History From America's Most Famous Valleys
YORK MUSTER ROLLS of New York Provincial Troops.
Published by the New York Historical Society. 1897
THIS volume contains the Muster Rolls of the various regiments and smaller organizations of troops raised and put in the field by the province of New York, which served during the Seven Years' War in America, or, as it was later called, "The Old French War"-the war which terminated forever the power of France in the New World.
They cover the whole period of that war from 1755 to 1763, except those for 1757, which have disappeared from the archives of the State of New York at Albany, where all the others are preserved as originally filed in the office of the Provincial Secretary of the Colony of New York. From them the copies used in printing this volume were most carefully made by the eminent New York archivists and historians, the late Dr. Edmund B. O'Callaghan and Mr. Berthold Fernow. The former, so well known as the historian of New Netherland, and editor of the invaluable collection of the " Colonial Documents of New York," in eleven quarto volumes, and other works, upwards of thirty-five years ago copied personally nearly two-thirds of these Muster Rolls, intending to use them in a work of his own, an intention subsequently abandoned. After his death in 1870, his widow, to whom he devised and bequeathed all his property, among others of his manuscripts gave these copies to the New York Historical Society. Subsequently the Society determined to complete the transcription of the Muster Rolls, with a view to their future publication in its " Collections," and entrusted the work to Mr. Berthold Fernow, well known for his own accurate and continued labors in the field of New York history. The Rolls have been copied by both these gentlemen exactly as they were written and filed, such being the only true rule to be observed in transcribing for the press historical documents of this nature.
The numbers and designations of the companies, the names of the privates and officers, the mention of individual size, age, personal appearance, nativity, localities where enlisted, with the dates of enlistment, and similar details given in these Muster Rolls, are a mine of a kind of information which is now of very great value and importance. This is owing to the great interest and attention which of late years have been given to the colonial history of America in general, and of New York in particular.
As illustrative of these Muster Rolls, and of the efforts of the province of New York in the Seven Years' War in America, there has been added an appendix of documents and papers compiled from the archives of the State at Albany and the library of the Society. These show the action of the Governors of the province, the colonial legislature and other provincial authorities, not only in relation to their own troops, but to the carrying on of the war generally by the people of the province of New York, its legislature, and its Governors.
These documents and papers contain amass of information of much value, and not easily accessible heretofore to the historical inquirer. They are as follows:
1. A list of all the acts of the legislature of the province -seventeen in number-under which the various regiments and smaller bodies of troops were raised, equipped, paid, and subsisted. This gives the year and day of the month in which each act was passed, thus enabling them to be consulted in any one of the volumes of the colonial statutes of New York, ancient or modern.
2. The official orders, directions, and proclamations of Governors James De Lancey, Sir Charles Hardy, and Cadwallader Colden during the war, relative to the troops, the regiments, their officers, their movements, their destinations, and the events of the campaigns; in short, an official history of 'the direction of the war in New York, of which little has been before known. Interspersed in these documents are a few excerpts from newspapers of the day, called forth by their issue or by specific incidents of the war.
3. Lists of commissioned officers as far as they could be obtained from the records, and lists of names of non-commissioned officers and privates, found in the commissariat accounts of the Commissaries, John Cruger, Beverley Robinson, and Peter van Brugh Livingston, who formed a joint commission. From the same accounts, lists of the names of deceased soldiers from 1756 to 1762 whose heirs received the pay due them at the time of their death.
4. Lists of deserters, and notices and advertisements in relation to deserters during the war.
5. Lists of commissions signed by the Governors.
6. A book of military appointments and other military information in 1759, 1760, and 1761, kept by John Godby, a clerk in the office of the Secretary of the province, in the performance of his official duties.
7. Lists of the commissions issued for the provincial regiments, dated April 6, 1761, and October 8, 1761.
8. List of warrants issued to captains for bounty and enlistment monies, with the amount of each warrant in New York currency.
This volume of Muster Rolls and accompanying documents and papers is an important contribution to the true history of the province of New York in the middle of the last century.
Its general Index, the careful work of Mr. William Kelby, the
Librarian of the Society, gives the name of every officer and private in the
Rolls and Lists.
EDWARD F. DE LANCEY. August 1897.
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