permission to add most cordially to join my Countrymen in those sentiments which are made with such sincerity—with the highest respect and great regard I have the honor to be Sir Yr Most Obt Sert”
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