Moses Rawlings – Continental Army Officer – Maryland


Moses Rawlings (1740–1809) served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, most notably at the Battle of Fort Washington. He attained the rank of lieutenant colonel before leaving the military in 1779. He later served as the State Commissioner for Prisoners in Maryland.

==American Revolutionary War==

Rawlings was appointed as first lieutenant in Capt. Michael Cresap’s Independent Rifle Company from Frederick County, Maryland. However, shortly afterward Captain Cresap died, and Rawlings replaced him as company commander. On June 17, 1776, the company was joined to the newly formed Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, and Rawlings was named the second in command and given the rank of lieutenant colonel. When the regimental commander, Col. Hugh Stephenson, died in August 1776 Rawlings then took command of the regiment.

During the Battle of Fort Washington the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, commonly referred to as Rawlings’ Regiment and made up of about 250 riflemen at the battle, was positioned about a half mile north of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island. From November 2 to November 14, 1776, Rawlings’ men fought against German Hessian mercenaries. However, on the 16th they were finally pushed back to Fort Washington, which surrendered to the Germans shortly afterward. Rawlings was taken prisoner, as Washington wrote a letter on January 14, 1777, requesting Rawlings’ release from Joshua Loring as part of a prisoner exchange.

Throughout the remainder of his military career, Rawlings often wrote to General Washington concerning pay for his soldiers and recruits, as he had difficulty paying his soldiers. Washington’s response often included requests that Rawlings use his own money to pay his soldiers until more money could be obtained from Congress.


As of 1781 Rawlings was referred to as the ‘State Commissioner of Prisoners’ out of Frederick Town, Maryland.


Rawlings was married to Elizabeth McMahon. He also had a son named Moses Rawlings.