Researching the American Revolution

Your source for information on the American War of Independence

Diaries and Memoirs

Diorama in the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, PA

Revolutionary War diaries and journals are relatively rare, especially when compare to the American Civil War. A good place to start is a listing of diaries kept by enlisted soldiers in the Continental Army compiled by Bob McDonald. Listed below are published diaries, journals and memoirs. Following are line sources of pension records which are increasingly available and are valuable sources.

Published Diaries

Adlum, John. Memoirs of the Life of John Adlum in the Revolutionary War. Edited by Howard H. Peckham. Chicago: The Caxton Club, 1968.

Baldwin, Thomas William, ed. The Revolutionary Journal of Col. Jeduthan Baldwin 1775-1778. Bangor, ME: The De Burians, 1906.

Dearborn, Henry. Revolutionary War Journals of Henry Dearborn 1775-1783. Edited by Lloyd A. Brown and Howard H. Peckham. Chicago: The Caxton Club, 1939.

Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith, and Elaine Forman Crane. The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker: The Life Cycle of an Eighteenth-Century Woman. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1994.

Greenman, Jeremiah. Diary of a Common Soldier in the American Revolution 1775-1783. Edited by Robert C Bray and Paul E Bushnell. DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 1978.

Laurens, Henry, Philip May Hamer, George C. Rogers, and David R. Chesnutt. The Papers of Henry Laurens. Vol. 12: Nov. 1, 1777 – March 15, 1778. 1. ed. Vol. XII. Columbia, S.C: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1990.

Roberts, Lemuel. Memoirs of Captain Lemuel Roberts Containing Adventures in Youth, Vicissitudes Experienced as a Continental Soldier, His Sufferings as a Prisoner, and Excapes from Captivity, with Sutitable Reflections on the Changes of Life. Bennington, Vt: Anthony Haswell, 1809.

Showman, Richard K, Margaret Cobb, and Robert E. McCarthy, eds. The Papers of Nathanael Greene. Vol. I. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1976.

Thacher, James. Military Journal of the American Revolution: From the Commencement to the Disbanding of the American Army : Comprising a Detailed Account of the Principal Events and Battles of the Revolution, with Their Exact Dates, and a Biographical Sketch of the Most Prominent Generals. Gansevoort, N.Y.: Corner House Historical Publications, 1998.

Pension Records

Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Records Data base

Contains pension records and statements for over 20,000 Revolutionary War veterans of the Southern Campaigns.  The data based includes pension applications and bounty land claims.  It is highly searchable and free of charge.

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