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Cash Pallentine (also spelled Palatine) was among hundreds of African Americans who served in Connecticut regiments during the Revolution. He enlisted in 1777, serving until the end of the war. In 1783, with peace on the horizon, General George Washington began issuing discharges. Pallentine’s discharge, signed by Washington, states he served continuously and faithfully for six years, which included the winter at Valley Forge, the Battle of Monmouth, and time in the Hudson Valley.

As noted at the bottom of the discharge, Pallentine was awarded the “Badge of Merit,” also known as the “Badge of Distinction.” General Washington created this award on August 7, 1782, to honor soldiers and non-commissioned officers of the Continental Army who served for more than three years “with bravery, fidelity and good conduct…” In recognition of his award, Pallentine was entitled to wear a double chevron (representing his six years of service) on his left uniform sleeve. This is not to be confused with the Badge of Military Merit, a purple, heart-shaped cloth badge that inspired the later Purple Heart military decoration, which was awarded for a “singularly meritorious action.”

Originally from Lebanon, Connecticut, Pallentine returned there after the war, married Rose Cosman in 1784, and began a family. He died in 1791, leaving behind this discharge as proof of his long and exemplary service.

Artifact Details

  • Discharge
    United States of America
    June 9, 1783
    Paper, Ink
    Museum of the American Revolution, acquired with the support of Phil Reese, Tim Collins, Michael LoPresti, Paul Lockhart, David Adler, Tim Gillespie, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, Jim Scott, and other generous members of the Museum of the American Revolution’s Collections Society

Image 092320 16x9 Continental Army Discharge Collection 1783 Militarydischarge

Jeremiah McGowan's Continental Army Discharge

Private Jeremiah McGowan of the 2nd New York Regiment received this discharge from the Continental Army signed by General George Washington.
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Image 120220 Collections Continental Army Descriptive List

Continental Army Descriptive List

This “descriptive list” for a Continental Army company of the 7th Massachusetts Regiment was taken at West Point, New York, in 1782.
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Image 092320 16x9 William Trego March Valley Forge Painting Collection

March to Valley Forge

This iconic depiction of the march to Valley Forge by William B. T. Trego was painted in Philadelphia and exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1883.
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