John Lamb's Artillery Company History(1775-1781)
The Company of Artillery in the Department of New York was founded in May 1775 by John Lamb, a 41-year-old merchant of New York City and leader since 1765 of the Sons of Liberty, upon acceptance by the Continental Congress of this application for a Captaincy in Artillery. To outfit the company, he raided the Royal storehouses at Turtle Bay; later, he absconded with 21 British cannons from the Battery. Assigned to the Northern Army, Lamb’s Artillery helped Montgomery capture Montreal and lay siege to Quebec. When Montgomery was killed, Lamb, with Daniel Morgan, led the army into Quebec City where, knocked out by grapeshot which shattered his left cheekbone, Lamb was taken prisoner. During his captivity, Congress promoted Lamb to Major in Knox’s Regiment of Artillery and made him Commander of Artillery in the Northwest Department. A prisoner exchange released Lamb from parole and he rejoined the army at Morristown in January 1777, where he was commissioned Colonel, Commandant of Artillery, empowered to command six companies. Lamb used his own credit to obtain money to fill the companies. He became the principal advisor to General Knox, now Commander of all Continental Artillery. Lamb directed the artillery defenses of the Hudson Highlands, was appointed Surveyor of Ordinance in March 1779, and was made Commander of Artillery at West Point in June 1780. In 1781 Lamb led the American artillery to Yorktown, VA where, as second in command after Knox, he directed the barrage that led to Cornwallis’ surrender on October 19, 1781.