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.

Dundas, Ralph (b. 1732) to James Dundas

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 #: GLC03676.04 Author/Creator: Dundas, Ralph (b. 1732) Place Written: Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 22 July 1781 Pagination: 4 p. : address : docket ; 36.3 x 22.1 cm.

Dundas, captain of the H. M. S. Bonetta, writes from the Elizabeth River to his brother James. Reports that he was sent to the James Islands "to cover the Boats of Earle Cornwallis's Army who were ordered away from the Pursuit of the Marquis Fayette." Praises Cornwallis. Discusses details of continued battles and skirmishes occurring between December 1780 and July 1781, as the Marquis de Lafayette pursued Cornwallis to Yorktown. Mentions the activities of Colonel Robert Abercrombie and the Edinburgh Regiment. States that he had previous orders to attack Philadelphia, but had received orders not to carry through with the attack. Reports on a prize ship, and relates news of a ship that arrived in Antigua with cargo completely destroyed. Relates information about fellow sailors who perished in transport or battle. Reports on the son of mutual acquaintance, who performed admirably during battle and who is now serving in North Carolina. In a post script, states "the Action at James Town was the 7 July."

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources