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Thomas Machin (March 20, 1744 – April 3, 1816) was a British-born soldier and construction engineer.

Machin was born in Staffordshire, England, and in his youth was apprenticed to English canal builder James Brindley. After arriving in America he was commissioned a Lieutenant of the artillery and then in July 1776, a captain in Lamb's Artillery in which capacity he served for the duration of the conflict. (The commission, for various reasons was not approved by congress until 1780.) In 1776 he was dispatched by George Washington to the Hudson Highlands to assist in defending the Hudson River and creating emplacements an obstructions in an alongside the river from Fort Montgomery up to Kingston. He was singularly responsible for emplacing the chain at Fort Montgomery prior to the British attack on that post in the fall of 1777. [[1] The Fort Montgomery chain was breached on October 7th, 1777 when the British overran the forts. 'The Great Chain' at West Point, was emplaced by Machin the subsequent year at the direction of then New York Governor, George Clinton. That chain was never breached and remained in place until the end of the war, being rolled up and placed on the bank during the winter months when there was ice in the river. Following his service in the Hudson Valley he was attached to the Sullivan Expedition and was instrumental in the defeat of Joseph Brant's forces at the battle of Newtown. He also participated in the Yorktown Campaign where he won a bet for his commander, Henry Knox. who had made a wager with French General Rochambeau regarding the relative accuracy of French and American Artillery by blowing up a British troop transport. Following the war, after running a mint operation on Orange Lake (near Newburgh), he moved to Montgomery County, New York where he pursued his surveying activities. His son, Thomas Machin Jr. was a Brigadier General in the War of 1812. He died on April 3rd, 1816. He was a member of the Order of Cincinnati. As a civil engineer Machin was conscripted for the planning of the Cape Cod Canal immediately following the siege of Boston and was responsible for damming Lake Otsego to allow James Clinton's army to float down to Tioga along the Mohawk to join with Sullivan in August 1779. im.[2]



  • Donderburg's Pumpkin Vine, Kenneth B. Lifshitz, Heritage Arts, 2011.

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