Isaac Story papers  [1811]-1818
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Isaac Story papers contain the military documents and correspondence of Story, a captain in the Massachusetts Militia during the War of 1812. The collection contains 64 items, spanning ca. 1811-1818. The two earliest documents, which may date from 1811, are a receipt for food and wine marked "Company Dr," and a sheet marked "Orderly Sergt Account" that lists the names of men and the money they owe for "nonappearance."

The collection then skips to 1814, which it documents thoroughly; approximately half of the papers were created in this year. The most common documents are orders, which appear at the general, brigade, battalion, division, and company level. Orders are fairly basic, and mainly provide instructions on where to appear and when, whether to wear a uniform and bring a knapsack, and other simple instructions. At times, the orders express an awareness of the challenges presented by an undisciplined and untested militia force. A division order, dated July 9, 1814, notes that "as the Guards must be composed of men who have not had much opportunity of seeing actual service, it may happen from inexperience that some unsoldierlike conduct may take place but is guarded against as much as possible." A brigade order, signed by Ebenezer Bancroft asserts that "a well organized & disciplined Militia" precludes the need for "a large standing army in time of peace" (September 17, 1816).

Additional documents record the purchase and use of supplies, such as a receipt for canteens (June 1814) and a bill for plumes used in soldiers' hats (October 5, 1816). Several items shed light on the soldiers commanded by Story, including requests for discharges, excuses for absences, and a certification of training. Also present is a set of articles signed by 34 soldiers under Story, which lay out details of uniforms, arms, training, discipline, and expenses.

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