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    1777 Revolutionary War Soldier's Diary from the Battle of Newport. 24 pages, 3" x 4", begins on September 20, 1777 with a memorandum of a soldier's expenses to the New Furnace in Winchester, Va. The entry lists the incurred expenses for the two-day trip lasting from Sept. 20-22. "Otes for my horse 0.0.6, my brakefast 0.0.6, bales & otes for my horse 0.0.10...Lodging and supper & sleeping & 1 gal. Rum 0.3.0." The owner of the journal is never disclosed but a few different names appear throughout the book. One entry reads, "Expenses coming back by Jona. Jenks. Junr. Set out for Winchester to the 2 time the 27 of October 1777. Joined Bob Topsmans reg't the 28 of June 1778 at Howland Ferry in Tiverton." On page 5, expenses for a trip from Pawtuckett to Winchester starting October 27-31. The journal contines: "There is no use for a horse at Pawtucket, send him up to Mr. Thurberg. Send Newlands cloths up in the Teams in a barrel in store..." The dates for Nov. 2-4 list a return trip from Winchester to Pawtuckett. Pages 8 and 9 list the names and account balances of several names including Ezra Healy, Wm. Wright, Preserved Alger, Eleazer Jenks, Wm. Bagly, Constant Martin, Nabey Walker, Sam Healy, Mr. Thorn, and Esek Jenks. In July, an entry for "a spelling book sent to Jona. Jenks " and "Jno Sears Desires I would DD the copper which is to be left here by John Scott reducing out 10 the rest @8/." A lengthy entry reads, "From Pawtuckett to Providence whare I've staid three days. From thare to Grinwich staid one night in the mornin' we was ordered to march to Quonset point in North Kingston whare we staid a week or more then order came for marching to Howland Ferry to join our Rigiment whare we staid about a week then I was ordered under Capt. Whipple with a guard to mark to Fog lane Ferry about 6 miles below whare we staid one month or about 5 weeks thenfrom thair to Lowland Ferry and the next day we landed on Rhode Island."

    Quonset Point was called Camp Dyer and was a Spanish-American War camp. This entry undoubtedly relates to the battle of Newport that started August 9, 1778. The battle began with the crossing at Howland's Ferry of 11,000 continental line troops and militia. The French navy blocked Narragansett Bay, forcing the British to scuttle their small naval force. The American army, under Sullivan, landed at Rhode Island and forced the smaller British/German force to withdraw. Within a few days, a large British naval force arrived to challenge the French fleet. The French fleet sailed out of the bay to do battle in the open ocean. As the two fleets maneuvered, preparing for battle, a hurricane came upon them and scattered the fleets from August 13-14, causing severe damage to both sides. The American army, which was much larger than the British, was composed of largely short-term militia soldiers who had joined up just for this campaign. When the French fleet sailed away, they became very discouraged, knowing that they could not take the town and hold it without strong naval support. By the end of the month, the army began to withdraw. A later entry dated October 21, 1778 mentions Col. Grey from Howland Ferry. Grey was a General at the Battle of Newport. He was ordered to destroy a large number of ships with magazines, stores, wharves, and warehouses at New Bedford in late August. An entry on July 29 mentions: "the felt of Frenchmen came into the Rhode Island harbour." The following day, an entry reads: "two French Friggates came &1 American Brigg came in the East side of Rhode Island the enemy waid anchor and headed up to the Foglane Ferry whare I...a ship of 20 gun and a schooner & ...galley on fire." One of the last entries in the book is not dated and reads: "landed on Rhode Island the 9 ofAugust 1778. Landed at Howlands Ferry at about 5 o'clock in the morning whare we marched up to Buffer Hill Forte. The enemy left the Forte a little before sunset and marched in to the town in 3 or 4 days we marched down to the Lims about 3 miles of the town whare we laid about 8 or 9 day then relocated to the upper end of the Island whare the enemy followed the fight was on the made the grand retreat the 30."

    This book also includes pages of handwritten music. A very rare, illuminating and desirable Revolutionary War artifact. Very good condition.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
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