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British Army Account Book of Revolutionary War Expenditures in the Carolinas and Florida


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Great Britain. Army

The British Army is the principal land force of the United Kingdom founded in 1660 under Charles II. Along with the Royal Navy, the British Army played a key role in British colonization and empire-building efforts over the following several centuries.

Consists of a two-volume account book of British military expenditures in North Carolina, South Carolina, and St. Augustine, Florida, during the later years of the American Revolution. The accounts are dated between April 1781 and June 1782, which are presumably the dates when a written receipt of expenditure was received by the compiler of these accounts, rather than the actual date when the money was spent. They document British war efforts in the Carolinas and Florida, as well as the individuals who fought, supplied, and raised funds in the campaign against the American rebels on behalf of the British Crown. During the period covered in these accounts in South Carolina, Camden was evacuated by the British in May 1781, Georgetown in June, and Ninety Six in July. In October, the British were defeated at Moncks Corner leaving Dorchester as the only British outpost in South Carolina together with the ports of Charlestown (Charleston); Wilmington, North Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia.

The accounts are recorded under headings divided roughly into the following categories: garrisons, labor, construction, transport, and individuals or companies. The garrisons recorded are at Georgetown, Camden, Beaufort, Moncks Corner, Dorchester, Wappetaw, and Ninety Six, South Carolina; Wilmington, North Carolina; and St. Augustine, Florida. Labor includes carpenters, artificers, African American troops or laborers referred to as "negroe hire" (and "negroe cloathing"), "overseers of negroes," boatmen, chaindrivers, and sodlayers. Items listed under construction include bricks, lumber, barracks, cedar posts, tools and ironmongery, tents and marquees, and yard hire. Transport includes schooners and wagons. Among the individuals listed are Colonel James Moncrief, who commanded the Black Company of Pioneers, Scottish merchant and Loyalist leader John Cruden, Captain Robert Gray, Lieutenant Barrett, Captain John Halbert, James Borvie, Luther Honeywood, and Loyalist merchants and tradesmen, including James Cook, Abram Cohen, John Wyatt, and James Clitheral, as well as the firm Gordon, Biddulph and Gordon, among others.

The account book is bound into two volumes, one containing 51 numbered leaves written almost entirely in one neat clerical hand with debits on versos and contra on rectos, as well as another with 70 leaves written in a different, rougher hand. The first volume records expenditures of over 16,000 pounds and contra payments of over 22,000 pounds; the second volume repeats the accounts of the first with additional debits of over 18,000 pounds.

Purchase, 2017.

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in April 2017. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in April 2017.

No materials were separated during 2017 processing.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Kelly Bolding
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use Restrictions

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

Account Book, 1781-1782. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

2 volumes.

Physical Description

1 box

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