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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 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.

Bloomfield, Joseph (1753-1823) to Elias Dayton

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01450.455 Author/Creator: Bloomfield, Joseph (1753-1823) Place Written: Pits Grove, Salem County, New Jersey Type: Letter signed Date: 11 October 1777 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Written by Major Bloomfield to Colonel Dayton. Begins by saying this is the first time he has been able to write since he was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine in September 1777. Says he lost so much blood that he could not ride to Chester and had to cross the Delaware River at Marcus Hook to avoid being captured. Reports that his wound was not dressed until 52 hours after he received it and that it bled for 23 of those hours. Says wound became inflamed, which caused a violent fever that last two weeks. Says on 2 October 1777 he was forced to flee Dr. Otto's, where he was coalescing, when 1,200 British troops moved to take Billingsport. Says the British came within 50 yards of the house and that the militia then retreated "helter skelter." Says he joined them and that artillery shells were landing among them and that the British almost surrounded them. Mockingly says "the Militia eminently distinguished themselves by the Swiftness of their heels (many out running my horse which I galloped briskly)." Says he took to the pine forests and hired a wagon to Pits Grove. Mentions that his wound is healing, but he can't bend his arm or move his fingers. Says he wants to join Dayton as soon as he can ride free from pain. Pleased to hear of recent successes of the army, which has revived the spirits of the populace. This is a curious line since Washington's performance at the Battle of Germantown (where Dayton fought) a week earlier was not illustrious. Works out arrangement for his pay, saying he has drawn 200 dollars from Dayton's son Captain Jonathan Dayton and that Dayton should draw his army pay to make up for it. Bloomfield says he owes Dayton for the horse named "Independence." Sends regards to others in his regiment. Paper is fragile and has been repaired at several points. Darkened at some points, possibly by acid in the paper. Slight text loss.


Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Keywords/Subjects: Battle, Revolutionary War, Military History, Injury or Wound, Health and Medical, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Militia, Artillery, Finance, Soldier's Pay

Sub Era: The War for Independence