Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Seth Tinkham Diary, 1758-1759

Finding aid created by
Shannon Wait, June 2010

Summary Information
Title: Seth Tinkham diary
Creator: Tinkham, Seth, 1734-1808
Inclusive dates: 1758-1759
Extent: 1 volume
The Seth Tinkham diary contains a diary and orderly book entries covering 1758-1759, when Tinkham was a sergeant in Pratt's Company, Doty's Regiment, in the French and Indian War.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1994. M-3058.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Seth Tinkham Diary, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Seth Tinkham was born November 13, 1734, in Middleboro, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, the son of John Tinkham and Hannah Howland. During the French and Indian War, Tinkham served as a sergeant and clerk in Captain Benjamin Pratt's Company, in Colonel Thomas Doty's Massachusetts Regiment. The company started from Middleboro on May 29, 1758, and participated in the Battle of Ticonderoga. Tinkham married Eunice Soule in 1761, and died February 13, 1808.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Seth Tinkham diary has 138 pages of entries, covering May 29, 1758-October 28, 1759. The first few pages of the diary contain a list of officers in Colonel Thomas Doty's Regiment, recorded in 1758, followed by a list of officers in Colonel John Thomas' Regiment in 1759.

The pages numbered 1-18 make up a book of orders given June 28-September 27, 1758. The entries concern provisions, the repair of arms and artillery, the trying of prisoners, the delivery and outfitting of boats, courts martial and punishments for disobedience, and daily routines. They document an oar shortage, resulting in an order that "Each Battoo will be allowed from Coll Bradstreet only 5 oars" (p. 2); the banning of gambling and the instatement of a 300-lash punishment for violators, (p. 3); and the destruction of "Lines made by the French Last year" by a party of 400 men (p. 10). During June and most of July, Tinkham and his company camped at Lake George, near Fort Ticonderoga, but by late July, they moved to Loudoun Ferry and later, Schenectady, New York.

Pages 19-57 contain diary entries by Tinkham, covering May 29, 1758-October 28, 1759, with a gap between December 8, 1758 and April 9, 1759. In early entries, he described mustering and leaving Middleboro, camp activities, movements, battles, and notable incidents. On July 6-8, 1758, he wrote about the Battle of Ticonderoga (also known as the Battle of Carillon), describing the newly-built French defenses, the "hedious yelling of the Indians," and a piece of artillery that killed 18 grenadiers on the spot. He also referenced British losses and being "ordered back" for an unknown reason (pp. 23-24). On September 5, 1758, he recounted receiving advice and aid from three Oneida Indians, who warned of enemies in the area and gave the men corn and salmon. In several entries throughout, Tinkham described hunting and fishing, his health, the capture of prisoners, and travel by boat. The later entries, covering April-October 1759, recount a measles outbreak in late April, intelligence received from the Dutch (May 20, 1759), and daily duties and activities.

The second half of the volume is an orderly book for April 16-October 28, 1759. It contains basic orders, like requirements that soldiers remove their hats when speaking to officers (p. 73) and that they march two deep (p. 76), as well as calls for courts martial (p. 96), and restrictions on the use of ammunition (p. 105).

Subject Terms

    • Fort Ticonderoga (N.Y.)
    • Great Britain. Army--Colonial forces--America.
    • Great Britain. Army--Military life.
    • Great Britain. Army--Officers.
    • Great Britain. Army--Regulations.
    • Middleboro (Mass.)
    • Military discipline.
    • Oneida Indians.
    • Schenectady (N.Y.)
    • Soldiers--Massachusetts.
    • Ticonderoga, Battle of, N.Y., 1758.
    • United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.
    • United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763--Campaigns.
    • United States--History--French and Indian War--Prisoners and prisons.
    Genre Terms:
    • Dairies.
    • Orderly books.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Seth Tinkham diary,  1758-1759 [series]