Brig. General William Maxwell (Continental Army) ("Scotch Willie")

Is your surname Maxwell?

Research the Maxwell family

Brig. General William Maxwell (Continental Army) ("Scotch Willie")'s Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

William Maxwell

Birthdate: (63)
Death: November 4, 1796 (63)
Immediate Family:

Son of John Mitchell and Hannah Mitchell

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Brig. General William Maxwell (Continental Army) ("Scotch Willie")

William Maxwell (1733 – November 3, 1796) was an Ulster-born brigadier general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Although Irish-born, he was known in the army by the sobriquet "Scotch Willie". He served during the French and Indian War, surviving Braddock's Massacre in 1755. He was next an ensign in Col. John Johnson's N.J. Regiment and then a lieutenant in Col. Peter Schuyler's regiment, the Jersey Blues.

As a colonel, he commanded the 2nd New Jersey Regiment and fought in the Battle of Newtown, among many other actions. His second in command was Lieutenant Colonel Israel Shreve.

In August 1777, Gen. George Washington assigned Maxwell, then commanding the New Jersey Brigade in the Main Army, to organize and command a provisional Corps of Light Infantry, culling 100 of the best troops from each of the army's ten brigades. This force formed the advanced skirmish line at the Battle of Brandywine, then was attached to Maxwell's regular brigade as the reserve at the Battle of Germantown.

During May 1778, Washington sensed that the British were evacuating Philadelphia, so he sent General Maxwell with four New Jersey regiments and two pieces of artillery to reinforce the New Jersey militia.

One of the best battlefield commanders on the American side, he was forced to resign for undisclosed reasons, probably related to his drinking.

He is buried in Greenwich Township in New Jersey.

view all

Brig. General William Maxwell (Continental Army) ("Scotch Willie")'s Timeline

November 4, 1796
Age 63