John Eager Howard, an American revolutionary soldier, born in Baltimore co., Md., June 4, 1752, died Oct, 12, 1827. In 1776 he commanded a company in the flying camp under Gen. Mercer, which took part in the battle of White Plains. Upon the disbanding of his corps in 1776, he was commissioned major in the 4th Maryland regiment of the line, with which he took part in the battles of German-town and Monmouth. In 1780, as lieutenant colonel of the 5th Maryland regiment, he fought at Camden under Gates (Aug. 16), and in the latter part of the year joined the army under Greene. In the battle of Cowpens, Jan. 17, 1781, he displayed great gallantry, and the bayonet charge of the Maryland troops under his command secured victory to the Americans. At one period of the day he held in his hands the swords of seven officers of the 71 st British regiment who had surrendered to him. This was said to have been the first occasion in the war on which the bayonet was effectively used by the American troops. For his services in this battle Col. Howard received from congress a silver medal. He fought at Guilford Court House (March 15), materially aiding Greene in effecting his retreat, and again at Hobkirk's Hill (April 25). After the latter battle he succeeded to the command of the 2d Maryland regiment.
At Eutaw Springs (Sept. 8) his troops were so cut up that the command was reduced to Col. Howard, a single commissioned officer, and 30 men. With this small force he was returning to the charge when he was severely wounded. He was governor of Maryland from 1789 to 1792, United States senator from 1796 to 1803, and in 1798 was selected by Washington, in anticipation of war with France, for one of his brigadier generals. During the panic in Baltimore subsequent to the capture of Washington by the British troops in 1814, he was one of the most earnest opponents of the capitulation.