Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Swain Report Special: War Office 28, Regimental HQ Papers, Part 4

War Office 28, Regimental Headquarters Papers
Swain Report Special, Installment 4

In this latest addition to his continuing series, Library Research Assistant David Swain expands his finding aid for the War Office 28 records to encompass the records of the King's Royal Regiment of New York, one of the premiere Royal Provincial Corps in Canada. David's hard work continues to bring to light important documents that add to our understanding of the British war effort from Canada, which might otherwise be overlooked. For clarification on the different Loyalist Regiment establishments in Canada at this time, please see Todd W. Braisted's entry from the beginning of April.


British War Office 28—American Headquarters Records
Annotated List of Contents—Part 5 (begin Reel 3)
(end Reel 4)

by David Swain

The David Library holds microfilm copies of the British War Office 28 Records, parts 2 through 10 (1775-1785), contained on 8 reels, as follows:

28.2 Letters, returns, etc (reel 1, 176 documents)
28.3 Letters, returns, etc. continued (reel 2, 197 documents)
28.4 Butler’s Rangers; Canadian Fencible Corps; Jessup’s Rangers; Roger’s Rangers; Royal Highland Emigrants (84th Regiment); McAlpin’s Volunteer Corps (reel 3 (part), 223 documents)
28.5 Royal Regiment of New York, Rogers’ King’s Rangers, Barrack Master General’s Department (reel 3 (part), 33 documents; reel 4, 147 documents)
28.6 Engineers; garrison returns; General Hospital Department (reel 5)
28.7 Montreal; ordnance; Quartermaster-General’s Department; St. Johns; Sorel (reel 5; reel 6)
28.8 Three Rivers, petitions and memorials; Germans; Carleton Isle, Cataraqui, Oswego (reel 6)
28.9 Miscellaneous letters, memorials, order books, etc. (reel 7)
28.10 Miscellaneous returns etc. (reel 8)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Patron's Perspective: Larry Kidder on the Reliability of Pension Records

In this installment of Patron's Perspective, regular Library Patron Larry Kidder provides further insights from his research on the New Jersey Militia through the Revolutionary War pension records. Larry points out that the value of these pension files does not lie solely with the details they shed on battles and engagements: in many respects, the pensions show us those aspects of the Revolution and the experience of warfare during the period that do not often appear in conventional histories.


True Confessions: How Reliable are Pension File Depositions?

By Larry Kidder

American Revolution veteran pension files are a vast resource that can aid any research project focusing on individual soldiers or seeking answers to exactly what units at the company level did in specific situations. Since the depositions of veterans were made many years after the war and when the deponents were of an advanced age, one naturally wonders just how accurate any information in them can be. Alfred F. Young in The Shoemaker and the Tea Party discusses human memory and his experience in using pension files. In general, he believes that the human memory is not all that bad. Joseph Plumb Martin wrote an entire book of his memoirs of the Revolution at the same stage in life as the pension applicants and his account has proven very useful to historians to the point where it is almost ubiquitous in works on the revolution. So, the pension depositions are likely to have useful information.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Patron's Perspective: Todd Braisted on Royal Provincial Establishments

Todd Braisted, the reigning authority on Britain's Loyalist Forces in America during the Revolution, contributes a clarification on the differences between Royal Provincial Troops with the British Army in Canada and those with the main British Army in the Thirteen Colonies. This entry is intended to provide some clarifications to accompany our catalogs for the WO28 records covering Loyalist troops in Canada, adding some additional context to their story. For those wanting to know more about the Canadian Royal Provincials, the Library's collection includes copies of the Carleton and Haldimand Papers.


Administering Provincial Forces

By Todd W. Braisted

The raising and administering of His Majesty’s Provincial Forces was not a uniform process throughout North America. While all Provincials fell under the auspices of the Treasury office in England, how they were mustered, organized and paid was a very different process between the Northern Army and the Army in America.