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.

Howe, William (1729-1814) [British adjutant's orderly book]

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 #: GLC05983 Author/Creator: Howe, William (1729-1814) Place Written: s.l. Type: Manuscript document Date: 6 January 1776-4 September 1777 Pagination: 286 p. ; 16 x 21 cm.

Orderly book of British Commander-in-Chief William Howe, oblong quarto, in the handwriting of six or seven soldier-clerks. Details daily orders, official memoranda, court martials, provisions, directives on the control of civilians, embarkations and landings of troops, and more. Among the historic events described are the siege and evacuation of Boston (from 5 March 1776 for 20 pages) and the execution of Nathan Hale (22 September 1776) who is unnamed. "A Spy from the Enemy by his own full confession, apprehended last Night was this day Executed at 11 oClock in front of the Artillery Park." Also includes the Battles of Long Island and Princeton, and other British activities and significant events in Halifax, Boston, Staten Island, Long Island, New York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The last entry is dated "Aickins Tavern 4 Sept., 1777," in Pennsylvania when Howe was marching to take Philadelphia, which was accomplished 26 September 1777. The orderly book shows that the British evacuation of Boston actually began 5 March 1776, not 17 March as was commonly believed. Unpaginated. There are a few unusual pieces, for example page 1 has a "Memorandum for making Sour Crout [kraut]."

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources