Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Timothy Bedel Papers and Andrew Park Pamphlet Finding Aid

The Swain Report, Number 18

The Timothy Bedel Papers and Andrew Park Pamphlet

by David Swain


In the wilds of the Canadian woods, near the St. Laurence River, the fledgling American Continental army, having taken possession of Montreal and seeking to subdue Quebec, sustained a small but psychologically painful defeat in May 1776. The Cedars was a Continental military outpost between Montreal and Quebec. When a small British force surprised its defenders, the officer in charge surrendered his force of over 400 men. Timothy Bedel, commander of the post’s force, was absent at the time but was court-martialed anyway. Andrew Parke was a lieutenant in the British contingent that “conquered” the post.

This report summarizes two related microfilm collections in the David Library. One is the Timothy Bedel Papers, which include little about The Cedars disaster itself but much on other aspects of Bedel’s extraordinary life, as well as the lives of certain of his correspondents. The second is a political pamphlet published in 1777, written partly by Andrew Parke, that provides information and perspective on both The Cedars encounter leading to the American surrender and the subsequent exchange of prisoners.