From the Sworn deposition of his wife "Suckey" Nunnally, and other material in bibliography listed below I've put together this sketch of John Nunnally.
After John's two or three 3-month tours of duty in the Virginia Militia as described by his wife Suckey Nunnally, John enlisted in the Continental Army on 11 February 1778, one day before his 20th birthday. The Muster Roll of Valley Forge shows he was first under the command of Captain William Cunningham serving in the 1st VA regiment, 1st VA Brigade, 5th Division. When Cunningham went to Virginia to take up or perhaps continue recruiting, John served under Captain Fauntleroy who had returned from a furlough.In April 1778, John was listed on the muster roll at Valley Forge as sick, present with additional remarks, "April 1778 under enoculation".
From the Sworn Deposition of his 79 year old widow (Susan Virginia "Suckey" Burton Nunnally) taken on December 29, 1845 in Clarke County GA, when she applied for a Revolutionary War Soldiers Widows Pension we gain several additional clues about the military service of John Nunnally. Her declaration states that John claimed to Suckey that he was at the Battle of Monmouth New Jersey, (June 28, 1778), as well as other skirmishes near Amboy and Brunswick, NJ. In following the movements of Continental Army after leaving Valley Forge on June 19th 1778 we learn that Washington was in pursuit of the British who had evacuated Philadelphia and were heading for NY. Suckey states that John was in the Company of Captain Fanleroy until he was killed. General Washington several days after the Battle of Monmouth, dated Brunswic, NJ 4 Jul 1778 writes in a letter to Governor Patrick Henry, of VA, "Capt. Fauntleroy of the 5th was unfortunately killed by a random cannon ball." Another source claims that at Monmouth as the heat of the day was so intense, Captain Fauntleroy had stopped at a water well to take some drink. Sitting upon his horse as he waited his turn in line, a cannon ball stuck him in the hip and ended his life. The above information squarely places John Nunnally at the battle on of Monmouth and with the 5th.A pension application of a Josiah Bird states that Captain Henry Fauntleroy commanded the 10th Company of the 5th Virginia and also notes that Fauntleroy was killed at Monmouth. Suckey also claimed that John served under Colonel Parker's Regiment, (until when Colonel Parker was killed). Perhaps John Nunnally thought Colonel Parker was dead, when in actuality, Colonel Josiah Parker resigned on July 12th and was replaced by Colonel Abraham Buford.
The Valley Forge Muhlenberg's Brigade Marker lists the 1st Regiment under the command of Infantry Colonel Richard Parker, and the 5th Regiment Virginia Infantry under Colonel Abraham Buford. Additional Historical Data from the Valley Forge web site offers the following of the particular monument,(Description: Granite with bronze plaque, 6' x 4' x 2 ').Brigade Marker Inscription - Muhlenberg's Brigade Continental Army - Valley Forge, December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778.Greene's Division, Major General Nathaniel Greene, Muhlenberg's Brigade, Brigadier General J. Peter Muhlenberg Commanding. "German Regiment" Pennsylvania Line Lieut. Col. Lewis Weltner (raised July 12, 1776 - mustered out January 1781 ). 1st Regiment Virginia Infantry Colonel Richard Parker 5th Regiment Virginia Infantry Colonel Abraham Buford 9th Regiment Virginia Infantry Liet. Col. Burgess Ball 13th Regiment Virginia Infantry Virginia State Regiment of Infantry Col. George Gibson.With respect to the particular monument, General J Peter Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania commanded a brigade in General Greene's Division, made up exclusively of regiments from Virginia, with the exception on the "German Regiment."Composed of Pennsylvania German rank and file. Another source states: From a History of the 5th Virginia Regiment: During the winter of 1777 - 1778, the Fifth Virginia continued to be part of Muhlenberg's Brigade and encamped with the rest of the Continental Line at Valley Forge.
Suckey claims that John Nunnally was a commissary, or assistant. That would fit the situation and the times as Major General Nathaniel Greene (who was over Brig. General Muhlenberg) was charged by General Washington in obtaining supplies for the winter quarters at Valley Forge. Teams of Continental Troops scattered out from Valley Forge to obtain supplies to support their winter quarters. Twenty year old private John Nunnally would have been a logical choice to work as an assistant to the commissary especially as he could read and write.
On June 19, 1778, four months after his enlistment, John Nunnally marched away from Valley Forge with the Continental Army in pursuit of the British who were moving toward New York. Washington's troops emerged to pursue and successfully fight Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton's British Army at the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey. Of some significance here is that Monmouth was one of the nine battles that George Washington personally participated in.Historians have captured his movements charging up and down the ranks, rallying the Continentals to advance.Suckey states that John claimed he was involved in skirmishes with the enemy near Amboy and Brunswick. General Washington's Headquarters were located in Brunswick after the battle of Monmouth.Maybe our John Nunnally was protecting the headquarters?
Following operations in the Northern Colonies, the Virginia troops were ordered south to join General Lincoln in defense of the Southern Colonies. Perhaps this would be John's first trip south beyond Virginia. In the reorganization of the Virginia Line in May 1779, the Fifth Regiment became part of General William Woodford's Brigade.
Regarding the notation for John Nunnally at Valley Forge for April 1778, under enoculation, "One of Washington's major worries was an outbreak of small pox. Inoculation was still relatively new and controversial, but the General was a firm believer in the procedure. The winter before at Morristown, NJ, he ordered inoculation for all those who had not already had the disease. A survey at Valley Forge showed many vulnerable soldiers. Some 3,000 to 4,000 men were vaccinated."
The death of Colonel Parker: We have a Josiah Parker and a Richard Parker. Colonel Josiah Parker of the 5th resigned on July 12, 1778, it's possible he had been wounded in the battle as his resignation took place within two weeks of the battle.Several pension applications include recollections of the young soldiers joining Parker's Regiment under the command of a Colonel Josiah Parker of the 5th Virginia. Several accounts according to the statements of surviving members of the other Colonel Parker's Regiment indicate that Colonel Richard Parker was killed by enemy canon fire near Charleston in April 1780. This event would have been nearly two years after the battle of Monmouth and a full two years and two months after John Nunnally first enlisted with the Continental Army.On May 12, 1780 General Lee surrendered his 5000 troops at Charleston SC, to General Clinton in what was considered a significant American defeat. Clearly, John would have related to his wife Suckey if he had been captured.I suspect that by this time, (April or May 1780) our John Nunnally would have completed his two-year term of service and had gone home to Virginia.
Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2003
Robert W. Klebs
Bibliography:The Fifth Virginia Regiment: updated 03/14/02
© 2002 John Stanfield II, All rights reserved
Historic Valley Forge:(locate the searchable Muster Roll)
The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799.John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor Volume 12, p. 159-160
Use searchable index: Capt. Fauntleroy http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/
Military Service of John Nunnally, R. S.Source National Archives with copy to Robert W. Klebs, May 2003, personal papers."Sworn deposition of Susan Virginia "Suckey" Burton Nunnally, at Clarke County Court, Clarke County, GA. 29 December, 1845."