Sam Pack, his signature from a regimental paylist dated Lincoln, England, 9 August 1781

 

Nationality: Irish
Born: Dublin, Ireland, ca.1757
Regimental commission dates:
Ensign, 25 March 1777
Lieutenant, 1 June 1780
Location during the Northern Campaign of 1777: ensign of the 62nd Regiment contingent left in Canada
Exchanged into another regiment: 9 January 1784 (with Lieutenant Thomas Drinkwater, half-pay, Lord Strathaven's Corps)
Died: unknown


A former non-graduated student of Trinity College, University of Dublin, Samuel Pack joined the 62nd Regiment as a volunteer, in which capacity he served as a private soldier in Major Henry Harnage's company. By the latter half of 1776, Pack was transferred to Captain Erle Hawker's light infantry company; flank company service was common amongst even new volunteers, perhaps because it was expected that they would gain more military experience. Pack didn't have long to wait for a promotion: he was given the rank of ensign on 25 March 1777 in room of Ensign William Wybrants only months before the Northern Campaign of 1777 began.

Before General Burgoyne's Army from Canada began its invasion of New York, a General Order dated 10 May 1777 specified that the 9th, 20th, 21st, 47th, 53rd, and 62nd Regiments had to leave a contingent of fifty men in Canada, each of which was to be commanded by a captain and two subalterns. While there was no order passed which determined how the officers were selected, a review of officers left behind demonstrates that they were generally their regiment's most junior by rank. Pack, the junior ensign of the regiment, was designated as the 62nd's representative.

In July 1778, over half a year following the surrender of the 62nd Regiment at Saratoga, the private soldiers of the detachment were ordered to join the 53rd Regiment of Foot, then at Chambly. Following standard operating procedure, the non-commissioned officers and drummers were sent back to Britain to form part of the core of the regiment during its resurrection. Officers would usually be sent home as well in order to oversee a regimental refit, but the Canada commander-in-chief had something different in mind for some of the officers of the 62nd Regiment remaining in Canada. As the regiment had more officers in Canada than any of the other regiments which surrendered at Saratoga (most had three or less, while the 62nd Regiment had five), Lieutenant William Wybrants and Ensign Alexander Hay were ordered home. Pack, along with Captain William Hall, was ordered upon other business. According to a general order dated Quebec, 24 July 1778, "Captain Hall and Ensn Pack of the 62nd Regt and Ensign Jones of the 20th will embark on board of the Vessel which carries the Rebel Prisoners to New York and take them under their charge." Rebel prisoners? Indeed, not long afterward, Hall received his official orders for the task at hand (Haldimand Papers):

 

Instructions to Captain Hall of His Majesty's 62d Regiment of Foot.

There being Diverse Rebel Prisoners embarked on board the Maria victualling ship to be sent from hence to Rhode Island or the nearest Port thereto in possession of His Majesty's Forces, you are with the party of your Regiment remaining under your command and an other of Loyalists to go on board the said ship, to be aiding and assisting to the master thereof in preventing during the voyage all disorder or irregularity, and upon your arrival at Rhode Island or other Port you are to report to the Commander in Chief there and deliver the said Prisoners as shall be by him Directed after which you are to take the first opportunity of proceeding to England with your own party, the Loyalists having my permission to go to New York.

Given under my hand at Quebec
this 5th day of August 1778
/Signed/ F.H.

 

The orders Hall was to deliver to the British commander at Rhode Island ("or other Port nearest to the same in Possession of ye King's Forces"), read as follows (Haldimand Papers):


Quebec the 5th August 1778

Sir/

There having been brought into this Province Several Rebel Prisoners some taken in arms, and others seized by Savages in their various excursions, lists of which prisoners are herewith enclosed together with the engagement which they have entered into in order to obtain their enlargement; I send them by this opportunity to Rhode Island to be set at liberty there or exchanged for an equal number of His Majesty's Troops in their hands as you shall think proper to direct.

I am Sir &c
/Signed/ F:H.

A letter written by Major-General William Phillips, Burgoyne's second-in-command, to Sir Henry Clinton, dated Charlottesville, VA, 1 May 1779, relayed that he (Phillips) had just received correspondence from Frederick Haldimand dated to August 1778, stating that rebel prisoners of war held in Canada were released to Hall's charge and brought to Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was hoped that these newly-paroled rebel prisoners might afford exchanges for like officers of the prisoner Convention Army. Both Pack and Hall were able to return home by the end of 1778. In 1781, Pack was returned as the lieutenant of Captain John Nash's company in August, but was soon after reassigned again to the light infantry company, commanded by Captain Abraham Bunbury. Apparently, Pack desired to leave active service and was able to exchange with an officer on half-pay, thereby retiring from active service. Early family histories refer to subsequent service in the Honourable East India Company, either as an army or civil officer, although there is no evidence of the former.

Samuel Pack, the son of Samuel and Jane (née Caddell) Pack of Dubin, Ireland, was the only son of four children whose uncle, The Very Reverend Thomas Pack, D.D., was father to the future celebrated Major-General Sir Denis Pack, K.C.B. (1775-1823). Ironically, it was a fellow 1777 campaigner and future 62nd Regiment officer, Sir Thomas Reynell, who married General Pack's widow, Lady Elizabeth, in 1831.

Our thanks to Peggy Dolan of Florida, a great-great-great-great granddaughter of the Reverend Richard Pack, brother of Samuel Pack (the father of this subject's biography), for her generous sharing of Pack genealogy and biographical information.

 

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