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B. Whitney travel diary, 1816

1 volume

This diary (4"x5.75", 105 pages) contains a traveler's impressions while visiting Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., from November 9, 1816-November 26, 1816.

This diary (4" x 5.75", 105 pages) contains a traveler's impressions while visiting Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., from November 9, 1816-November 26, 1816.

Whitney began his travels in New York City on November 9, when he embarked for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After remaining at Philadelphia for several days, he traveled to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Following a brief return to Baltimore, he set out for New York, where he arrived on November 26. Throughout his travels, done primarily by steamboat and stage, Whitney noted the quality of his accommodations, both in the major cities and in smaller towns. He wrote more detailed descriptions of his main destinations and of his activities, which included visits to famous locations such as the White House, United States Capitol, and Fort McHenry. While in Washington, D.C., Whitney attended a session of Congress. In addition to sightseeing, he took an interest in mechanical processes, and described visits to a cannon foundry and two glassworks, among other excursions.


Frederick and Frank Hewitt letters, 1863-1865

16 items

This collection contains 15 letters that Fred Hewitt wrote to his family and friends while serving in the 5th New York Heavy Artillery Regiment during the Civil War, as well as 1 letter written by his brother Frank, who was in the same regiment. Fred Hewitt discussed several aspects of his service in army camps in Maryland and Virginia.

This collection contains 15 letters that Frederick K. Hewitt ("Fred") wrote to his family and friends while serving in the 5th New York Heavy Artillery Regiment during the Civil War, as well as 1 undated letter written by his brother Frank, who was in the same regiment. The envelopes are addressed to Marion Hewitt and "Mayne" Hewitt of Horseheads, New York, and to Mrs. Albert Fields of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Fred Hewitt wrote letters home from March 29, 1863-July 4, 1865. Though he was primarily stationed at Camp Hill in Harper's Ferry, Virginia, he also wrote from several Maryland locations, including Fort McHenry. His letter of August 7, 1864, is dated from a hospital in Frederick, Maryland. Hewitt wrote about other soldiers and officers in his regiment, desertions and soldiers declining to reenlist, a local smallpox epidemic, loneliness in camp, and other aspects of military life. He sometimes provided news of and expressed concern for his younger brother, Frank. Some of his letters mention picket duty and the possibility of being called into battle. One letter recounts the story of his lieutenant, Disosway, who was taken prisoner (November 17, 1864). Hewitt's final letter, dated July 4, 1865, concerns life in New York City. Frank Hewitt's undated letter to his sister also concerns aspects of military life.


Henry Burbeck papers, 1735, 1775-1866 (majority within 1802-1813)

3 linear feet

The Henry Burbeck papers consist of military and personal correspondence of Brigadier General Henry Burbeck, a career artillery officer in the United States Army (1775-1784, 1786-1815). The papers include Burbeck's incoming correspondence; drafts of outgoing letters; and returns, muster rolls, and other items submitted to Burbeck by officers under his command. The collection is particularly strong in its documentation of the administration and development of the artillery branch of the United States Army in the decade leading up to the War of 1812.

The Henry Burbeck papers (approximately 2,300 items) consist of military and personal correspondence of Brigadier General Henry Burbeck, a career artillery officer in the United States army (1775-1784, 1786-1815). The papers include Burbeck's incoming correspondence (approx. 1,350 items), drafts of outgoing letters (approx. 360 items), returns and muster rolls submitted to Burbeck by officers under his command (approx. 190 items), an orderly book, manuscript maps (10 items), and other financial and military papers. The collection is particularly strong in documenting the administration and development of the artillery branch of the United States Army in the decade leading up to the outbreak of the War of 1812.

The Correspondence and Documents series (approximately 2,220 items) contains Burbeck’s incoming and outgoing correspondence with military officers, army contractors, politicians, and other officials. Frequent correspondents represented in the collection include Secretary of War Henry Dearborn; as well as artillery officers Amos Stoddard, Moses Porter, Richard Whiley, George Armistead, James House, Nehemiah Freeman; and many others. Over seventy incoming letters are addressed to Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, which were then forwarded to Burbeck. The series includes returns, muster rolls, inventories, receipts, General Orders, instructions, memorandums, courts-martial documents, contracts, oaths of allegiance, and other miscellaneous items.

The bulk of the manuscripts in this series reveal practical day to day concerns of U.S. Army artillery officers, such as recruitment of men, desertions, provisions, payments, and exercises and drills. A frequent topic of concern was the recruitment and provisioning of musicians. Over 10 letters and documents, for example, relate to Francesco Masi, an Italian musician who served under Captain Nehemiah Freeman at Fort Independence in Boston harbor. Additional regular subjects include the planning and construction of artillery and shot, and the construction of coastal and internal fortifications. Henry Burbeck and other officers provided detailed reports on the forts occupied and constructed by American troops. Examples include: Fort Hale (October 24, 1811), Fort Trumbull (Oct 25, 1811), Fort Eustis (September 11, 1810), Castle Williams (October 1810), Fort Independence (October 5, 1811), Fort Niagara (September 29, 1808), Fort Detroit (November 5, 1808), Fort Mifflin (November 17, 1811), Newport, Rhode Island (October 25, 1811), Fort Norfolk and Fort Nelson (November 4, 1811), and Fort Powhatan (December 14, 1811).

Many letters are concerned with the design and testing of guns, shot, and gun-carriages. These subjects are especially prevalent in correspondence between Burbeck and contractors Jacob Eustis and Henry Foxall; and correspondence between Burbeck, Lieutenant Samuel Perkins, and Captain George Bomford, head of the United States Arsenal at New York. The collection's correspondence is focused almost exclusively on military affairs, with only a small number of letters related to Burbeck’s personal affairs. One example is twelve letters between Burbeck and Elisha Sigourney, an associate in Boston, concerning financial matters.

Selected items of note include:
  • Marriage certificate dated February 27, 1790, for Henry Burbeck and Abigail Webb for their wedding on February 25, 1790.
  • Magret Dowland ALS dated March 2, 1803. An enlisted man’s wife asked for back pay owed to her for working as Matron of the Hospital.
  • A copy of instructions given by Burbeck to Captain John Whistler dated July 13, 1803, in which he gave Whistler instructions to establish Fort Dearborn.
  • Simon Levy ALS dated April 12, 1805. Levy, the first Jewish and second ever graduate of West Point, asked to be transferred for health reasons.
  • Return J. Meigs, Sr. ALS dated January 1, 1807. Meigs wrote concerning settler and Native American relations in Tennessee.
  • Samuel Dyson ALS dated August 10, 1807. Dyson wrote that he had received news of an imminent Native American attack on Detroit.
  • Draft from Henry Burbeck dated November 1808. Burbeck wrote to John Walbach complaining of being sent to Detroit.
  • Satterlee Clark ALS dated November 2, 1811. Clark gave a detailed description (5 pages) of a fight between a sergeant and an artificer on the wharf in Annapolis.
  • Draft from Henry Burbeck dated February 8-9, 1812. On the back of this draft, Burbeck wrote to an unnamed correspondent giving his feelings on how women should sit for their portrait.

The Revolutionary War Reminiscences series (11 items) contains draft copies of letters written by Burbeck in the later years of his life, in which he described his service in the American Revolution. He focused particularly on his memories of the evacuation of New York in September 1776. Of particular note is one draft (December 24, 1847) in which Burbeck wrote in detail about the changes in uniform and appearance of American officers after the arrival of Baron Von Steuben. At least one of the drafts was intended for Charles Davies of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.

The Orderly Book series (1 item) contains a 114-page bound volume dating from January 2, 1784, to May 16, 1784. This volume respects day to day activities of the First American Regiment, a unit of the Continental Army organized at West Point in the months following the ratification of the Treaty of Paris (1783). Most of the entries regard daily duty assignments, courts-martial proceedings, and promotions. The orderly book concludes weeks before the disbandment of the regiment.

The Maps series (10 items) is made up primarily of manuscript maps of fortifications dating from 1790 to 1811. One item of note is the 1790 map of Fort St. Tammany given to Burbeck by Surgeon's Mate Nathan Hayward. Burbeck personally oversaw the construction of Fort St. Tammany, and this item contains a detailed depiction of the garrison, complete with an American flag. Please see the "Separated Items" section of the finding aid below for a complete list of the maps present in the Henry Burbeck papers.

The Printed Materials series (58 items) is comprised of printed circulars issued by the United States Government and Army, blank enlistment forms, and personal materials collected by and about Henry Burbeck (including newspaper articles and other published items). A copy of the Second Congress's 1791Act for Making Further and More Effectual Provision for the Protection of the Frontier of the United States is housed in the Oversize Printed Materials folder. A small number of bound items include a copy of Andre; a Tragedy in Five Acts (1798), and 19th century booklets on military and artillery tactics. Two copies of an engraved portrait of Henry Burbeck, by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin are also present.

In addition to this finding aid, the Clements Library has created three other research aids:


Pulteney Malcolm papers, 1812-1837 (majority within 1814-1817)

46 items

The Pulteney Malcolm papers contain correspondence and logbooks related to the Royal Navy service of Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm. The correspondence is composed primarily of letters Malcolm wrote home to his wife and sisters, while he was stationed in America during the War of 1812. The logbooks contain records of his service in America, in the Napoleonic wars, and at St. Helena, where he was in charge of the blockade of the island during Napoleon’s exile.

The Pulteney Malcolm papers contain 46 items relating to the service of British admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm, including 43 letters, 3 logbooks bound together in one volume, Malcolm’s service statement, and a miscellaneous document with descriptions of the British attempt to take New Orleans. Most of the items date from 1814-1817.

The correspondence series primarily consists of letters Malcolm wrote to his wife Clementina (and a few to his sisters) from 1814 to 1815. At the beginning of this period, Malcolm was stationed with his fleet at Bordeaux, during the immediate aftermath of Napoleon’s initial abdication and exile. In his letters, he discussed the end of the war with the French, his opinions of the city, major events, and important people. He wrote about his attempts to pacify his captains, who were angry about discovering their assignment to America by reading about it in the newspapers and by hearing about it from other officers (Letters #4 and #5 [May 1814]). By June 1814, Malcolm and his flagship, the Royal Oak, had set out for America, where they would provide naval support for the British forces. His letters from this period document major events from the last part of the war, including the capture and burning of Washington, the Battles of Baltimore and New Orleans, and the peace negotiations. His letters also document his opinions of fellow officers, including Admiral Alexander Cochrane; his desire for peace and to return home; and his views on America. While sailing from Bermuda to the United States, Malcolm wrote: “the Americans will be inclined to Peace, but there is a set of turbulent men amongst them, that will not listen to reason. I believe that a Republick to be great must like the Romans be always at War in order to find employ for the disquiet spirits” (Letter #19, 3 August [1814]). The last letter from this period is from 1815, written onboard the Royal Oak as Malcolm sailed home from America. During the voyage Malcolm learned that Napoleon had just returned from exile on Elba and was once again in France.

The three logbooks in the collection are bound together into one volume. The first logbook, kept from June 1, 1814-May 28, 1816 on the H.M.S. Royal Oak, includes accounts of the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, and provides a daily record of naval support for the British army during the Battle of New Orleans. The second logbook, kept from June 13-July 25, 1815 on the H.M.S. Tartarus, documents the period Malcolm spent commanding a squadron in the North Sea, while giving naval support to the Duke of Wellington before Napoleon’s final defeat. The final logbook, from the H.M.S. Newcastle, March 28, 1815-August 16, 1817, deals primarily with the blockade of St. Helena, during Napoleon’s exile to that island. The volume also contains two watercolor drawings, two pen and ink drawings, a pencil sketch, five charts, two plans and four maps. Maps within the collection include several maps of the Chesapeake Bay region, as well as two maps of St. Helena. A map of the island of St. Michael, and a second of the American coastline are housed separately within the Map Division.

Other documents include an 1812 supply order from Rear Admiral George Cockburn to Captain Ross of the H.M.S. Marlborough; an incomplete document entitled “Chapter 21” that concerns the British attempt to capture New Orleans; an 1830 letter from Malcolm to Secretary to the Admiralty John W. Croker, in which Malcolm addressed the situation, pay, and unemployment of secretaries to admirals; and a service statement for Malcolm, which details his entire career in the Royal Navy from 1778 to 1837, including ranks, dates, ships, and notes on actions.