Lant. Weir, his signature from a regimental paylist dated Bradford, England, 20 February 1783


Nationality: probably Irish
Born: unknown
Regimental commission dates:
Ensign, 20 September 1777
Lieutenant, 21 August 1781
Captured: Battle of Bemis Heights, 7 October 1777 (prisoner of war)
Retired: 31 August 1784
Died: unknown


Volunteers had to rely on a varying combination of patronage, luck, and ability in order to receive promotion to the officer corps. With so many volunteers accompanying the Army from Canada, and comparatively few openings available for promotion, any enhancements to those aforementioned factors could prove vital. Usually, the reasons why particular volunteers were favored for promotion remain unknown to historians, but Volunteer Lancelot Weir is an exception. According to Captain Edward Foy (adjutant-general of the Province of Québec), in a letter to Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Kingston (the Army from Canada deputy adjutant-general), dated Québec, 17 August 1777, Kingston was purposefully informed of something which was key to Weir's being favored above a host of others: "Mr. Wier is related to General [Sir Guy] Carleton." As expected, it was not long before Weir received his free promotion to the rank of ensign, which was following the death of Ensign George Taylor, killed during the Battle of Freeman's Farm on 19 September 1777.

Weir's campaigning career with the regiment was cut short, however, as he was captured by rebel forces two and a half weeks later during the Battle of Bemis Heights on 7 October 1777. Because of his captivity before the 17 October 1777 Saratoga surrender, Ensign Weir was not part of the Saratoga Convention and was considered a prisoner of war; as such, he was listed in the Return of the Prisoners of War in Town this day dated Albany, 18 October 1777 (Horatio Gates Papers). Little is known of the trials and tribulations experienced by Weir in captivity, but he was referred to in a letter from British Major-General Robert Pigot to rebel Major General William Heath dated Newport, Rhode Island, 21 June 1778 (Heath Papers):


Lieut Nailer and Ensign Wier of the 62d Regimt, Prisoners of war, not having leave from their Commanding Officer to quite the place of their Confinement in order to solicit their Exchange, return in this Cartel Ship [the Adrian, Thomas Williams Master] to Boston, to endeavour to prevail on General Phillips and the Commanding officer of the 62d Regimt to consent that they go on Parole, for the purpose of endeavouring to procure their Exchange.


Major-General William Phillips, British commander of the Convention Army, wrote a follow up letter to Heath relating to the same event dated Cambridge, Massachusetts, 16 July 1778:



Two officers [Naylor and Weir] Prisoners of War of the 62nd Regiment have been exchanged by Mr. Commissary [Joshua] Mersereau and sent with him to Rhode Island, but as there was something improper in the manner of these officers going as it respected their duty to their Regiment the Commanding officer of it and to me, I reported them to General Pigot who directed them to return in the Adrian Victualler to personally answer for their behaviour.

I have received the explanation of these officers. I propose with your permission to let them return to Rhode Island in the Victualler

I am Sir
Your most obedient
humble servant


Exchanged, Ensign Weir returned to England and rejoined the regiment as the ensign of the general's company by 1781. Weir was the beneficiary of gaining his lieutenancy sooner than he should have been able, since, upon the promotion of Lieutenant William Wybrants and senior Ensign Jonas Parker declining the purchase to replace him, Weir was recommended instead. Lancelot Weir retired from the army only a few years later.

Lancelot Weir's given name was often recorded as "Launcelot," but his own signature demonstrates that the proper spelling was "Lancelot." Similarly, his surname was often recorded as "Wier," although his own signature shows that the proper family spelling was "Weir."