George Merrifield papers  1812-1882 (bulk 1812-1819)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The George Merrifield papers contain 10 letters and 4 documents related to Merrifield's service with the New York Militia during the War of 1812. Two of George's brothers, James and Richard Merrifield, wrote six of the letters, and described life in Albany during the war. Early in the conflict, Richard noted preparations in Albany, and stated, "There is soldiers Continually Arriving & marching with Cannon Ammunition Waggon daily[.] Yesterday the sloop Hardware arrived with about a Hundred Sailors for the lakes such a Racket Through the City in Waggons never was heard of" (September 23, 1812). Much of the brothers' later correspondence related news of British prisoners of war. For example, Richard wrote, "…you shall have About 150 British prisoners wounded at the dif[f]erent Battles on the Niagara…about the same Number of our Wounded[.] At the same time there is Three Hundred fifty more prisoners Expected on Thursday" (October 2, 1814).

A third sibling, W. G. Merrifield, wrote George of family news in 1814, including allusions to several events George missed during his time in the military. George contributed one letter to the collection, in which he explored American morale toward the war's conclusion: "The Success…[of] our arms this Campaign has made A great Change and has Caused A universal joy. It is to be hoped that british wil[l] withdraw there fleats [fleets] from our Co[a]st that we may return to our friends and our homes" (October 1, [1814]). Two later letters regard the award and amount of Merrifield's pension.

The collection's four documents are:

  • George Merrifield's appointment as a 2nd lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of Artillery, New York Militia (May 30, 1818)
  • George Merrifield's appointment as a 1st lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of Artillery, New York Militia (April 20, 1819)
  • A certificate authenticating George Merrifield's War of 1812 service and asserting his right to a pension (January 23, 1872)
  • An unsigned certificate authenticating George Merrifield's identity, with attached pension receipts (March 4, 1882)
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