From humble New England origins, John Glover rose to political and military prominence through a combination of skill and hard work. He was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1732 and slowly worked his way to the top of the mercantile “codfish” aristocracy as a result of his fishing and merchant endeavors.
Glover played a significant role in the American struggle for independence. He was motivated to action upon hearing about the Boston Massacre, becoming a member of the Committee of Correspondence, which coordinated anti-British action. Militarily, Glover initially served as a colonel of the 14th Continental Regiment of “Marbleheaders” and directed the creation of the first US naval fleet—commonly called “Washington’s Schooners”—by converting existing vessels into warships.
Glover’s finest hour as a military commander came during the New York Campaign in October of 1776. After evacuating Washington and 9,000 Continental soldiers from Manhattan to Brooklyn, Glover and his fellow Massachusans helped stave off an amphibious attack launched by British General William Howe on Pell’s Point, New York. Glover and his fellow Massachusans successfully held off the much larger force of 4,000 Hessian and British soldiers. He skillfully commanded his men to position themselves in an alternating pattern behind intersecting walls, and when the British advanced, each regiment engaged and moved back behind the next wall when their flanks were threatened. As a result of the engagement, Washington’s troops were able to successfully retreat to White Plains. He went on to serve in other crucial engagements at Brooklyn and Trenton and earned the rank of brigadier general for his efforts.