Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2013 Issue

A Revolutionary War Orderly Book from Ian Brabner, Booksell


The orderly book of John Dorlon.

Some catalogues we receive contain over a thousand items. Some not so many. None contain fewer than this. Ian Brabner, Bookseller, has issued a catalogue of one item. No concern with not being able to find the one you are looking for in this catalogue. Offered is a manuscript Orderly Book compiled in early 1776 by John Dorlon. John Dorlan was a captain in New York's Second Regiment of Minutemen, a 43-man unit out of Duchess County (later home of Franklin D. Roosevelt). They would be based in Manhattan, near Trinity Church and Wall Street.

The book accounts instructions received at a time shortly before the colonies declared their independence. Troubles had long been brewing in Boston, and the Americans had already made an unsuccessful assault on Canada, but in New York, particularly in the city, loyalties were not clear. Many remained loyal to Britain. Dorlan was not such a person.

On the 7th of March, we learn that the Continental Congress had ordered General Charles Lee, under whom Dorlan's regiment served, south. He was replaced by the “Earl of Stirling.” Lee, who vied for leadership of the entire army with Washington, would later be court-martialed for insubordination, relieved of his duties, and fairly well disgraced. William Alexander, Lord Stirling, would be recognized for great bravery and devoted service.

On March 13, Dorlon notes that fortifications are to be built. Instead of guns, they will be marching with “spades, shovels, pickaxes and hoes.” All “mail” (Dorlon had some spelling issues) Negroes are also to participate. He goes on to note that “one half the In Habitance” are to be working every other day, while all slaves are to work everyday until the defense is complete.

On March 31, it has been learned that the British are evacuating Boston. Defenders in New York are put on notice - “That New York may be their Object The General Strongly recommends to the Officers of all Ranks to Excert themselves in Preparing for the most Vigorous Defences Should the Enemy attempt Landing in this Place.”

We regularly hear about the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments in the Bill of Rights. How about the one in between – the Third? You probably have to look it up. It was a big issue at the time, but one rarely encountered any more. It protects citizens from having soldiers quartered in their homes, never to be done during peacetime, during war only as proscribed by law. This was a major issue at the time as the British had forced residents of Boston to quarter their soldiers, with little regard for how the Bostonians felt. Therefore, on March 28, we read the order, “The General expects & requires that the Greatest Care be Taken by the Officers Of the Different Corps to prevent their soldiers from Doing any injury to the houses in which they are Quartered...a Subaltern officer of each Company is Ordered once a Day to inspect the Lodgings of their men and if any Damage Is Done to the houses or furniture to Report the Delinquents that they May be Severely Punished...”

Soldiers were expected to be on good behavior. On April 11 Dorlon writes, “Notwithstanding Repeated Orders that the officers of Every Rank should take particular care that no Insults be offered The Inhabitants by the Soldiers the General has had repeated Complaints that the Ladies in Walking the Streets are frequently Insulted.” Soldiers will be soldiers. The result is that officers are “to be very attentive in Suppressing the Scandelous Behavoier.” This order is to be read every morning, lest the soldiers forget, and both soldiers and their officers are to be punished for disobedience.

A notation is written on the first leaf that Capt. John Dorlon died in Virginia on May 22, 1824.

Ian Brabner, Bookseller, may be reached at 302-998-2886 or ian@rareamericana.com. The website is www.rareamericana.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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