Walter Stewart - The Handsomest Man in the Continental Army

Walter Stewart - The Handsomest Man in the Continental Army

Walter Stewart was known to be the best looking man in the Revolution business during the American Founding.

More importantly, Stewart was an important leader in the Continental Army and a major player in the Newburgh Conspiracy.

Walter Stewart

Who was the most handsome man in the Continental Army?

Well, according to many of his contemporaries, this title belongs to Walter Stewart.

The Irish-born Stewart immigrated to Philadelphia in 1773 at just 16 years old. Four years later this heaping bag of eye-candy was commissioned as a Captain in the 3rd Pennsylvania Battalion of the Continental Army and set off to join George Washington in New York.


Soon after arriving in New York, Stewart was appointed as an aide-de-camp to Major General Horatio Gates.

Working so closely with one of the highest-ranking Generals in the Continental Army came with an appointment as a Major. Additionally, it put Walter in the same room as some of the most important figures in the war.

Later that same year Stewart carried information to the Continental Congress on Gates’ behalf and was subsequently promoted to Colonel in a Pennsylvania Regiment.

Suppressing Mutinies

Walter Stewart’s time as a Colonel included many important conflicts in the field, including the Battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. Furthermore, Stewart led his brigade in the less-celebrated Battle of Green Spring.

Additionally, he joined the Continental Army during the Victory at Yorktown.

In the final year of the war, members of the Connecticut Line mutinied because of harsh conditions. Stewart was called out with his men to suppress this rebellion. Fortunately, Stewart was able to convince these men that their suffering was not any worse than soldiers from other States and tensions were quickly resolved.

Less than a year later, the Pennsylvania Line also mutinied.

Well respected by his men, Walter assisted Joseph Reed in halting the uprising and was even able to work out some concessions on their behalf by Congress.

The Newburgh Conspiracy

After the Revolutionary War was won, but before the Treaty of Paris was officially adopted, the Continental Army was stationed in Newburgh, NY.

This was the scene of the famous Newburgh Conspiracy, a meeting of high-ranking Officers who were threatening the Continental Congress because they had not yet been paid. This standoff was cooled down when George Washington made his legendary ‘nearly blind’ speech.

Walter Stewart played a prominent role in this affair.

Stewart believed, as many Officers did, that he would lose the respect he received in the military once the war was over. He preferred that the United States maintain a standing army so he could keep his rank (and not have to start over in private business after eight years of war).

Walter’s conversations with General Gates helped create the meeting…and therefore Washington’s famous speech.

To be fair to Stewart, when another conspiracy was hatched, someone blabbed to the Commander-in-Chief. He has been pointed to as one of the men who may have tattled, and though we cannot confirm this, it speaks clearly to his change of heart.

Good-looking and open to changing his mind…what a catch.

Here are some articles on other aide-de-camps to Horatio Gates:

James Wilkinson - America’s Favorite Double Agent

Thomas Pinckney Tickets John Adams

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