This is an artist's rendition of what William Ballinger
may have looked like, based on several pictures of
his great grandsons. He was a Revolutionary War soldier in the 10th Regiment of the Virginia Continental Line. He served at Valley Forge during a long hard winter and at Stony Point, New York as part of an elite force to scout posts and suprise the enemy.
Stony Point is a peninsula on the Hudson River of New York State, approximately 25 miles north of Manhattan. The Battle of Stony Point was fought on July 15-16, 1779 by Continental troops armed only with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets to avoid detection and preserve the key element of surprise. Using a plan devised by General Washington and modified by General Wayne, the Americans marched south from Sandy Beach near West Point, and arrived at Springsteel's farm, about a mile and a half from Stony Point, some eight hours later. As they approached the peninsula from the west,they formed two attack columns, and wore pieces of white paper in their hats to avoid confusion in the darkness. They were also directed, in General Wayne's battle orders,to shout a watchword - "The Fort's Our Own" - when the defenses were "forced and not before. . . to drive the Enemy from their Works and Guns which will favor the pass of the whole troops." One column would proceed around the peninsula on the south, the other on the north, while a third column positioned in the center fired shots to divert the British defenders.
General Wayne commanded the south column comprised of 700 men from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. These troops waded through the shallow waters of Haverstraw bay, around the outer abatis, cutting though a second, or inner abatis, closer to the river. The abatis - walls made of trees that had been cut down and placed side by side, with sharpened, entangled branches oriented toward the direction of a possible attack - spanned the peninsula from north to south. The southern end of the first, or Outer, abatis extended some 50 yards into the waters of Haverstraw Bay. Colonel Richard Butler commanded the north column consisting of 300 soldiers from Pennsylvania and Maryland, while the diversionary force in the center - 150 men in two North Carolina companies - were led by Major Hardy Murpree.
The two attack columns were preceded by twenty picked men - the "forlorn hope" - whose mission was to secure the British sentries and "remove obstructions." All were members of the Corps of Light Infantry, an elite force whose duties included gathering intelligence, scouting enemy lines, fighting running skirmishes, and surprising enemy posts. Within about a half-hour, the heaviest fighting had ended; by 1 A.M. the fort and garrison were in American hands.
The ceremony was a great success, with almost 100 descendants of William Ballenger attending from all over the United States. The Color Guard in their Revolutionary War uniforms and the musket salute were very impressive. The speech regarding William Ballenger's life was very interesting and the placing of the memorial stone touched us all. It is abundantly clear that our family is proud of it's heritage, and one of our most honored ancestors. Please enjoy the following links regarding William Ballenger and the Rededication Ceremony.