William Butler (colonel)

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Colonel William Butler (died 1789) was a Pennsylvania officer during the American Revolutionary War, known for his leadership in the Battle of Monmouth, the burning of the Indian villages at Unadilla and Oquaga, and in the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition.

Butler's exact year of birth is unknown, but he was probably born in the mid-1740s. His family emigrated from Ireland sometime before 1760 and settled in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. In the late 1760s he worked as a frontier fur trader near Pittsburgh with his brother Richard.

He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army upon the formation of the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment on October 25, 1776. He was retired from the Army on January 1, 1783. He was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati.


Butler was the second of five brothers who served as officers in the American Revolution. The two oldest brothers were born in Ireland. The brothers were, from oldest to youngest:


  • Linn, John Blair. "The Butler Family of the Pennsylvania Line". Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 7 (1883): 1–6.
  • Purcell, L. Edward. Who Was Who in the American Revolution. New York: Facts on File, 1993. ISBN 0-8160-2107-4.