Heny: Harrington, Capn, his signature from a regimental paylist dated Picton, England, 7 September 1782


Nationality: English
Born: ca.1736
Regimental commission dates:
Captain-Lieutenant, 28 March 1777
Captain, 18 August 1778
Retired: 25 October 1786
Died: unknown


Henry Harrington was an old soldier. He first entered the service during the 7 Years War as an ensign in the 5th Regiment of Foot on 15 October 1759, and became a lieutenant in the regiment on 2 April 1762. Near the termination of the war in 1763, Harrington was assigned to an additional company of the regiment, which was thereafter disbanded, and he was therefore placed on half-pay. Harrington returned to active service in 1772 as a lieutenant in the 20th Regiment of Foot. As such, he accompanied his new regiment to Canada in 1776.

According to a general order dated 3 July 1776, Harrington was appointed “Assistant Quarter Master General” of the Canada Army, and as such was placed on the General Staff of General Sir Guy Carleton. Upon the death of the 62nd Regiment's captain-lieutenant, Richard Greenal Mathews, on 27 March 1777, Harrington was promoted and became the 62nd 's new captain-lieutenant. The rank of captain-lieutenant in the British infantry was an odd predicament. The physical command of a regiment's colonel's (also called general's) company was entrusted to the sole regimental officer bearing this rank since it was understood that the colonel of the regiment (inevitably a general in the army), who was also rated as the captain of his company, was not able to command it personally. The captain-lieutenant, therefore (along with an ensign), was left to command the colonel's company. This created a conundrum, however: technically, the captain-lieutenant was simultaneously serving as both a lieutenant (as he was fulfilling the position of lieutenant in that company; there was none otherwise) and the rank of captain (because the captain of the company, the colonel, was never present). An army order dated 25 May 1772 partially rectified the situation: the meaning of the rank of captain-lieutenant was changed to no longer make the bearer the senior lieutenant of a regiment, but rather, he was allowed to use the army rank of captain, and the rank was thereafter officially “captain-lieutenant and captain.” This often caused confusion, as these officers had full authority to use the rank of “captain,” making it appear that a regiment had more captains than it otherwise should have had. Holders of this rank often didn't last long, however, as they were usually the first preferred and promoted to the rank of “real” captain when a position opened.

Captain-Lieutenant Henry Harrington accompanied the 62nd Regiment for much, but not all, of the Northern Campaign of 1777. A list of staff officers of the Canada garrison dated 1 October 1777 makes it clear that Harrington was absent from the Canada Army, being “Employ'd on the expedition with Lieut General Burgoyne.” A letter from Burgoyne to Baron Riedesel dated 31 August 1777 was delivered to the Baron by Captain Harrington, who was thereafter ordered to investigate the report of accumulated “ships” between Skenesborough (present-day Whitehall, New York) and Fort Anne. Due to the danger of such vessels in Burgoyne's rear (as they could be used to advantage by the rebels), Harrington was ordered to either oversee their transport back to Ticonderoga or their destruction; indeed, this was the sort of command for an assistant quarter master general. It is not known if this specific duty detained Harrington or not, but he did not rejoin Burgoyne's army, did not fight in the Battles of Saratoga, and did not surrender with the rest of the army.

Harrington returned to Canada sometime in the latter half of 1777. He remained in Canada throughout most of 1778 and continued to fulfil his duties as a Canada Army assistant quarter master general. But this was not to last, as his place was with his regiment. Because it was in captivity, Harrington was ordered to return home to Britain and assist in the resurrection of the remnants of the regiment there. However, his return was delayed by a few months due to quartermastering duties, for which Harrington applied to Sir Frederick Haldimand, then governor of Canada, for living expenses compensation (Haldimand Papers):


Capt Harrington
£32 10—

Fred: Haldimand &c &c &c

You are hereby directed and required out of such monies as are or shall come to your hands for the contingent or extraordinary expenses of His Majesty's Forces under my command to pay or cause to be paid unto Captain Henry Harrington of His Majesty's 62nd Regt or to his Assigns without deduction the sum of Thirty two Pounds Ten Shillings Sterling Dollars at four Shillings and eight pence each in consideration of his having been detained upon Service in Canada and put to expense thereby, after the return of the other Officers of his corps lately sent to England and this with the acquittance of the said Captain Henry Harrington or his assigns shall be your Suffitient Warrant and Discharge.

Given Under my hand
at Sorel this 1st day Octore 1778
/Signed/ Fred: Haldimand

By His Excellenys

To John Powell Esq
Dy Paymas
Genl of His
Majesty's Forces
at Quebec


Unbeknownst to Harrington, he had been promoted to a full captaincy by Sir Henry Clinton in August 1778. Informing him for the first time of this was Major Henry Harnage in the following letter. It does not appear that Harrington ever received this letter, as it remains in the Haldimand Papers and was probably reached Quebec well after Harrington left for Britain:


Cambridge near Boston Octr 8th 1778

Dear Sir,

I am happy to inform you of your promotion to a Company in the 62d Regt! George Vallancey has succeeded to the Capn Lieutenancy! the other Commission not yet disposed of!——

Our situation is much the same as at the time Capn [Samuel] Willoe left this! we suppose our letters by him were receiv'd!——

I wish you wou'd make inquiry concerning Mrs Reynell's Child, left at School in a Convent at Quebec! let her be supplied with what is necessary!

The Gentlemen of the Corps send you their Congratulations, and best wishes. remember us to Hall, Wybrants, Hay, and Pack——

I am Dear Sir—— your's sincerely

Henry Harnage
Capn Henry Harrington
62 Regt Quebec ——


Captain Samuel Willoe of the 8th, or King's, Regiment of Foot and an aid-de-camp to the German commander with Burgoyne's Convention Army wasn't the only one delivering mail to officers in Canada. The 62nd Regiment's new captain-lieutenant, George Preston Vallancey, a fellow assistant quarter master general, also felt the need to pay his respects to Harrington and wrote the following letter. Like the above correspondence from Harnage, this letter was probably never received by Harrington:


Cambridge New England

Dr Harrington

8 Octr 1778

By the opportunity of Mr Watts Merchant of Quebec I am happy to have the pleasure of congratulating you upon being appointed Captain of a Company in the 62d in the room of Campbell made Major to the Argyleshire Battalion—convinced of your friendship I know you will rejoice upon hearing that I have succeeded to the Cap. Lieutenancy—Major General [William] Phillips desires I will assure you how happy he is in having it in his power to have recommended you, and in that recommendation having taken place particularly knowing your situation of being an old officer and a deserving one—as also having had the pleasure of your acquaintance for so long a time—He desires through you to acquaint Lieut [John] Smith of the 9th Regiment that considering himself under a promise to him that if ever an opportunity offered he should be remmembered [sic]—by the Death of poor Capt [William Stone] Montgomery an opportunity has offered, and Smith is appointed Capt Lieutenant in the 9th Regiment for which the General hopes he will consider as having discharged that promise—He desires me to assure you both of his protection and attention upon any future occasion—

The poor 62nd Regiment are reduced to 175 privates, 60 of whom are disabled & must get Chelsea to that in all probability if ever we should be exchanged we shall be drafted, a fine prospect you will say for one who is am Adjutant, which I still hold—Anstruther and Shrimpton are gone home the latter very bad still of his Wound—Harnage & Wife, Hawker, Bunbury & Marlay are still with the Regiment—the Regiment are in daily expectation of marching to Rutland to join the rest of the British Regiments who have been sent up there from time to time.

By a late resolution of the American Congress our suspension is fully determined upon untill [sic] the Treaty is ratified by the Court of Great Britain—The Commissioners offered to ratify it in the fullest manner, but it would not do—in short my good friend here we must stay—your friends of the 20th [Regiment] are well—[John] Stanley sent home—[William] Maxwell at New York on Parole—[Richard] Dowling sent home exchanged and the young Bucks perfectly well—old [Paul] Banks can not forgive himself for not accepting your offer—[Robert William] Winchester meant to have wrote to you, but I believe has not had time——

We have eagerly looked for our Baggage from Canada what in the name of God is become of it—mine was left in the Quart Masr Generals Stores at St Johns—as a Brother Qur Mar you must take care of it for me—& I by you will give directions to have it all sent to me by the Baggage that is coming—I left a Horse there and Friend [William] Twiss promised to allow me for him—jog his elbow on this subject and by you will remmember [sic] me particularly to him—

We have here fancy'd Col [Thomas] Carleton & Capt [Edward] Foy are gone home with the General [Sir Guy Carleton]—if they are not then Major Genl Phillips & family request to be particularly remmembered [sic] to them—to the first I beg you will present my most grateful & sincere wishes and regard, and assure him I retain a perfect acknowledgement of the many favors he conferred upon me during the time I had the honour of serving under him—that I look upon my [two illegible words] and the Line I am at present is to be in great measure owing to his kind interposition and taking me under his protection last year—

I shall be happy to have a Line from you by some opportunity—the necessity of this letter being sent open prevents me from saying as much as I wish—My best wishes attend Hall, Wybrants, Pack & any other officers of the 62d in Canada

I shall conclude with wishing you all perfect happiness & content as I remain

Dr Harrington
your most obed.
much obliged humble sert
Geo Vallancey


Compt to [John] Barnes all his
Friends of Blue Boys are
Perfectly well—[William] Smith advises
a good trade at Rutland


Harrington was back in England by the end of 1778; upon the mass repatriation of the regiment in 1781, he was returned as “sick at Carlisle.” He rejoined the regiment by 1782, finally able to take command of his own company for the first time after having been made a full captain in 1778. Captain Harrington retired from the service about four years later.

Oddly, Henry Harrington's name was sometimes recorded in regimental and army records as “William Harrington.” Other sources, such as those of the 20th Regiment and the army, did not do this. “William” may have been a middle name (or perhaps even the given name) for this officer. However, there is no doubt they were one in the same person.

Captain Henry Harrington is often mistaken by writers for another officer with Burgoyne's army: Charles Stanhope, Viscount Petersham. Lord Petersham, captain of the 29th Regiment's grenadier company in 1777 (and during the later phase of the Northern Campaign of 1777, Burgoyne's aid-de-camp), was created Earl of Harrington in 1779. Lord Petersham was never referred to by the name “Harrington” before that time and therefore any such references in original records refer to the captain-lieutenant of the 62nd Regiment alone.