John Barnes enlisted first January 26, 1776 into the 6th Virginia Regiment of Infantry for a term of two years. While serving in this capacity, John was involved in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, Mud Island Fort (Fort Mifflin) and “other skirmishes”. The 6th Virginia were attached to General George Washington’s command and were among those crossing the Delaware River where they defeated Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall’s Hessian soldiers at Trenton, New Jersey. At the Valley Forge, Pennsylvania encampment, John re-enlisted December 28, 1777 with the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons for a term of three years. While serving as a Dragoon, John was taken captive. His service coincides with the incident known as “Baylor’s Massacre” where many of the dragoons were killed, wounded or captured, including Colonel Baylor. John said he was taken captive during a deposition years later during application for a pension and he also said that he served out his term and was discharged by William Washington, the commander who took over the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons after Baylor’s capture. Since John served during the time period spanning from before Baylor’s Massacre to a night attack orchestrated by British Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton on April 14, 1780 which resulted in 100 men being captured from the 3rd, it is entirely possible that John was taken captive at either of these events, if not both. Unfortunately, he did not elaborate.
Following the Revolution, John married and then migrated over the Allegheny mountains and settled in Harrison County, Kentucky where he lived out the remainder of his life.