From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.
May 2.—Among the slain, near the Crooked Billet, yesterday, fell the gallant Captain John Downey, late schoolmaster in Philadelphia, whose worth entitles him to a place in the annals of America. He took an active and early part in our struggles for liberty. He went as a volunteer to Jersey last winter was a year, where he behaved gallantly in the battle of Trenton and Princeton. He being chosen captain of a company of Philadelphia militia, served his tour of duty two months last summer at Billingsport, when on account of his superior knowledge in mathematics, the executive council employed him to make a military survey of the river Delaware, which he performed with great exactness; since which time he has performed many very important services to his country, a love to which prompted him to attempt any thing which promised its welfare. He lately acted as an assistant-commissary, and in this capacity was with our brave militia in the attack yesterday. From his known readiness to fight and bleed for his country, it is more than probable that when the attack began he attempted to join his countrymen, when he was shot through the shoulder, and that he lay in his blood till the enemy returned, when they despatched him in a cruel manner; for his body was found with one of his hands almost cut off, his head slashed in several places, his skull cut through, his brains coming out at his nose and scattered all around. He was an enlightened patriot, an affectionate friend, a gallant soldier, a fond husband, and an indulgent parent. He had no inheritance to leave, as his little property was left in Philadelphia; but he has left a sorrowful widow and five helpless children in very indigent circumstances. They are worthy of the notice of the charitable.1
1 New York Journal, June 1.