McCULLOUGH, James, was born in the southwestern portion of Chester County, now known as the township of Lower Oxford, in the year 1758. At the age of eighteen years he entered the Revolutionary army as a private soldier, and his first march was under Col. Anthony Wayne to the Canadian frontier, early in 1776. In August of that year his name appears in the regimental orders as a sergeant in the company of Capt. James Taylor, of Wayne's battalion, at Ticonderoga. Soon after this he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, in which capacity he served until some short time after the taking of Stony Point. When the day was lost at the battle of Brandywine, he and his comrades were driven in their retreat through a buckwheat field, and as he arrived at the fence on the farthest side of the field he stopped a moment. Seeing the rails being shattered with balls, and being nearly exhausted he sat down on a large stone, wishing a ball might strike him; but, being encouraged by a friend, he rallied again, and made good his escape.
At the time of Gen. Grey's exploit of the "Paoli massacre," Lieut. McCullough was sleeping in his tent when the murderous attack was made, and not taking time to put on his clothes, gathered them up in one hand, and with his sword in the other fought his way through the enemy until he arrived at a baggage-wagon, where he halted to assist the teamster, and together they succeeded in taking the wagon with them.
In the battle of Germantown he had a narrow escape. A cannon-ball passed so near his right side under his arm as to carry away a portion of his clothing, and seriously damaged his ribs on that side. He fell, and was supposed to be killed, but after some time revived, and was taken to his father's residence, where he remained until he was able to resume his place in the army.
At the taking of Stony Point, Lieut. McCullough was a participant in that
brilliant affair. In arranging the preliminaries of the attack, it was
ordered that the forlorn hope should be led by a lieutenant, and as a
dispute arose among the lieutenants about that honor, Gen. Wayne directed
the applicants for the command to cast lots, on which mcCullough was
unsuccessful. He resolved, however, to have a hand in the matter; he
volunteered as a private, carrying a weapon called a spontoon, and was one
of the two foremost in that silent attack. Having passed the sentinels,
they pushed along a narrow passage, and were nearly upon the enemy before
being discovered, when a rush forward brought McCullough in contact with a
man just about to put a match to a cannon stationed so as to sweep the
passage through which the assailants entered. In this encounter he killed the match-man, and then commenced the deadly struggle. This was the only engagement in which McCullough knew he had taken life. Soon after the capture of Stony Point, Lieut. McCullough was promoted to a captaincy, in which capacity he continued until his death, near Charleston, S.C., in 1783, having served as a faithful soldier and patriot throughout the Revolutionary contest.
His nephew, William McCullough, Esq., now of West Chester, writes of him as follows:
"I heard a member of his command tell my father that in the spring
of 1777, at a review of the troops, at which the wives of Gens. Washington and
Lee were present, Washington called out two officers, each six feet high,
and placed a ramrod on their heads, and called upon my uncle to jump over
it, which he did without touching it. This uncle's sword and fixings cost
my grandfather forty pounds in gold. I have had that sword in my hands,
but other relatives claim it and keep it."