• Yorktown Battlefield

    Yorktown Battlefield

    Part of Colonial National Historical Park Virginia

Colonel Elias Dayton

Dayton, Elias. 1737-1807.

Elias Dayton was an experienced military man at the outbreak of the American Revolution. During the French and Indian War, he served first as a lieutenant and then captain in the New Jersey militia. In 1760, during Pontiac's War, Dayton led a company of men in the vicinity of Detroit. After service during Pontiac's War, he left the army and settled in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, where he became a respected mechanic and storekeeper.

Dayton was commissioned a colonel of the 3d New Jersey Regiment in 1775. The regiment served in the Northern Department before joining George Washington's army. Dayton, and the 3d New Jersey, went on to fight at Staten Island, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. The regiment then moved back to the Northern Department to fight indians.

In January 1781, the New Jersey troops in George Washington's army mutinied. In the reorganization that followed, Dayton was given command of the 2d New Jersey Regiment. Dayton was a brigade commander by the time of Yorktown. Dayton was eventually promoted to brigadier general in January 1783. Dayton later retired from the army and resumed the life of a merchant in Elizabethtown.


Did You Know?

18-pounder siege gun

Artillery played a decisive role in defeating the British at Yorktown. According to Brigadier General Henry Knox, the American artillery commander, the Americans and French fired 15,437 artillery rounds at the British during the eight day bombardment. This is an average of 1.2 shots a minute!