Researching the American Revolution

Your source for information on the American War of Independence

British Diaries and Memoirs

Published Primary Sources

Balderston, Marion, and David Syrett, eds. The Lost War: Letters from British Officers during the American Revolution. New York: Horizon Press, 1975.

Barnes, James J., and Patience P. Barnes, eds. The American Revolution through British Eyes: A Documentary Collection. 2 vols. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2013.

Coghlan, Margaret. Memoirs of Mrs. Coghlan, (Daughter of British Major Moncrieffe) written by herself, and Dedicated to the British Nation; being interspersed with Anecdotes of the late American and present French War with remarks Moral and Political, London: Printed for the author and sold by C. and G. Kearsley, Fleet-street, 1794.

A captivating account of a daughter of British Major Thomas Moncrieffe starting in pre-war colonial America.  As a young teenager, Margaret encounters American generals Israel Putnam and George Washington in 1776 New York City.  Margaret is rumored to have had an affair with Aaron BurrAfter the British retake the city, she is married at age 14 to British Lt. John Coghlan.  It is an unhappy marriage.  .  The Coghlan’s return to Britain in 1778.  The couple soon separated but not divorced.  Margaret engages in a series of high profie affairs with prominent means.  She dies suddenly in 1787.  Her memoir is published in 1793 in two volumes.  All or part of the second volume may have been constructed and written by a second person.

Enys, John. The American Journals of Lt. John Enys. Edited by Elizabeth Cometti. 1st ed. Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y.: Adirondack Museum, 1976.

French, Allen, ed., The Diary of Lt. Frederick MacKenzie, 23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers) Foot. Cambridge,MA:  The Harvard University Press, 1926.

Lt MacKenzie’s diary covers the period of British occupation of the city of Boston.

Hattendorff, John B.. A Redcoat in America: The Diaries of Lieutenant William Bamford, 1757-1765 and 1776. United Kingdom: Helion, 2019.

The second portion of the dairy, running from January through December 1776, documents William Bamford’s service in the 40th Regiment at Boston after the battle of Bunker Hill, during the winter and early spring of 1776, the British evacuation to Halifax, return to Staten Island, New York, the campaign on Long Island, and the occupation of New York City.

Lamb, Roger, and Don N Hagist. A British Soldier’s Story: Roger Lamb’s Narrative of the American Revolution. Baraboo, Wis.: Ballindalloch Press, 2004.

Lord Shelburne The Bowood Circle and the American Revolution – Letters To Lord Shelburne 1776-1789. Oxford, England: University Press, 1976.

Muenchhausen, Friedrich Ernst von. At General Howe’s Side, 1776-1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich Von Muenchhausen. United States: Philip Freneau Press, 1974.

Tarleton, Banastre. A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces of North America. Dublin: Colles, Exshaw, White, H. Whitestone, Burton, Bryne, Moore, Jones and Dornin, 1787.

“THE DIARY OF LIEUTENANT JOHN BARKER, Fourth (or The King’s Own) Regiment of Foot, From November, 1774, to May, 1776.” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 7, no. 28 (1928): 81–109.

John Barker’s diary covers the period before and after the outbreak of hostilities at Lexington and Concord.  He provides a good view of the first battle of the war.

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