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African American and African Diaspora collection, 1729-1970 (majority within 1781-1865)

0.75 linear feet

The African American and African Diaspora Collection is comprised largely of individual letters, documents, and other manuscript items relating to slavery, abolition movements, and aspects of African American life, largely dating between 1781 and 1865.

The African American and African Diaspora Collection is comprised largely of individual letters, documents, and other manuscript items relating to slavery, abolition movements, and aspects of African American life, largely dating between 1781 and 1865. Topics addressed in the letters and documents include the experiences and work of enslaved persons in the North and South; the buying and selling of enslaved men, women, and children; participation in the French and Indian War, American Revolution, and Civil War of African descended persons; abolitionists and abolition societies; the American Colonization Society; the lives of formerly enslaved persons; African American education; and many other subjects. For details on each document, see the inventory located under "Detailed Box and Folder Listing"


Charles Cornwallis orderly book, 1780-1781

1 volume

The Charles Cornwallis orderly book (148 pages), contains orders from Cornwallis' moving headquarters in the southern theater of the American Revolutionary War. These document the British march across North Carolina, the aftermath of the Guilford Courthouse campaign, and Cornwallis' campaign in Virginia. The book contains lists of promotions and reports of courts martial, as well as general marching orders and information on supplies, transportation, and the sick and wounded.

The Charles Cornwallis orderly book (148 pages), written by an anonymous British officer, contains orders from a moving headquarters in the southern theater of the American Revolutionary War, covering November 10, 1780 through July 13, 1781. These document the British march across North Carolina, the aftermath of the Guilford Courthouse campaign, and Cornwallis' campaign in Virginia. The book contains lists of promotions and reports of courts martial, as well as general marching orders and information on supplies, transportation, and the sick and wounded.

The orderly book's entries are not ordered strictly chronologically. The bulk of the orders are from Cornwallis' army in North Carolina and Virginia; these entries run from February 8-July 13, 1781. However, orders from New York, dating from November 10, 1780-February 8, 1781, are periodically copied out of sequence. The Box and Folder Listing provides the page numbers of the different blocks of entries.

Many of Cornwallis' orders concern disciplinary matters such as courts martial and guidelines for enforcing authority. For example, the order of May 11, 1781, states: "Lord Cornwallis has had several Complaints of Soldiers going out of camp in the night & plundering the Inhabitants of the Country. Commanding Officers of Corps are desired to use every means to prevent such Shameful Irregularities in future" (p.69). Other Cornwallis orders praise the army for bravery on the battlefield, and send news to the troops. For example, the May 8, 1781, entry states that: "Lord Cornwallis has the pleasure to inform the Army that he has the greatest Reason to believe that Lord Rawdon has gained a Signal Victory over the Rebel Army near Camden" (p.68). To celebrate, he ordered a double allowance of rum for the troops. The orders also reveal information on other important military subjects, such as the use of horses and the practice of recruiting loyalists (see the subject index). Of note are several entries on African Americans' role in the British side of the conflict.

Among other entry types, the book contains 81 marching orders. Roughly half specify the order in which participating units would be marching; the other half simply mention that battery horses and wagons were to be loaded and troops ready to march the following morning. Two directly state that the regiments would not be marching. These orders typically specify the daily parole and countersign, and the location of the army. Entries in the orderly book terminate before Cornwallis's defeat and surrender at Yorktown in October 1781.

The volume documents the promotions of 32 British regiments between 1779 and 1781. The book lists promotions by regiment (see the General Subject Index), and pages 148 to 152 contain lists of promotions by rank. The book documents the promotions of the following regiments:

  • 7th foot
  • 17th foot
  • 17th light dragoons
  • 7th regiment
  • 9th regiment
  • 16th regiment
  • 17th regiment
  • 21st regiment
  • 22nd regiment
  • 23rd regiment
  • 24th regiment
  • 33rd regiment
  • 37th regiment
  • 38th regiment
  • 42nd regiment
  • 43rd regiment
  • 44th regiment
  • 54th regiment
  • 57th regiment
  • 60th regiment/2nd battalion
  • 60th regiment/3rd battalion
  • 60th regiment/4th battalion
  • 62nd regiment
  • 63rd regiment
  • 64th regiment
  • 70th regiment
  • 71st regiment
  • 71st regiment/2nd battalion
  • 76th regiment
  • 80th regiment
  • 82nd regiment
  • 84th regiment


Frederick Mackenzie papers, 1760-1783

1.5 linear feet

The Frederick Mackenzie papers contain military documents and several bound volumes relating to numerous aspects of British army administration in the American Revolutionary War. These include returns of casualties, provisions, vacancies, ordnance, and various regiments, as well as scattered orders and memoranda on army policies.

The Frederick Mackenzie papers comprise 503 items: 492 documents, 4 letters, 6 record and orderly books, and a translated book. These are arranged into two series: Documents and Letters and Bound Volumes.

The Documents and Letters series contains a wide variety of materials relating to numerous aspects of British army administration, maintained by Mackenzie in his role as deputy adjutant general. This includes many types of returns, reports, warrants, orders and military instructions, memoranda on various army policies, and abstracts. Although the series spans 1760-1783, the bulk of material is concentrated around 1780-1782, the period during which Mackenzie served under Commander-in-Chief Sir Henry Clinton. The most frequent document type is the return; Mackenzie collected returns for a huge variety of military activities, and they provide ample quantitative information on the distribution and condition of troops, regiments, prisoners of war, stores and provisions, and ordnance. Of particular note are casualty returns, generally broken down by regiment and rank, for the battles of Saratoga (after October 7, 1777), Rhode Island (August 29, 1778), Stony Point (August 13, 1779), Paulus Hook (August 19, 1779), Camden (August 18, 1780), and Guilford Courthouse (March 15, 1781). Other types of returns record information on embarkations, garrisons, accoutrements lost in battle, the strength of regiments, Hessian officers and enlisted men, invalids, horses, wagons, foraging, vacancies, hospital staff, the women and children who traveled and were fed by the army, escaped prisoners, and transports.

The series also includes scattered orders and instructions, including embarkation orders for the Royal Highland Emigrants from Halifax, Nova Scotia (May 18, 1776), orders to officers commanding detachments on board transports (May 15, 1780), a proposed order concerning exchanges of prisoners (July 15, 1781), and a set of instructions for the Inspector of Refugees with information on who could draw rations and the consequences of abusing the army's generosity toward refugees ([n.d.], Box 2, Folder 27).

A few reports and affidavits provide qualitative information on the British during the Revolutionary War.

Several items are of particular interest:
  • An affidavit by Christopher Benson, which describes the destruction caused by anti-Tory mobs in New York City (June 16, 1776)
  • A report on the loss of the transport ship Martha, which sank after striking rocks near Cape Sable, Nova Scotia. The ship's master "believed every soul onboard to have perished…" after he left in a lifeboat (October 10, 1783)
  • A recommendation that "Thirty Negroes from the Pioneer Company [Black Pioneers], may be ordered to be drafted, and to join the three Brigades of Engineers, in order to assist the Carpenters in carrying Materials" (August 19, 1776)

The Bound Volumes series contains seven items, which are lettered A-G and cover the years 1775 to ca. 1812.

Bound volumes:
  • Volume A comprises 135 pages, spanning June 29, 1756-October 6, 1762. It contains copies of 27 sets of articles of capitulation negotiated during the Seven Years' War, including the surrender of forts William Henry, Niagara, and Royal Martinico, the Saxon and Hanoverian armies, and the inhabitants of Guadaloupe and Martinico.
  • Volume B contains approximately 95 pages of regulations and orders concerning the 23rd Regiment of Foot or Royal Welch Fusiliers. The volume covers the years 1755-1764, and conveys policies concerning military rank, provisions, prices of commissions, the compiling of returns, and other administrative matters. Also included are marching orders for the 23rd Regiment, information on their summer cantonment for the year 1768, and lists of necessary camp supplies.
  • Volume C contains 49 pages of military documents in two sections. On pages 1-13 are several returns of ordnance and provisions for October 1782, providing information on stores of wine, howitzers, mortars, and other items. The remainder of the volume contains scattered orders for troops stationed in Boston for May-August 1775 and troop returns for the same year.
  • Volume D contains 139 pages of copied proclamations and regulations issued by various high-ranking British military officers, including Thomas Gage, Richard Howe, William Phillips, Henry Clinton, Charles Cornwallis, James Robertson, Robert Pigot, Marriot Arbuthnot, and Valentine Jones. Though not chronologically ordered, the proclamations cover 1775-1780, and concern numerous British army policies. Gage gave the earliest proclamation, dated June 12, 1775 (pp. 1-7), declaring martial law in Massachusetts and promising pardon to all those who laid down their arms, with the notable exception of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. A proclamation by Clinton of June 1, 1780 (pp. 45-48) regards the pardoning of those who took an oath of allegiance to the Crown. A declaration by Major-General Robertson, dated January 27, 1777 (pp. 78-79) notes the pillaging of the Kings College Library and the Society Library in New York City and demands the return of stolen books. In the back of the book are several pen and ink drawings of the locations of British and Hessian regiments near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 4, August 28, and September 1, 1777.
  • Volume E contains 40 pages of extracts of general orders given by Sir Henry Clinton between May 11 and November 2, 1778. These concern a wide variety of topics, such as rations, appointments, embarkations, and consequences for deserters.
  • Volume F is an orderly book containing the orders of Sir Guy Carleton, commander-in-chief of the British forces. The book covers May 8, 1782, through December 2, 1783, and comprises 292 orders over 240 pages; it opens with Clinton's return to England and offer of congratulations to Carleton, the new commander-in-chief. Many of the orders concern new appointments, the departure of soldiers for England, and the exchange of prisoners of war. Others focus on reigning in army expenditures and preventing corruption. One such entry, dated July 30, 1782, states that, "No person who by his office shall become accountable for the expenditure of Public money is to sit as a Member of the Board for the Examination of Public Accounts." Another order specifies that officers must list the names of servants for whom they draw rations (August 23, 1782).
  • Volume G contains a manuscript entitled Elements of Field Fortification, which is Mackenzie's translated copy of one of General Gaspard Noizet-Saint-Paul's published work, Élémens de Fortifications. The work was translated sometime after its publication in 1812.

George Wray papers, 1770-1848

16 volumes (4 linear feet)

The George Wray papers contain orders, receipts, correspondence, documents, muster rolls, returns, and several bound volumes relating to Wray's work as commissary of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, primarily during the Revolutionary War.

The George Wray papers contain 11 volumes of correspondence and documents, 3 journals of stores, a volume of muster rolls, an orderly book, a volume of land titles, a trigonometry notebook, two maps, and a blank book. The materials span 1765 to 1848, with the bulk concentrated around 1770-1782.

The Correspondence and Documents series contains 11 volumes of military documents and business correspondence related to Wray's positions with the British Army, first as the Royal Regiment of Artillery's clerk of stores, and later its commissary of stores. The series spans 1765 to 1794 (bulk 1770 to 1783) and contains approximately three linear feet of material. The letters and documents provide ample information about the Royal Artillery during the Revolutionary War, as well as the stores disbursed by the commissary. The materials consist of about 500 orders to issue ordnance signed by Major Peter Traille, who was commander of the Royal Regiment of Artillery in North America; an approximately equal number of receipts for the supplies issued and goods delivered into the regimental storehouse; dozens of letters concerning supplies written between Wray, merchants, and Army officers; approximately 50 muster rolls of companies within the Royal Artillery; and returns of artificers, laborers, and African Americans employed by the regiment, as well as many returns documenting the issuance of weapons, tools, and other items.

The first two volumes in the collection concern Wray's activities as clerk of stores for the Royal Artillery, a position which he held until December 1775; more generally, they pertain to the business of the regiment. Included are muster rolls for various companies of the Royal Regiment of Artillery commanded by David Standish, John Williamson, Anthony Farrington, William Martin, William Johnston, Thomas Davies, and George Anderson. These provide the names of each company's members, as well as their designations as commissioned and non-commissioned officers, bombardiers, gunners, and matrosses. Also present are numerous receipts for items purchased from merchants by the regiment, including cloth (which was often purchased from women--see March 3, 1775 for an example), wood, stones, wheels, shingles, and other items. Many documents also record the ordnance bought for the regiment, such as gunpowder, great guns, small arms, musket balls, and chests for storage (filed under March 31, 1775).

After Wray's promotion to commissary of stores in December of 1775, the documents become more diverse and include a wide variety of returns and other document types. They take account of such matters as the ordnance and stores destroyed and left at Boston (March 12, 1776); the movement of supplies from Boston to Newport, Rhode Island, in 1777; and deliveries made by ordnance transport ships. Major John Grant of the Royal Artillery wrote much of the early correspondence of the period. In one letter, he criticized Wray for drawing on the wrong accounts to cover subsistence pay to a detachment of the regiment (September 13, 1777). In another, he commented on the scarcity of cash in New York and instructed Wray on what to pay for rebel arms brought in by American deserters (February 14, 1779). Wray's incoming correspondence sheds light on the problems and challenges faced by the regiment's commissary, as well as the specifics of the commissary's functioning. Volumes 4 through 9 of the series primarily cover Wray's administration of the commissary while stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, from December 1779 to December 1782. Included are near-daily orders for the issuance of ordnance and stores by Peter Traille, which provide a huge volume of detail on the supplies required by the artillery, as well as records of the items brought into the commissary, including brass ordnance and carriages captured at the Battle of Eutaw Springs (September 18, 1781) and at the Battle of Combahee Ferry (September 10, 1782). Also of interest are numerous inventories of "spare" supplies held by the commissary, a few additional muster rolls for Royal Artillery companies, and other documents relating to the administration of the department.

The Military Journals, Notebooks, and Other Bound Items series contains nine items within five volumes, spanning 1778-1848. Of particular note is a 52-page volume of muster rolls of the civil branch of the artillery in Charleston, which covers 1781 to 1783 (located in Volume 14). In addition to providing names, pay, and remarks on the various white laborers and tradesmen brought in to support the artillery, it also gives basic information on both enslaved and free African Americans, whom it refers to as "Negro servants." The volume classifies them by trade (including carpenters, smiths, "wheelers," sawyers, and general laborers), provides their names and the identities of their masters when applicable, and gives places of residence. Also present is a list of African Americans who acted as servants to particular officers in the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

Another item of interest is an orderly book kept by Wray while in Charleston, South Carolina, 1780-1781 (Volume 13). The book contains orders by Major General Alexander Leslie, Major Peter Traille, and Wray himself, given at the general, regimental, and company level. Wray's orders primarily concern the distribution and transportation of ordnance and supplies, as well as associated logistical issues. Other orders document courts martial, discipline among the enlisted men, personnel matters, and the duties of men in the company. An order of June 9, 1780, offers a reward for information about soldiers who have committed "depredations" against "the unprotected property of the Subjects." An August 23, 1780, order discusses a "parade" of "all the Negroes for Muster." Many later orders in the book specify a training regimen for new recruits.

Other items in the series mainly record stores issued and received by Wray at Charleston. These include an expense book for stores issued at Charleston in 1781 and 1782, a journal of stores received at Charleston in 1780-1782, and two journals of stores issued by Wray in 1778-1779 and1782-1783, with associated receipts and accounts laid into the volume. The latest item in the collection is an 1848 volume of land titles for property in New York, kept by a descendant, John Wray. The volume features surveys of the Wray property, as well as a map entitled, "Survey And Partition of the South Half of Lot No. 93 In the Artillery Patent In the Town of Fort Ann In Washington County And State of New York." A 1784 notebook on trigonometry rounds out this series.

The Map series contains a single map, drawn by Mathew Carey in 1794, and entitled A General Atlas for the Present War: Containing Six Maps And One Chart ... Including Every Place In Europe And the West-Indies, In Which the War Has Been Carried On. This atlas is housed in the Map Division.


Henry Clinton papers, 1736-1850

304 volumes (90 linear feet)

The Henry Clinton papers contain the correspondence, records, and maps of Henry Clinton, who served under Thomas Gage and William Howe between 1775 and 1778, and was commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America from 1778 to 1782. Although the bulk of the papers cover his tenure as commander-in-chief, with particular attention to engagements in New York and New Jersey and the sieges of Charleston and Yorktown, they also document Clinton's efforts to restore his reputation after the war, and to some extent, his personal life. The Harriot Clinton and Elizabeth Carter diaries are described in a separate finding aid.

Series I: Chronological Materials

The Chronological Materials series (Volumes 1-220) comprises approximately 10,500 items, or over 75% of the collection. Covering the years 1736-1850, it contains a huge variety of document types, including incoming correspondence, Clinton's retained copies of outgoing letters, military documents, memoranda, financial accounts, printed matter, journals, meeting minutes, poetry, and newspaper clippings. The bulk of the material (approximately 7,500 items) concentrates on the years 1778-1782, when Clinton was commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, although the postwar years are also well represented. All items in this series are arranged chronologically. This series has been indexed for General Subjects and Names and Geographic Subjects.

Pre-Revolutionary War: 1736-1774

Volumes 1-9 contain Clinton's pre-Revolutionary War papers, which cover the years 1736-1774, and primarily document his early career, personal life, and finances. Frequent subjects include Clinton's service in the Seven Years War in Europe; routine military matters related to the 12th Regiment of Foot, of which Clinton was colonel; Clinton's property in New York and Connecticut and his attempts to sell it; occasional personal and family matters; and Clinton's political career, including a few references to his service in Parliament. Clinton's most frequent correspondents during this period include William Phillips; William Picton; Henry Lloyd; Henry Fiennes Clinton, 2nd duke of Newcastle; and John Jervis, 1st earl of St. Vincent.

Of particular interest are:
  • Clinton's description of his being wounded and his gallantry at the Battle of Friedberg (August 30, 1761)
  • An interview between William Goldthwait and an unnamed Mataugwesauwack Indian, describing the location of the Mataugwesauwacks and other tribes of the upper Midwest and central Canada and comparing Mataugwesauwack and Penobscot women (July 1771)
  • A letter describing the relationship between Mary Dunckerley and King George II, which produced an illegitimate son, Thomas Dunckerley (June 9, 1766)
  • A letter to Clinton from his close confidant, William Phillips, shortly after the death of Clinton's wife, Harriot, which urges him to "throw off" his "unseemly way of thinking" and not to "lose the tribute due her virtues in an inexprimable maze of error." The papers contain only a handful of references to Clinton's wife and his grief over losing her ([1772] 8:43)

Clinton's service under Gage and Howe: May 1775- February 1778

Volumes 9-31 cover the period during which Clinton served in the Revolutionary War as third in command under General Thomas Gage (through September 26, 1775), and subsequently second in command under General William Howe (through February 4, 1778).

The primary writers and recipients of letters are Clinton's colleagues in North America, in particular, Thomas Gage, William Howe, Richard Howe, John Burgoyne, Charles Cornwallis, John Vaughan, Peter Parker, Thomas Graves, William Phillips, John Jervis, Hugh Percy, Charles Grey, and William Erskine. Correspondence also sheds light on Clinton's relationships with politicians, friends, and family members in England (primarily Lord Germain; Clinton's sisters-in-law, Elizabeth and Martha Carter; and Henry Fiennes Clinton, Duke of Newcastle, and his son,Thomas Pelham-Clinton, Lord Lincoln). The letters concern a variety of topics, including military strategy, troop movements, provisioning, battles, disagreements between military officers, reports of intelligence, encounters with Native Americans, attitudes of locals toward the British, and Clinton's grievances.

Several topics are covered in particular depth during this period. The Siege of Boston is well documented for the time between Clinton's arrival in Boston in May 1775 and his departure for the Carolinas in January 1776. Of particular interest are Lieutenant William Sutherland's account of the Battles of Lexington and Concord (April 26, 1775), various tactical discussions and firsthand reports of the Battle of Bunker Hill, and Clinton's strategy notes and records of conversations with Howe during the late autumn of 1775. After Clinton's arrival in South Carolina, the papers shift focus to possible methods of seizing Charleston, the relationships between the British Army and the Cherokee and Creek tribes, British failure at the Battle of Sullivan's Island and culpability in the matter, and the subsequent deterioration of the working relationship between Clinton and Admiral Sir Peter Parker.

Materials representing the latter half of 1776 record Clinton's return to New York, and the planning and administration of the New York and New Jersey campaign, with multiple accounts of the battles of Long Island, Trenton, and White Plains, and Clinton's continuing defense of his actions at Sullivan's Island. Also documented is the crumbling relationship between Clinton and Howe (particularly after the missed opportunities to deliver a decisive blow to the Americans in New York), and many aspects of the Saratoga campaign, including accounts of battles, Burgoyne's perspective on the events, and negotiations concerning the resulting “Convention Army” of captured British soldiers, including Clinton's plans to rescue them (January 18, 1778).

Other items of note include:
  • Intelligence report concerning the condition of the American Army one day before they left Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania, for Valley Forge, which describes the poor condition of the Army and their many shortages, and notes their use of leather from cartridge boxes for makeshift shoes (December 18, 1777)
  • A diary of an unknown officer in the 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants) for May-July 1776 (Volume 16) describing daily life and travels of the regiment
  • John Burgoyne's defense of his actions at Saratoga (October 20, 1777)

Clinton as Commander-in-Chief: February 1778-May 1782

The volume of papers increases greatly beginning in February 1778, upon General William Howe's resignation and the promotion of Clinton to commander-in-chief. Clinton's four-year tenure in this role is documented in Volumes 32-194, which contain chronologically arranged correspondence, military documents, reports, memoranda, newspaper clippings, printed matter, and a few journals and pieces of ephemera, which, taken together, document myriad aspects of the British prosecution of the war.

Clinton's correspondence during this period is quite varied and includes official, semi-official, and personal letters to him from a wide range of military and civilian writers both in North America and England, as well as Clinton's retained copies of many of his outgoing letters. Clinton's most frequent correspondents during his tenure as commander-in-chief were other British military officers, with whom he discussed many aspects of war planning and administration, particularly army and naval strategy; the logistics of transporting, provisioning, arming, and detaching troops; expenditures; army policies; and military engagements. The collection contains significant correspondence to and from the following officers (as well as many others) during this period: Charles Cornwallis, Marriot Arbuthnot, Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Leslie Alexander, Oliver DeLancey, Patrick Ferguson, John André, William Dalrymple, Frederick Haldimand, Guy Carleton, and John Graves Simcoe.

Although the series contains references to most battles and a number of lesser- known skirmishes between 1778-1782, some receive special attention in the correspondence, particularly the battles of Monmouth, Stony Point, Camden, King's Mountain, and Guilford Courthouse, and the sieges of Charleston and Yorktown. Letters reveal British planning, troop movements, strategy debates, reactions to successes and failures, casualties, and in the case of the two sieges, negotiations with the enemy forces.

Clinton's correspondence with the Cabinet of Great Britain, particularly with Lord George Germain, the Secretary of State for the American Department, is also an excellent source of information on high-level army strategy. The collection preserves both sides of the Clinton-Germain correspondence and documents Germain's numerous recommendations, many of which Clinton obeyed only reluctantly. Clinton's letters to Germain are an excellent source of information on his intentions in prosecuting the war, as well as his justifications of his actions in North America. They are also notable for their enclosures and attachments, which often contain first-hand accounts of battles or pressing issues from officers under Clinton.

Included are numerous intelligence reports, particularly on New York, New Jersey, and South Carolina. These reports provide information on the location, number, and condition of enemy troops, as well as their defenses, weaponry, and provisions. As the war drew on, Clinton and the British Army relied more heavily on deserters' depositions as a source of information on the Continental and French troops; these increased over time, with some providing basic information on American enlisted men. Also well-documented is the Arnold-André affair, regarding Benedict Arnold's defection to the British, promising them control of West Point, and John André's subsequent capture and execution. The series contains letters, documents, and drafts relating to the negotiations between André and Arnold under Clinton's authorization, including some of the letters in cipher from Arnold, under various pseudonyms, addressed to “John Anderson,” André's alias. Also present are letters concerning André's expedition and capture, attempts to exchange him, his farewell letter to Clinton (September 29, 1780), and Clinton's bleak account of André's fate and the progress of the war, written to his sisters-in-law on October 4, 1780.

Other notable topics covered during Clinton's tenure as commander-in-chief, 1778-1782, include:
  • Clinton's ongoing conflicts with Cornwallis, Arbuthnot, and other officers
  • The debate over the British evacuation of Rhode Island in the fall of 1779
  • Unsuccessful attempts by Clinton to capitalize on Continental Army mutinies, especially among the New Jersey and Pennsylvania lines
  • Military handling of plundering and profiteering and the role of the Commissary of Captures
  • Negotiations concerning the status of present-day Vermont
  • Clinton's frequently-expressed desire to resign
  • British protection of Loyalists and efforts to organize them

In addition, the series contains hundreds of military documents, including returns, memorials, depositions, reports, and minutes. The returns are particularly diverse in the types of information and statistics that they record, including casualties in battles, invalids in hospitals in New York and South Carolina, provisions, ordnance, supplies (including several returns of “intrenchment tools” at Yorktown), prisoners of war, and regular prisoners and their crimes. The returns also convey otherwise obscure statistics on African Americans, women, and children; officers frequently took a count of the number of women receiving provisions in New York or the number of African Americans assisting in various construction projects. The Subject and Name Index is particularly useful for locating a variety of returns and references to these groups in the collection.

Clinton's post-resignation papers (1782-1850)

The Henry Clinton papers also contain a considerable volume letters and documents which postdate his resignation as commander-in-chief. These are located in volumes 194-220, and span 1782-1850, with the bulk covering the years between 1782 and 1794. These materials focus primarily on Clinton's postwar career, including his pamphlet war with Cornwallis, his defense of his expenditures after a damaging report on them by the Commissioners of Public Accounts, his desire for the governorship of Gibraltar, and his interest in world politics, including the French Revolution, Third Mysore War, and the Northwest Indian War. Clinton's primary correspondents during this period are Peter Russell, the Duke of Newcastle, and Lord Lincoln (later the 3rd Duke of Newcastle). Of particular interest are Clinton's many defenses of his actions leading up to Yorktown, his discussions of the creation of the Commissary of Captures, and his expenditures as commander-in-chief.

Series II: Undated Materials

The Undated Materials series (Volumes 221-232) contains approximately 600 items, spanning roughly 1750-1795, with the bulk created during and slightly after the Revolutionary War. The documents, which are arranged alphabetically by author, are mainly correspondence and military items, but also include intelligence reports, memoranda, receipts, and other miscellaneous items. The series also contains numerous memorials requesting promotions or financial assistance from the British military.

The most frequent contributor to the series is Clinton himself, who produced the majority of the items in Volumes 222-226, or approximately 225 items. Clinton's letters and documents concern a wide variety of topics, including military strategy, his relationships with other military officers (particularly Cornwallis), defenses of his actions and expenditures during the war, his property in North America, and his health.

Other items of note include:
  • John André's autograph poem "The Frantick Lover" (221:3b)
  • An anonymous piece of pro-British propaganda entitled "Queries to a Renegado Rebel" (221:11)
  • Affidavit concerning burning of homes of Loyalists led by Brigadier-General Griffith Rutherford in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (221:23)
  • Draft of a speech by Clinton to the House of Commons defending his wartime actions (223:2)
  • Postwar letter from Henry Clinton to Oliver Delancey concerning the plight of African American veterans of the Revolutionary War "deprived of their lands" in Nova Scotia (224:25)
  • Numerous proposals and plans, including Hector McAlester's plan for carrying out the war in Virginia (229:27)

Series III: Letter books and Other Correspondence

The Letter books and Other Correspondence series contains both bound and unbound correspondence which supplements and sometimes duplicates the correspondence found in the Chronological series. Contained in this series are the following 12 volumes: 235, 254-263, and 275.

Volume 235 spans 1793-1794 and contains 123 letters, primarily to Clinton from his sons, William Henry Clinton and Henry Clinton, both of whom served in the Flanders Campaign during the French Revolution. Letters mainly concern the younger Clintons' careers and family news. Clinton's youngest daughter, Harriot, wrote or co-wrote several of the letters.

Volume 254 contains 45 letters from Clinton to William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, spanning 1778-1789. Of these, Clinton wrote 31 during the period of the Revolutionary War, giving updates on the war effort and on mutual friends and acquaintances. The 14 post-war letters mainly concern Clinton's grievances over his reputation and defenses of his actions during the war, and mention his attempts to rehabilitate his reputation. Also included in the volume are typescripts for the letters. Gloucester's responses can be found in the Chronological series.

Volumes 255-256 contain five letter books spanning May 1778-May 1782 and comprising Clinton's letters to George Germain, Secretary of State. These bring together the letters from Clinton to Germain found within the Chronological series and provide Clinton's accounts of battles and engagements and his discussions of strategy during his time as commander-in-chief. In the subsequent volume (257) are two books of letters from Germain to Clinton, as copied by Clinton's secretary. These, too, duplicate the materials in the Chronological series. Likewise, the letter books in volumes 260-263 mainly unite duplicates of letters written by Clinton to Howe, Arbuthnot, Rodney, Graves, Hood, Digby, Phillips, Leslie, Arnold, and Cornwallis.

Volume 258 contains three items: Clinton's letter book of his correspondence to the Treasury (1781-1782), and two books of letters from the Treasury to Clinton, (1778-1782). All three letter books hold material which is not duplicated elsewhere in the collection. John Robinson, Secretary of the Treasury, is Clinton's correspondent throughout the three volumes. Robinson's letters primarily concern military expenditures--particularly those relating to provisioning, the keeping of prisoners, and quartering. Additionally, Robinson frequently requested justification for irregular spending and emphasized his problems in communicating with Clinton concerning these matters. The volume also contains copied meeting minutes of the Treasury Board, which Robinson provided for Clinton's perusal. Clinton's letters to Robinson describe and defend his expenditures, relay information uncovered by investigations into public accounts, and discuss and evaluate memorials addressed to him.

Volume 275 contains a letter book used first by John André (primarily in June-September 1780), and subsequently by Frederick Mackenzie and Oliver Delancey (September 1780-January 1781). The letter book contains letters that André wrote to various military officers in his capacity as deputy adjutant general, including Wilhelm von Knyphausen, Peter Russell, James Robertson, and Alexander Leslie. The letters primarily concern matters related to the adjutant general corps, including leaves of absence, embarkations, and attachments and detachments of troops.

Series IV: Clinton's Notebooks and Manuscript Writings

The Clinton Notebooks and Manuscript Writings series covers volumes 236-242, 271, and 278-284, and 286, and contains both bound and unbound writings by Clinton on a variety of subjects, including his actions at Sullivan's Island and Yorktown, the culpability of Lord Charles Cornwallis in the British defeat, his wartime expenditures and the Commissioners of Public Accounts, the Seven Years War, post-Revolution foreign affairs, and his relationship with his mistress, Mary Baddeley.

Volumes 236-237 contain 164 documents written by Clinton concerning the Commissioners of Public Accounts. Though undated, Clinton likely wrote them circa 1782-1790; many are fragments and re-workings of a few themes. In these documents, Clinton repeatedly defended himself and justifies his wartime expenditures in response to criticisms made against him by the Commissioners of Public Accounts in their seventh report; the Commissioners criticized Clinton's expenditures and praised Cornwallis. Clinton addressed such topics as discrepancies between his expenditures as commander-in-chief and those of William Howe, Cornwallis' expenditures in the Southern District, and his perceived unfairness of investigations into military spending.

Volumes 238-240 contain a total of 264 documents, primarily written by Clinton about Cornwallis' actions during the war. Though only a few of the documents are dated, all appear to have been written after Clinton's return to England in 1782. Those that are dated range from 1783-1791, with most between 1786 and 1788. In these writings, Clinton discussed Cornwallis' actions leading up to the defeat at Yorktown, and repeatedly found reasons to blame him for that failure and the loss of the war. Frequent topics include Clinton's disapproval of Cornwallis' march into Virginia, Patrick Ferguson's defeat at King's Mountain, British intentions regarding Charleston, the establishment of a post at Yorktown, and the actions and intentions of the Royal Navy in the Chesapeake. Many of the documents refer directly to Clinton's Narrative of His Campaigns, Cornwallis' An Answer to that Part of the Narrative of Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton, K.B..., and Clinton's subsequent pamphlet, Observations on Lord Cornwallis' Answer. Supplementing the large volume of Clinton memoranda are several letters of support from unidentified Clinton defenders.

Volumes 241-242 contain miscellaneous memoranda written by Clinton.

Topics include:
  • Loyalist Claims
  • Charleston Prize
  • Commissary of Capture
  • Tactics
  • Rochambeau's Narrative
  • Notes on histories of the war
  • Seven Years' War
  • Gibraltar
  • Benedict Arnold
  • Sullivan's Island Affair
  • Third Anglo-Mysore War
  • Foreign relations with Spain
  • French Revolution
  • Russian affairs

Volume 271 contains miscellaneous notes written by Clinton (ca. 1785) in a book of household inventories kept in the late 1760s and early 1770s. The notes concern his thoughts on Charles Stedman's history of the Revolutionary War, as well as brief notes on wartime expenditures, Charles Cornwallis, and other topics.

Volumes 278-283 relate to Clinton's 1783 book, entitled Narrative of Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton, K.B. relative to his conduct during part of his command of the King's troops in North-America: particularly to that which respects the unfortunate issue of the campaign in 1781. These volumes include his notes, from which he drafted the Narrative (Volume 278), an extract of the work (Volume 279), and a manuscript version of it (Volumes 280-283). Several printed editions of the Narrative are also available (Volumes 294, 295, 303, and 304).

Volume 284 contains 13 notebooks kept by Clinton, spanning approximately 1759 to 1794 with several large gaps.

Notebooks have been assigned letters of the alphabet (A-M), and are arranged alphabetically according to these designations.
  • Notebook A: Notes on Seven Years' War (European theater), including Battle of Prague and Prussian military tactics
  • Notebook B: Clinton's 1771 observations on Gibraltar, where he was second in command of the garrison. He noted the soldiers' love of rum and the poor state of the fort's defenses. For unclear reasons, he wrote some entries in cipher
  • Notebook C, part one: Orders for June 6-July 2, 1759 in Werte, Germany
  • Notebook C, part two: Clinton's journal of the Siege of Boston, which covers August 19-September 29, 1775. In it, Clinton commented frequently on strategy and described his relationships with Thomas Graves and Thomas Gage
  • Notebook D: Undated list of acquaintances and Clinton's accounts with them
  • Notebook E: Memorandum on expenditures for Clinton's daughter, Augusta (1776) and notes on organization and tracking of his correspondence (ca. 1780s)
  • Notebooks F-H, J: Postwar notes defending his actions as commander-in-chief and blaming failures on Cornwallis [n.d.]
  • Notebook I: Clinton's comments on the objectives of the Seven Years' War
  • Notebook K: Clinton's thoughts on the French Revolution (1793)
  • Notebook L: Clinton's memorandum to his sons, in which he described his connection with his longtime mistress, Mary Baddeley, as well as her background and personal qualities, and her husband's complicity in the relationship. Clinton also admitted that he had "many children" with her, and mentioned an illegitimate daughter in Germany and his support of her
  • Notebook M: Miscellaneous notes on promotions and military actions during Seven Years' War in Germany (ca. 1759-1760)

Volume 286 contains two memoranda books, marked A and B. In Book A, Clinton recorded 16 pages of abstracts of letters he received in the autumn of 1777. The abstracts primarily convey intelligence concerning the Hudson Highlands in New York, but also contain several notes on military proposals and information on British troop numbers and positions. Book B contains writings and drafts of letters by Clinton on a number of military strategy and Revolutionary War topics, likely written ca. 1774-1776. Subjects include Clinton's observations of the Russian army, Lord Francis Rawdon's bravery during the Battle of Bunker Hill, commentary on the Siege of Boston, and miscellaneous remarks on military strategy.

Series V: Financial Materials

The Financial Materials series comprises volumes 249-253, and 264. Within Volume 249 are ten account books recording Clinton's personal and household spending for the years 1758, 1765, 1767, 1767-1774, 1773, 1775, 1787, and 1795. Also present is an account book for Isaac Holroyd, a relative of Harriot Carter, covering 1778-1781 and one for Henry Clinton, Jr., spanning 1814-1816. Bound financial accounts for the Clinton family can also be found in Volume 253, which covers 1789-1793. Supplementing these account books are three volumes of the Clinton family's unbound accounts for 1748-1781 (Volume 250), 1783-1805 (Volume 251), and 1782-1790 (Volume 252). A partial record of Clinton's military expenditures while serving as commander-in-chief can be found in Clinton's warrant book, located in Volume 264. The book contains several hundred warrants issued by Clinton from his headquarters in New York between January 5, 1780, and September 5, 1781. Most of the warrants authorize payments for rations and soldiers' salaries. Many more financial records, documenting both Clinton's personal and official expenditures, are located within the Chronological series.

Series VI: Orders, Reports, and Other Military Documents

The Orders, Reports, and Other Military Documents series comprises Volumes 233, 265-268, 272-273, 285, 287, and 289, and supplements the numerous military documents found throughout the Chronological series.

Volume 233 contains 54 undated returns of the Great Britain Army, relating statistics concerning personnel, ships, ordnance, and provisions. Unfortunately, all are undated, but they appear to relate primarily to the Revolutionary War period. Two items are of particular interest for the information they contain on African American regiments: one document records the supplies needed to clothe 500 members of the Black Pioneers Regiment (233:42), while another lists the names of African Americans in "Captain Martin's Company" of the Black Pioneers Regiment.

Volume 265 contains an orderly book for the 38th Regiment of Foot while stationed in New York, 1764-1775, which includes instructions on the distribution of provisions, a prohibition on the taking of boats by officers, and other matters of discipline. An order for May 18, 1775, instructs soldiers on what to do in case of attack by Americans in Boston. Volume 266 contains general orders by Clinton, 1778-1782, primarily concerning promotions, paroles, rulings on courts martial, assignment of recruits, invalids, and troop movements. Volume 267 contains seven volumes.

These include:
  • Reports on the distribution and recapitulation of British troops, 1779-1781
  • The minutes of the British "War Council" (duplicated in the Chronological series), in which Clinton, Robertson, Campbell, Knyphausen, Leslie, and Affleck debated the timing of sending reinforcements to Yorktown in 1781
  • Army promotions, by regiment
  • Lists of quarters occupied by various units and departments of the British Army
  • A copy of an oath of allegiance to the British and lists of names of inhabitants of various townships in the vicinity of New York City
  • Two volumes of information on ports and trading by colony, with notes on smuggling

Volume 268 contains the proceedings of a Board of General Officers at New York, appointed to assess wartime expenditures in late 1781. The report contains information on men, women, and children victualled with various regiments and departments; lists of ships and their masters; and comparative information on expenses between1775 and 1781.

The series also includes two Army lists (Volumes 272-273) that provide the names of general and staff officers for British regiments, Hessian corps, and provincial corps. The 1779 list is printed, and contains annotations by John André, while the 1781 list is a manuscript.

Volume 285 contains three of Clinton's military notebooks recording orders, instructions, tactics, and strategies, and covering Clinton's early military career in the 1740s and 1750s. These notebooks shed light on Clinton's military education and early experiences, and include his "thoughts on modern military authors," extensive rules for officers, several diagrams and drawings of battlefields, and accounts of the movements of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards around Germany during the Seven Years War.

Volume 287 contains three orderly books produced during the 1750s.

These include:
  • Undated orders in French, issued by Louis Georges Érasme de Contades during the Seven Years' War
  • Clinton's orderly book for the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards, of which he was captain (1751-1754)
  • Clinton's orderly book for the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards, 1753-1757

Volume 289 contains documents relating to the Brunswick Corps, 1789-1793, including accounts, returns, and orders. Nearly all are in French.

Series VII: Intelligence

The Intelligence series comprises Volumes 234, 274, 276, and 291 and supplements the large amount of intelligence materials found throughout the Chronological series. Forty-seven intelligence items, comprising both tools and accounts, have been brought together in Volume 234. This includes 37 reports (one with invisible ink on the verso), 5 ciphers, 2 codes, 2 masks (used to reveal hidden messages in letters), and a narrow strip of paper containing intelligence, which could be easily concealed. In addition to providing numerous examples of the information with which the British worked, this volume sheds light on the many varied methods used to convey sensitive and secret reports. Items range in date from 1777-1781, and contain intelligence gathered on the positions of American troops, the location of the French navy, the names of English and Hessian deserters, and of suspected American sympathizers. The documents also reveal information on several spies, including a female agent, whom other spies had "trusted often" (234:27). Other reports provide geographical details on locations such as Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and information on the number and location of enemy ordnance. Several documents refer to Native Americans, including General John Sullivan's attacks on the British-allied Iroquois (234:10).

Volume 274 contains John André's intelligence book for the years 1779-1780, featuring dozens of brief intelligence reports delivered by spies, deserters, and loyalists, and recorded by André. In addition to André's entries in the book, there are several unbound reports in his hand and letters from George Beckwith, James Delancey, and Gabriel George Ludlow, laid into the volume. The entries mainly concern such matters as the location, numbers, weaponry, and provisions of the American forces; they pertain primarily to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The volume ends at July 23, 1780, and makes no mention of the Arnold-André affair.

Also of note are Virginia War Office letter books (Volume 276), which were captured by the British around 1781; they provided intelligence concerning American war efforts in Virginia. The volume contains two letter books, covering 1777-1781. Book I spans October 15, 1777-November 1780, and consists of copies of 28 documents issued by Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, governors of Virginia in 1776-1779 and 1779-1781, respectively. Ten of the items are commissions appointing American representatives to various locations, including the Netherlands, Italy, France, and St. Eustatius. Other items include Jefferson's proclamation regarding land for returning soldiers near the Ohio River (pp. 31-33), articles of agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and a French representative regarding trade between Virginia and France (pp. 34-36), and orders allowing the Commonwealth government to impress various goods for the supplies of the militia (pp. 39, 41-42).

Book II covers November 8, 1779-November 20, 1780, and contains approximately 106 resolutions, statements of approval, and letters. The majority of the resolutions deal with the finances and supplies for the war, with several documents at the end of the letter book addressing the disposition of hospitals. Many of the entries in late 1779 and early 1780 concern the construction of defenses against the British, as well as the maneuvering of supplies and men away from the coast and up the James and York Rivers. All but a few of the documents are dated from the War Office in Williamsburg, then Virginia's capital. The back of the book contains 29 pages of accounts for the War Office, spanning October 7, 1779-January 1781.

Some items of note include:
  • A document stating the duties of the Commissary of Stores and the amounts of rum, coffee, sugar, and tea given to men of specific ranks within the army (November 11, 1779)
  • A document containing specific instructions and preparations for fortifying Virginia against an anticipated winter attack from the British (November 16, 1779)
  • A small chart and prose explanation of the assignment of hospital staff and supplies to various Virginia regiments and the United States Navy (January 28, 1780)

Series VIII: Other Clinton Family Members

The Other Clinton Family Members Materials series series comprises items created by several of Clinton's relatives. Volume 288 contains the military notebook of Clinton's son, William Henry Clinton (1769-1846). William wrote in the book periodically between 1793 and 1801, while he served in several campaigns during the French Revolution as captain and later as lieutenant-colonel of the First Regiment of Foot Guards, and then as aide-de-camp to the Duke of York. The book contains Clinton's account of the Siege of Dunkirk in 1793, as well as lengthy descriptions of the Brittany coast, Île d'Yeu, and Madeira. These give accounts of the geography, infrastructure, agriculture, inhabitants, and governments of these areas. The last three pages of the volume describe a successful experiment to melt ice in the Netherlands.

Also of note are 12 oversize journals kept by Henry Clinton's sister-in-law, Elizabeth Carter (Volume 290). Along with her sister Martha (ca. 1745-1783), Elizabeth Carter (1741-1817) cared for Henry Clinton's children and household after their sister Harriot Clinton's death and during Clinton's tenure in North America. The journals contain nearly 800 pages of entries, covering 1774-1795, and are a rich source of information on the Clintons' and Carters' home life. Elizabeth rarely committed detailed observations to paper, but she was a precise recorder of daily events, especially the movements and activities of various members of the household. In her journals, Carter expressed deep devotion to Clinton's children, and noted milestones like losing teeth and the boys' transition to long pants, as well as details about their health and educational activities. She also kept track of the letters she received from Clinton, whom she frequently called "my dearest Genl." (September 6, 1776), and the family's many social visits, particularly to the Duke of Newcastle. Though Carter lived until 1818, the journal ends the day before Clinton's death, December 23, 1795. Volume 290 also contains the only item in the collection written by Clinton's wife, Harriot--a diary of very short entries noting financial transactions and a few activities for 1767-1772. It includes payments to a nurse and for household items, as well as several references to the Clinton children. The Harriot Clinton and Elizabeth Carter diaries are described in a separate finding aid.

Series IX: Books

The collection contains 14 books and pamphlets, mainly related to Clinton and his colleagues' postwar reputations. See Volumes 291-305 in the box and folder listing for titles.

Series X: Maps

The Maps series contains 380 maps used by Clinton and other British military officers, spanning 1750-1806, with the bulk created during the American Revolution. Of these, 335 are manuscript and 45 are printed; they vary greatly in size, from sketches occupying only six square inches, to larger wall maps covering 6 square feet. Henry Clinton created 22 of the maps and sketches himself; the other most frequently represented cartographers are Claude Joseph Sauthier (10 maps), John Hills (9), Edward Fage (8), John Montresor (8), Joseph F.W. Des Barres (6), Abraham d'Aubant (5), and Patrick Ferguson (5).

Over 300 of the maps depict locations in North America, including their geographic, demographic, and military features. The most common subjects are New York (98 maps), New Jersey (46), Rhode Island (44), South Carolina (27), Virginia (26), Massachusetts (24), North Carolina (11), and Pennsylvania (8). In addition to such features as roads, waterways, towns, and boundaries, many maps show extant military works and proposed locations for forts, works, batteries, and barracks. Others reveal troop movements and formations during battles and sieges, including Saratoga, Monmouth, Camden, Guilford Courthouse, and Yorktown. A few maps also convey information on Native Americans, including the boundaries of Creek land, the locale of the Battle of the Wabash (St. Clair's defeat) in 1791, and the locations of Cherokee villages.

Approximately 75 maps in the collection represent areas outside North America. These include maps associated with various campaigns in the French Revolution, the Third Anglo-Mysore War in India, and the European theater of the Seven Years' War.

For a complete list of the 380 maps in the Henry Clinton papers, search for "Clinton maps" (include the quotes) in the University of Michigan online catalog.

Series XI: Miscellany

The Miscellany series includes Volumes 243-248, containing approximately 735 undated, miscellaneous items. The series covers a range of topics, including postwar defenses of Clinton's actions as commander-in-chief written by Clinton and others, comments on world politics, a few pieces of wartime intelligence, notes on military tactics, and scattered discussion of strategy in North America.

Some highlights include:
  • A manuscript giving details on Fort Putnam and other works near West Point, and a possible plan of assault (243:6)
  • Intelligence from two African Americans, identified as “Murphy & Abraham” (243:24)
  • Descriptions of military maneuvers for training British troops, including rudimentary drawings (246:45-46)

In addition to this finding aid, three other research aids have been created for the Henry Clinton papers: The Subject Index provides access to the large number of people, events, places, and themes represented in the Henry Clinton papers, the Geographic Index catalogs references to specific places, and the Volume Descriptions provide brief overviews of the content of each volume in the collection.

The Manuscripts Division has also created a list of the names of letter-writers in the collection: Henry Clinton Papers Contributor List.


John Polley orderly book, 1775

1 volume

The John Polley orderly book contains orders kept by a Connecticut soldier stationed in Roxbury, Massachusetts, from September 19 to December 31, 1775. Entries consist of brigade orders issued from General Artemas Ward's headquarters and general orders from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The John Polley orderly book (162 pages) contains Continental Army orders kept by a Connecticut soldier stationed in Roxbury, Massachusetts, from September 19 to December 31, 1775. Entries include brigade orders issued from General Artemas Ward's headquarters at Roxbury, and general orders from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Subjects treated are camp conditions, hospitals, pickets and guard duties, construction, courts of inquiry for desertions and other crimes, punishments, provisions and rations, furloughs, and enlistments. Particularly well documented are courts martial under Artemas Ward. Polley's signatures are on page 16, 139, and 158. Besides Ward, other officers mentioned include General Charles Lee and Colonel Ebenezer Learned.

Entries of note:
  • September 22, 1775: Men were whipped and drummed out for disobedience, mutiny, and riot (page 6)
  • September 28, 1775: Inquiry into Dr. Benjamin Church's conduct (pages 22 and 28)
  • October 2, 1775: Order against gambling and "games of chance" (page 31)
  • October 3, 1775: Dr. Isaac Foster became Church's replacement as head of hospitals (page 32)
  • October 17, 1775: Announcement of a public auction for books, furniture, and accoutrements taken from the British (page 50)
  • October 22, 1775: Deputies from the Continental Congress met in Washington with the governors of Connecticut and Rhode Island, the Council of Massachusetts, and the Convention President of New Hampshire, concerning continuing troop levels in the army (page 56)
  • November 5, 1775: Comments on the danger of the "Rediculas and Childish Custom of the burning the Effigy of the Pope…at a time when we are Soliciting and have really obtained [the] friendship and alliance of the people of Canada whom we ought to Consider as Brethren…" (page 72)
  • November 10, 1775: Mention of a skirmish with the enemy at Leechmore's point (page 77)
  • November 12 and December 30, 1775: Discussions of free African Americans wanting to enlist in the Continental Army (pages 81 and 157)
  • November 28, 1775: News that Montreal had fallen to the Continental Army (page 112)
  • November 28, 1775: Order from Washington that forbade officers from "cursing and swearing and all profanity and Drunkenness" (page 114)
  • December 3, 1775: Mass desertion of Connecticut troops
  • Undated: List of the allowance of rations for officers July-December 1775 (page 159)
  • Undated: Holdings of the Brig Nancy coming from London to Boston (page 160)
  • Undated: Fragment of a description of a battle (page 162)

King's American Regiment orderly book, 1776-1777

1 volume

The King's American Regiment orderly book (308 pages) contains the regiment, brigade, and general headquarters orders kept by an anonymous officer in a New York Loyalist unit from December 1776 to November 12, 1777. Entries contain details on the regiment's organization and staffing, recruitment and provisioning, and on troop movements and military engagements.

The King's American Regiment orderly book (308 pages) contains the regiment, brigade, and general headquarter orders kept by an anonymous officer in a New York Loyalist unit from December 1776 to November 1777. Entries consist of details on the regiment's organization and staffing, recruitment and provisioning, promotions and appointments, courts martial and discipline, and on troop movements and military engagements. Headquarters and troop locations include camps in Long Island and in the Hudson River Valley: Flatbush, Jamaica, New Paltz, Oyster Bay, Flushing, Jericho, Kingsbridge, New York City, Turtle Bay, Staten Island, and Verplank's Point. General orders describe troop activities and provide member counts of several other regiments in the area, including the 7th, 26th, 35th, 38th, 52nd, 57th, 63rd, 71st, 2nd Battalion of DeLancey's Brigade, Regiment of Waldick, Prince of Wales Royal American Volunteers, General Tryon's Regiment, and Anthony Brown's Brigade, among others.

Below are some notable entries:
  • March 16, 1777: Dismissal of all "negroes, mollatoes, and other Improper persons who have been admitted into these corps…[and to] prevent such Abuses in the future."
  • July 8, 1777: Appointment of Major General Vaughan as commander of the British troops at Kings Bridge and was ordered to Canada
  • July 10, 1777: Command of New York Island assumed by Lieutenant Henry Clinton
  • August 24, 1777: Description of skirmishes and battles at Valentine's Hill, Satauket, and a surprise rebel invasion of Staten Island, which the 52nd Regiment, the Regiment of Waldick, and provincial corps defeated with "great Slaughter"
  • September 6, 1777: The burial of Ensign McNeil of Colonel Campbell's regiment, and a description of the ceremony
  • September 11, 1777: Incident of seven provincial soldiers who "broke into Abraham Purchases's house, last night about 12 oclock, abused the family, stole some fowls, and a Quantity of Potatoes out of his garden"
  • September 21, 1777: Henry Clinton's orders against plundering civilian houses, and "the money arising from the Sale of Said articles, be transmitted to the Mayor of New York, to be applied to the relief of Poor in the Work house of that City."
  • October 4, 1777: Reference to the Battle of Saratoga "remember that our Brother Soldiers Under the Commander in Chief, and Lieut Genl. Burgoyne, are undergoing the severest fatauges, which a little Exertion on our side may Considerably lighten"

Robert Howe orderly book, 1776-1778

1 volume

The Robert Howe orderly book (181 pages) was kept by an American officer at the headquarters of Major General Robert Howe (1732-1786), of the Continental Army's Southern Department, from June 16, 1776, to July 14, 1778. Included are orders relating to the anticipated British attack on Charleston, South Carolina, in 1776, and to Howe's expedition against the British at St. Augustine, Florida, in June and July 1778.

The Robert Howe orderly book (181 pages) was kept by an American officer at the headquarters of Major General Robert Howe (1732-1786), of the Continental Army's Southern Department, from June 16, 1776, to July 14, 1778. Included are orders relating to the anticipated British attack on Charleston, South Carolina, in 1776, and to Howe's expedition against the British in St. Augustine in June and July 1778. Howe's general orders contain details on troop instructions, promotions, the treatment of prisoners, care for the sick and wounded, troop discipline, troop rations and supplies, and records of courts martial. In addition to orders from General Howe, which comprise the bulk of the entries, are instructions from Major General Charles Lee, resolutions from the Continental Congress, extracts from minutes of the Department of War, and tables accounting for numbers of captains, subalterns, sergeants, and the rank and file in Howe's army.

Below are some notable orders:
  • September 4, 1776: Orders threatening punishment for soldiers who were caught pulling down a house near Sunbury, Georgia (page 25)
  • January 8, 1777: Orders concerning the relaying of orders between officers and their soldiers (page 39)
  • May 8, 1777: Orders forbidding gambling among soldiers as commanded by General George Washington (pages 87-88)
  • November 16, 1777: Orders concerning the appearance of soldiers (clothes and hygiene) (page 81)
  • December 12, 1777: Description of annual supplies for each soldier (one coat, one blanket, one pair of breeches, etc.) (pages 90-91)
  • May 10, 1778: Orders forbidding the use of bayonets as tent stakes (page 133)
  • May 20, 1778: Orders regulating hunting and fishing parties (page 120)
  • June 25, 1778: Marching orders for Howe's forces into East Florida to face the British (page 169)
Below is a list of some of the topics covered:
  • June 21, 1776: Copied extracts from War Office minutes signed by John Adams et. al. (page 17-18)
  • November 29, 1776: Announcement that General Robert Howe and his forces arrived in Savannah, Georgia (page 33)
  • May 26, 1778: Orders concerning the formation of enslaved African Americans into two companies, policies for their well-being (rations, camping conditions, and roll call), and their assignment for road clearing duty (page 148)
  • May 11, 1778: Council of war at Fort Tonyn, presided over by Robert Howe, concerning the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia forces and the campaign against the British in East Florida
  • May 31, 1778: News that France had publicly acknowledged the independence of the United States of America (page 154)

Watkins and Livingston family scrapbook, 1773-1882 (majority within 1773-1839)

94 items (1 volume)

The Watkins and Livingston family scrapbook contains letters between members of the Watkins, Livingston, and Jay families; genealogical data recorded by Lucretia Elizabeth Hamersley Rylance; and miscellaneous drawings and newspaper clippings related to the families.

The Watkins and Livingston family scrapbook includes 94 items relating to the Watkins and Livingston families. Lucretia E. Hamersely Rylance created the scrapbook in 1882 and included family correspondence retrieved from her Aunt Beebee's attic as well as her own genealogical research.

The bulk of the collection consists of 69 letters, with many written between sisters Susan Symmes and Judith Watkins. The letters primarily regard family news and concerns, noting health, marriages, and social visits. Additional topics mentioned include the American Revolution, the death of Governor Dewitt Clinton, the Peggy Eaton scandal, Cherokee removal, the nullification crisis, bank and tariff struggles, the anniversary of Andrew Jackson's Battle of New Orleans, the Panic of 1837, African American servants, Fanny Kemble Butler, and Austrian exile Giovanni Albinola. Letters from John Jay and his descendants are also represented in the collection. With women from prominent families penning many of the letters, the correspondence also highlights women's relationships, reading habits, engagement with financial matters, and occasionally thoughts on political affairs.

The Watkins and Livingston family scrapbook also includes newspaper clippings, a family tree, a cabinet card, a pen and ink drawing of a scene from a fairy tale, and colored pen and ink drawings of family coats of arms. See the Detailed Box and Folder Listing for more information about each item.


William West Medwin memoir and poems, 1830-1833

2 volumes

This 2-volume account (301 pages) consists of William West Medwin's memoirs about his experiences in the Royal Navy and his later travels, as well as poetry that he composed in the early 19th century.

This 2-volume manuscript (301 pages) consists of William West Medwin's memoirs about his experiences in the Royal Navy and his later travels, as well as poetry that he composed in the early 19th century.

Medwin began composing his account in 1830, and dedicated the manuscript to his surviving son. Later pages contain references to dates as late as 1833. The memoir, written on pages 1-214 and 250a-299, chronicles Medwin's experiences from 1799, when he joined the crew of the Mercury, until around 1833, when he was living in his family in London, England. He began with a brief history of his ancestors and an account of his childhood up to his enlistment in the navy. Medwin was a crewman on multiple ships and traveled to North America, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. During the American Revolution, he was stationed in Canada and elsewhere, and after the war helped evacuate Loyalists and African-American soldiers from the newly independent United States.

Medwin's memoirs also reflect his later life, including his residence in North America, where he described the tobacco industry and plantation farming, and his years in France, where he frequently attended theatrical performances. He sometimes commented on local customs, such as the practice of "bundling" in North America (p. 63). Pages 214-248 contain poetry by Medwin; some poems are laid and pinned into the volume. Medwin then resumed his memoir with an account of his life after his return to London and the death of his eldest son. The final pages (pp. 266-299) are comprised of Medwin's philosophical and religious musings.