Skip to main content

Collection George Washington Papers

Series 6, Military Papers, 1755-1798

A miscellaneous collection of twenty-six volumes dating from the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the Quasi-War with France.

A miscellaneous collection of twenty-six volumes concerning the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the American Revolution (1775-1783), and the undeclared, largely unrealized Quasi-War with France (1798-1800), for which the United States began mobilizing an army with George Washington as commander. Only two of these volumes, a 1755 orderly book Washington kept for General Edward Braddock during the French and Indian War and annotated later (A1), and a 1756 Virginia militia memorandum book (A2), also from the French and Indian War, are in Washington's hand. The rest were acquired by him in the course of his military duties. Series 6 is divided into three subseries, A, B, and C.

Among these are a few items of particular interest. These include two notebooks (A7 and A8) containing notes made at interrogations of soldiers who deserted from the British army in and around New York City in 1782 and 1783, probably in the hand of Washington's aide Tench Tilghman. Also notable is a group of six British orderly books that were captured by Americans during the Revolutionary War (Subseries 6B). Volume C1 includes a diary recording the observations of an unknown British officer, April - September, 1777, at the battles of Bound Brook and Brandywine and at the British capture of Philadelphia. Volume C5, also kept by an unknown officer, most likely American, contains copies of letters exchanged by American general Benjamin Lincoln and British general Henry Clinton as they negotiated the terms of the American surrender of Charleston in April - May, 1780. Drafts of the articles of capitulation are also included.

Subseries 6A, French and Indian War and the American Revolution, 1755-1783

  • A1.  General Edward Braddock, Orderly Book, February 26 - June 17, 1755
    Kept by George Washington as colonel and aide-de-camp of General Braddock during their expedition against the French at the start of the French and Indian War. In Washington's hand. Notes at the beginning were added by Washington later. Published in Major General Edward Braddock's Orderly Books from February 26 to June 17, 1755, from the Originals in the Congressional Library. Cumberland, MD: Will H. Lowdermilk, 1878. Online at: http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009579635 External
  • A2.  Virginia Militia Memorandum Book, April - May, 1756
    In George Washington's hand, with later annotations by him. Published in The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series Vol. 3 ed. W.W. Abbot (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1984), memoranda published individually by date. 
  • A3.  Colonel John Forbes, Orderly book, September - November, 1758
    John Forbes (1707-1759) was a British officer who served with Washington during the French and Indian War.
  • A4. List of Continental Army Officers Discharged by George Washington, September, 1775 - August, 1776
    Presumably kept by one of Washington's Revolutionary War aides-de-camp. At the end is a list of commissions granted to Daniel Box, John Trumbull, Samuel [Brawer], and Alexander Scammell. Also, miscellaneous memoranda, one of which concerns Sir William Johnson, the British superintendent of Indian affairs based in New York, who died just as the Revolutionary War began. The note reads: "Sir Wm Johnson died about last August – probably wd have been on side of ministry." Johnson died July 11, 1774.
  • A5. Continental Army, Commissioned Field Officers, List, January 1, 1776
  • A6.  List of Continental Army Officers by State, 1778-1783
  • A7. British Deserters, April 15 - December 12, 1782
    Names of deserters from the British army in and around occupied New York City, including German mercenaries and American loyalists, with notes taken at their interrogations. These tell where the deserters were from, their regiments, the circumstances of their desertions, and their observations from behind British lines. Probably in the hand of Washington's aide Tench Tilghman.
  • A8. British Deserters, December 21, 1782 - April 4, 1783
    See A7.

Subseries 6B, Captured British Orderly Books, 1777-1778

  • B1.  Captured British Orderly Book, 40th and 46th Regiments, April 20 - August 28, 1777
    Found by Brigadier General Caesar Rodney, who sent it to Washington. It contains orders of British General William Howe. See: Caesar Rodney to George Washington, September 21, 1777 Transcript online at http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-11-02-0291 External.
  • B2.  Captured British Army Orderly Book, Captain James Wilson, 49th Regiment, June 25 - September 10, 1777
  • B3. Captured British Army Orderly Book, 64th Light Infantry, September 14 - October 3, 1777
  • B4. Captured British Army Orderly Book, Brigade of Guards, January 29 - August 10, 1778
  • B5. Captured British Army Orderly Book, June 1 - 27, 1778
  • B6. Captured British Army Orderly Book, August 4 - October 13, 1778

Subseries 6C, Miscellaneous Military Records, 1769-1798

  • C1. Captured British Officer's Accounts Ledger, 1769-1771, 1774, and Journal, 1777
    A volume in two parts, kept by an unknown British officer. The first part consists of accounts, May, 1769 - May, 1771 and June 1774 documenting purchases from Boston merchants and tradespeople. The second part, April - September, 1777, is a journal with the writer's observations at the Battle of Bound Brook, New Jersey on April 13, the Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania on September 11, and the British capture of Philadelphia on September 26.
  • C2. John McAlister, Assistant Commissary, Records, 1777-1779, and Letterbook, 1781-1782
    McAlister's monthly records of provisions issued at Yorktown, Virginia, November, 1777 - July, 1779. The copies of letters, 1781-1782, appear to document his Baltimore business.
  • C3. John McAlister, Assistant Commissary, Provision Returns, October 27, 1777 - July 29, 1778
    Daily accounts of provisions issued at Yorktown, Virginia. Includes an index
  • C4.  John McAlister, Assistant Commissary, Provision Returns, 1777 - 1779
    Daily accounts of provisions issued at Yorktown, Virginia.
  • C5. Troop Returns, Second Virginia Regiment, 1779; Siege of Charleston, copies of correspondence and drafts of the Articles of Capitulation, 1780; notes on military strategy, n.d.; Charleston purchases, 1781
    This volume in an unknown hand was used for several purposes. It begins with tables of troop returns for the 2nd Virginia Regiment, March, 1779. These are followed by what appear to be extracts copied from a book of military strategy. Starting in the center of the book are copies of letters exchanged between American general Benjamin Lincoln and British general Henry Clinton, after the British attack on Charleston, South Carolina, as they negotiated the terms of the American surrender, with drafts of the articles of capitulation, April 10 - May 11, 1780. At the end of the volume is a record of purchases of tea, sugar, soap, stockings, and other personal and household supplies, in Charleston, October and November, 1781.
  • C6.  John Smith, 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment, Army Enlistment Record, June 14, 1778
    Three pages recording when John Smith enlisted and what arms and clothing he was issued. At the bottom of the third page is a note instructing: "to be continued in this manner." These pages may constitute a model for a soldier to follow, rather than a record of a soldier named John Smith.
  • C7. Timothy Pickering, Return of all Public Property Belonging to the Quartermaster General's Department from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania and with the Main Army, submitted by Quartermaster-General Timothy Pickering to George Washington, April 1, 1782.
  • C8. Proceedings of the Court Martial of Captain Richard Lippincott, New York, May 3 - June 22, 1782.
    This volume was sent by Guy Carleton, British Commander-in-Chief of North America, to George Washington on August 13, 1782. Lippincott was a New Jersey loyalist who in April, 1782, hanged an American captain, Joshua Huddy. Washington threatened to choose a British prisoner by lot, and hang him in retaliation if Lippincott was not punished. The unfortunate winner of this lottery was Charles Asgill, a British officer who had been captured at Yorktown. The British court-martialed Lippincott, and he was acquitted. Washington then referred the matter to Congress, which freed Asgill on November 7, 1782. On November 13, Washington wrote Asgill, enclosing a copy of the act of Congress that freed him.
  • C9.  Rules and Regulations for the Formations, Field-Exercise, and Movements of His Majesty's Forces. War-Office, printed and sold by J. Walter at Homer's Head, Charing Cross. [London, June 1, 1792]. 
    An inscription on the title page indicates that this book belonged to George Izard (1776-1828). Izard was the son of Alice Delancey Izard and South Carolina senator Ralph Izard. After returning from France to the United States in 1798 from studying at a military academy in Metz, George Izard became a military engineer, serving in Charleston during the Quasi-War with France. See: Alice Izard to George Washington, June 25, 1798.
  • C10. Light Infantry Exercise, as Ordered in his Majesty's Regulations for the Movement of the Troops. Printed for the War-Office by T. Egerton at the Military Library, near Whitehall, [London], 1797.
  • C11. James Simons. A New Principle of Tactics Practised by the Armies of the Republic of France: Illustrated and Recommended to be Practised by the Regular and Militia Armies of the United States. Charleston: From the Press of Timothy and Mason, 1797.
    Three copies of a pamphlet that was dedicated by the author to George Washington.
  • C12. [James McHenry]. Rules and Regulations Respecting the Recruiting Service, By John Adams, President of the United States. [1798]
    A pamphlet prepared by James McHenry, secretary of war in the administration of President John Adams. It was sent to Washington by McHenry with a letter of August 25, 1798. For detailed information about this pamphlet see Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961-1987), 22:51-52n6.
 Back to top