W P: Naylor, Lieut 62d Regimt, his signature from a regimental paylist dated Bradford, England, 20 February 1783


Nationality: Irish
Born: ca.1752
Regimental commission dates:
Ensign, 12 March 1774
Lieutenant, 21 November 1776
Ensign, 29 October 1783
Captured: Saratoga, New York, 11 October 1777 (prisoner of war)
Retired: from Lieutenancy 1 July 1783
Exchanged into another regiment: 5 November 1783 (with Ensign William Blinkhorn, half-pay, 73rd Regiment)
Died: unknown


William Pendred Naylor purchased his ensigncy in the 62nd Regiment in 1774. By the end of 1776, Naylor was the senior ensign of the regiment, and as such, he was well placed to purchase up to the rank of lieutenant when an opening in the regiment appeared. No doubt he had help from Lieutenant-Colonel John Anstruther, who himself submitted the following memorial to Sir Guy Carelton in favor of Naylor's promotion to lieutenant (WO28):


To His Excellency Guy Carleton, Captain General, and Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Forces in Canada. &ca &ca &ca

The Memorial of Lieutenant Colonel John Anstruther Commanding His Majesty's Sixty Second Regiment of Foot.

Most Humbly Sheweth.

That Captain Charles Dawson of said Regiment, Purchased his Commission at His Majesty's regulated Price.

And he having some Family Affairs of a pressing nature to settle, Humbly requests, he may be permitted to dispose of His Commission on the above Terms.

Your Memorialist begs leave to recommend Lieutenant William Hall, a Young Gentleman who has paid the greatest Attention to his Duty, and is ready to purchase to Succeed to the Company.

And Ensign William Pendred Nayler, who is Eldest of that Rank in the Regiment and Army under your Excellency's Command, and ready to Purchase to Succeed Lieutenant Hall.

And that Your Excellency will appoint any young Gentleman, who may have been recommended, and whom Your Excellency may think Qualified, and will Purchase to Succeed Ensign Nayler.

And Your Memorialist will, as in Duty bound, forever Pray.

Quebec November 17th 1776—


Apparently, Naylor was overly interested in succeeding to the open lieutenancy, and wrote a memorial to the Canada commander-in-chief himself about his worthiness in the hopes on ensuring his promotion (WO28):


To His Excellency General Carleton Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Forces in Canada. &ca &ca &ca

The Memorial of Ensign William Pendred Naylor, of His Majesty's Sixty Second Regiment

Most Humbly Sheweth

That your Memorialist hath been an Ensign in His Majesty's Army, since the 12th of March, One thousand Seven hundred and Seventy Four.—That your Memorialist hath Constantly attended to and Diligently discharged his Duty.—That your Memorialist is now the Senior Ensign, Excepting one, in the Army under your Excellency's Command, therefore most humbly hopes that your Excellency will take into Consideration his Services, and Provide for him in such manner, as shall seem best, to your Excellency, and your Memorialist, will as in Duty bound.—ever Pray—

Wm Pendred Nayler
Ensn 62d Regt


Naylor received his hoped-for promotion, but it was not without its complications. An undated communiqué referred to an error in issuing him and Hall proper commissions (WO28):


A memorial was given to Sir Guy Carleton by Lt Colonel Anstruther Commanding the 62d Regiment, on, or about, the 27th of November Last [17 November 1776], Recommending Lieu Wm Hall to Succeed, by Purchase, to Capn Chas Dawson, both in the said Regiment; & Ensn Wm Nayler to succeed by Purchase to Lieu Wm Hall;—His Excellency having Consented to Capn Chas Dawson's Resignation, and to Lieu Hall's and Ensign Naylor's purchasing, as above, they have accordingly paid the Purchase money, to Capn C Dawson who is gone to Europe: but the Commissions have not been Issued...


Lieutenant William Pendred Naylor set off with the 62nd Regiment in June 1777 and served for almost the entire Northern Campaign of 1777. As a lieutenant in the 62nd Regiment of Foot, he survived the bloody Battle of Freeman's Farm on 19 September 1777 unscathed. After the decisive battlefield defeat in the second Battle of Saratoga (7 October 1777), the entire British army retreated to Saratoga (present-day Schuylerville, NY ) and dug in. Rebel forces pursued and began to besiege their positions. The 62nd Regiment was posted in a plain between the Hudson River and the large earthen fortifications on the heights overlooking the small Saratoga village. In this position the remnants of the regiment performed guard and picket duty. This was very unfortunate for a sizable detachment of the already depleted regiment on 11 October. According to the journal entry of rebel Reverend Enos Hitchcock of Brigadier General John Patterson's Brigade (Publications of the Rhode Island Historical Society, Volume VII. Providence: 1899) dated that day: "11. [October] This morning a guard was taken from the Enemy consisting of a Surgeon's Mate, Lieut [Naylor] & 36 privates 8 or ten afterward…" A journal entry made by rebel Sergeant Ebenezer Wild (Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume VI. Boston: 1890, 1891) of Colonel Joseph Vose's Massachusetts Regiment also helps validate the event: "11 Oct. This morning very foggy…. This morning our people took the enemy's advance picket, consisting of an officer [Naylor] and 36 men, all British troops."

Lieutenant Anton Du Roi, adjutant to Braunschweig Brigadier Johann Friedrich Specht and author of The Specht Journal (Helga Doblin, trans. Greenwood Press, Westport, RI: 1995), explained the worsening situation of Burgoyne's army in the 11 October 1777 journal entry:


At daybreak, the noise started down near the water again. Around 9 o'clock, the enemy crossed the Fishkill with 2 brigades and made preparations for attacking our army from the rear. They were also quite lucky inasmuch as they captured our bateaux and picked up Lieut. Naylor, an officer of the 62nd Regt. with 40 men. A large part of our supplies was also lost on this occasion.


Although some official British records state that Naylor and his unfortunate detachment were captured on 12 October, it's clear that it actually happened the previous day (Naylor was the only infantry officer of Burgoyne's army captured during the entire siege period). In a letter dated 26 October 1778 (George Washington Papers), Rebel Colonel Rufus Putnam applied to fellow rebel Major General Horatio Gates in hopes that the latter would intercede on behalf of Captain Nathan Goodale (an officer in Putnam's Regiment) for his exchange. Goodale was captured on 30 August 1778 by British forces, and Putnam's letter gave a glowing report of Goodale's prior industrious service:


It was he [Goodale] that (when Genl Nixons Brigade Crossed the creek at Saratoga on the 11th of October) with 40 men took Lieut Nailer with a guard of 35 British soldiers without fireing a gun which he Effected by a singular command, boldness & Address[.]

The British guard were all paraded, the officer [Naylor] gave the word, make Ready, they all cocked their pieces, in this situation Capt Goodale had the command to prevent his own men from fireing to give the alarm to the Enemy who could not see him on account of the Fogg, and such boldness of address as to Deter the British officer out of his fire, and the whole to ground their arms.


In a similar vein, Park Holland, serjeant-major of Colonel Rufus Putnam's Massachusetts Regiment in 1777, later recorded the memorable event of capturing Naylor's party in his memoir (Journal of Park Holland: soldier of the Revolution and Shays' Rebellion, Maine Surveyor, and Early Penobscot Settler. Jeffrey Fiske and Sally Ostergard Fisk, eds. Towtaid, New Braintree, MA: 2000):


We...captured a collection of boats with their guards, well laden with stores, the very things we needed. The fog here which had before like the cloud of Israel saved so many of us, did us ample service, as the commander of the guard, did not doubt when ordered to surrender, that the whole American army were present. We can judge of the poor fellows feelings when he found he had given himself and men up without an effort, to a party of not half his number, so near his own fort.


Because of their captivity before the 17 October Saratoga surrender, Lieutenant Naylor and the men of his command were not included in the Saratoga Convention and were considered prisoners of war. Naylor and the men of his detachment were enumerated in a Return of the Prisoners of War in Town this day dated Albany, 18 October 1777 (Horatio Gates Papers). Naylor's whereabouts in America following his captivity are unknown, 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 followup letter to Heath relating to the same event dated Cambridge, 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


Therefore exchanged, Naylor rejoined the regiment in England by 1782 as the lieutenant of Captain William Sotheron's battalion company, and retired from service one year later (1 July 1783). Strangely, William Pendred Naylor was commissioned ensign in the 62nd Regiment on 29 October 1783. Within one week, he exchanged his new commission with an officer on half pay from the 73rd Regiment of Foot. This may have been done in order to receive an additional income through halfpay and at the same time, save face by not having to reenter the regiment he just left by transferring out of it.