Although Staunton escaped the ravages of the Revolutionary War — no battles were fought here and the town was generally considered a safe haven — it did provide large quantities of men for the war effort. One of these was a young man who led a company of Augusta County riflemen in two of the war’s bloodiest battles.
James Tate was not a native of Augusta County. He was born about 1742 in Pennsylvania and came to Virginia with his parents and four brothers while still a boy. He grew up in the vicinity of present-day Greenville and attended Augusta Academy, the forerunner to Liberty Hall and, ultimately, Washington and Lee University. While much of his early life is lost to history, we do know that as a young man he fought Indians on the frontier with local militias, that he married Sarah Tate and had five children with her, and that he was an elder in Bethel Presbyterian Church. At the outset of the American Revolution, he again served as a militiaman and, by 1780, had risen to the rank of captain… read on!