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    [War of 1812]. Orderly Book kept by the Adjutant of the 1st Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division of Massachusetts Militia, Newbury, Massachusetts, 1802-1815. The volume, 156 pages, 6.5" x 7.5", dates from July 18, 1802-January 19, 1815. Virtually all of the first 100 pages are filled with orders in different hands, primarily relating to election of officers and inspections and reviews.

    The United States declared war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812. During the War of 1812 British forces invaded the United States, which included the burning down of the capitol and the White House in Washington, DC in 1814. Apparently, there was the possibility that the British would attack Portsmouth, New Hampshire that same year.

    A copy of a circular sent to company captains and lieutenants on May 5, 1814 concerned preparedness in the face of a possible attack on Portsmouth.

    "Agreeable to Brigade
    And Regimental Orders> Newbury, 5 May 1814

    Sir-you are hereby notified to hold yourself in readiness to march at a moment's warning with the Company under your Command completely equipped for the relief of Portsmouth in case that place should be attacked by the Enemy. Should the alarm be given that Portsmouth is attacked you must repair with the Company under your command to the alarm Post which is the South end of Essex Merrimack Bridge and there await further orders."

    On September 12, 1814, a copy of a circular was copied into the book, which alerted commanders of militia companies to be prepared to march when ordered: "Agreeable to Regimental Orders... You are hereby notified to hold the company under your command in constant readiness to march at a moment's warning Completely armed and equipped as the law directs, and, every man will furnish himself with a good knapsack and blanket before inspection. You will also order your company out for inspection on Tuesday the thirteenth Inst. at two o'clock P.M. and all deficiencies must be immediately supplied..."

    Massachusetts Volunteer Militia units date back to 1636 when the Massachusetts Bay Colony militia was organized. Subsequently local town militia were formed and organized under laws mandated by the General Court of Massachusetts. From the time the first militia was organized, Massachusetts militia regiments participated in a number of major conflicts, including the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. The order book offered here provides a glimpse of the regular activities of militia companies in the United States during the early 19th century.

    Condition: The orderly book is bound in one quarter leather, slightly worn, with board covers. One page is missing, between entries for May 29, 1804 and August 6, 1804. The last 50 pages of the book are blank.

    More Information:

    An example of the orders for an inspection recorded in the book is this draft of a circular order of June 19, 1805:


    "Sir-Agreeable to Regimental Orders-

    You will appear with the Company under your command on the parade near the Rev. Elijah Parish's Meeting-house in Byfield on Thursday the fourth day of July next precisely at one o'clock afternoon for Military duty-twenty cartridges without Balls is required of each soldier."


    The book contains many orders sent to various captains and lieutenants regarding election of officers.  An example is an order sent to a Captain Silas Moody on September 18, 1806:


    "Agreeable to Regimental Orders--

    You are hereby required to meet with the Legal voters of the Company under your command at some convenient place with the limits of said Company on Friday the third day of October next at four o'clock P.M., for the purpose of electing an Ensign for said Company in room of Ensign Enoch Plummer Promoted." 


    On November 8, 1808, a draft of circular order to all militia company captains and lieutenants:


    "Sir-In obedience to Brigade & Regimental orders-I hereby notify and warn you to detach immediately from the Company under your command a proportional part of eighty three Men, including Officers, Non-Commissioned officers, Musick, Rank & file for the service of the United States to hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment's warning armed & equipped according to Law & make return to me on or before the fifth day of December next."


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    April, 2016
    5th Tuesday
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