Tidewater Times November 2021

Page 97

Two Tilghmans: Tench and Bill by A.M. Foley

ter at Valley Forge, Tench chose to serve Washington as a volunteer before finally consenting to appointment as an officer. His f luency in French was especially valuable. When American and French forces trapped the British along lower Chesapeake Bay, compelling Lord Cornwallis’s submission, independence was assured. General Washington chose Tench to convey Cornwallis’s surrender to Congress. Though ill, he could not refuse the honor. In reversal of Paul Revere, Colonel Tilghman sped triumphant

Eastern Shore history abounds with Tilghmans. The patriot Tench Tilghman (1744-1786) was born not far from Tilghman Island. Tench broke early from well-to-do relations who were initially Loyalists. He enlisted when American independence was first declared and ultimately rose to Lieutenant Colonel in the Continental Army, serving throughout the war as an aide to George Washington. (Elitist cousin Peggy, on the other hand, became Mrs. Benedict Arnold, sometimes blamed for his defection.) Through early defeats and win-