(1754–94) Revolutionary War army officer and diplomat. A native of Boston, Shaw joined the local militia during the siege of Boston (1775); that December he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Continental Artillery. In 1780 he became captain of the 3rd Artillery. He commanded at Fort Washington in 1776 but was relieved shortly before the British took the fort. From 1779 to 1783 he was an aide-de-camp to Gen. Henry Knox, chief of the Continental Artillery. Primarily a staff officer, he was present at a number of important battles, including Trenton (1776), Monmouth (1777), and Yorktown (1781). After the war, he sailed on the ship, the Empress of China, that opened up the China trade; from 1786 to 1789 he was consul at Canton. He returned to the United States in 1792 but sailed again for China when he was reappointed by President George Washington.
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.