A prominent Maryland planter, soldier, and politician, William Smallwood was an American Patriot. Crossing the pond, he was educated in England. Later in America, Smallwood served as an officer in the French and Indian War. He was then swept into politics and elected to Maryland’s provincial assembly. When revolution struck the colonies, Smallwood took up the Patriot cause and was appointed colonel of the 1st Maryland Regiment in 1776. His men fought in the New York and New Jersey campaign. By December of 1777 Smallwood was commander of approximately 1,500 troops from Delaware and Maryland. His men were used to protect American assets at Wilmington and protect flour mills on the Brandywine. He commanded men at the Battle of White Plains, for which his efforts were recognized and he was promoted to brigadier general. During the Philadelphia campaign, Smallwood served under George Washington and his regiment fought with distinction at Germantown. He fought at Camden, South Carolina under General Horatio Gates. There, his brigade held their ground, leading Smallwood to the rank of major general. He then retired to Maryland for the rest of the war. He became the first President-General of the Maryland Society of the Cincinnati in 1783. While elected to Congress in 1785 he had also been elected as the fourth Governor of Maryland; Smallwood choose the governorship. It was during his time as governor that he called the state’s convention to adopt the United States Constitution in 1788.
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