Western Reserve (Ohio) collection 1796-1808
Collection Scope and Content Note
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The Jacob Nagle journal pertains to the life and adventures of the Revolutionary War veteran, who sailed in both the American and British navies between 1775 and 1824. Nagle wrote the 161-page document, entitled "A Sketch or Journal of Jacob Nagle from the Year 1775," on July 22, 1840, near the end of his life. He began the journal with a brief history of his family, mentioning his father's commissions in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Just sixteen when he joined his father in various Pennsylvania regiments, Nagle served with the artillery and encamped at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778; this portion of the journal includes illustrations depictions of several military actions from the viewpoint of an ordinary soldier. Following his infantry service, Nagle entered the navy and spent most of the rest of his life at sea, serving in the American and British military and merchant navies over the course of several decades. The majority of the journal describes Nagle's adventures both at sea and on land, which included encounters with fellow seamen and with prostitutes. During his long naval career, Nagle saw much of the world, including the Caribbean, Asia, and Australia. His account provides a rare firsthand glimpse into the life of an everyday sailor during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.