Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Vanderslice, Henry (1726-1797) [Diary of Henry Vanderslice, wagon master in the Continental Army]

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01450.018 Author/Creator: Vanderslice, Henry (1726-1797) Place Written: [various places] Type: Autograph manuscript Date: 26 March 1777-18 June 1778 Pagination: 166 p. 16.5 x 10.5 cm

Summary of Content: Daily entries detail Vanderslice's duties as wagon master and his travels with the army through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Vanderslice reached encampment at Morristown, New Jersey in late March 1777. He writes about wagons and carters under his supervision, care of the horses, wages for carters, and supplies collected by the wagons for the army. Begins his duty on 31 March 1777 and is in charge of 12 wagons, 50 horses, and 12 carters, whose names he lists. Accounts for the travels of the wagons to various towns in New Jersey to collect goods and describes problems encountered along the routes. Entry for 18 June 1777 describes a British plunder in Somerset, New Jersey. 26 June 1777 he mentions his army attacking British troops at Amboy but the Americans retreated. 11 July 1777 he records riding with General George Washington and General John Peter Muhlenberg. "General Washington was long the waggons several times." Late July 1777, the troops marched toward Philadelphia, and Vanderslice crossed the Delaware into Pennsylvania. 2 August 1777 he records encamping at Germantown. There are no entries from 20 August 1777 to late September. He then enters business with the Assistant Quarter Master General, Mark Bird, in order to collect supplies for the army. In early November he transports 13 Hessian prisoners to Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania. From late November to 10 December 1777 he describes journeying through the Tulpehocken Valley to buy horses and supplies, possibly for Washington's men camped at Valley Forge for the winter. The last entry states that the British have left Philadelphia.

Background Information: With folder of research in collateral files.

People: Vanderslice, Henry, 1729-1797

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Soldier's DiaryRevolutionary WarMilitary HistoryMilitary CampMilitary SuppliesWartime Pillaging and DestructionBattleGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyPresidentPrisoner of WarValley ForgeHessians

Sub Era: The War for Independence

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources