Great Britain. Army collection (1699-1850, bulk 1800-1819)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Great Britain Army collection (1,369 items) is a miscellaneous collection of letters and documents related to the administration and operation of the British Army. The bulk of the material covers 1800 to 1819, with a few outlier items from as early as 1699 and as late as 1850. The collection relates primarily to the quartermaster general's office, and deals with military matters in Great Britain, Europe, India, the West Indies, and various outposts of the British Empire. Document types include official letters written by officers and British government officials, pay records, military returns, requests for troop movements and secret service payments, and miscellaneous orders and accounts.

The Correspondence series (588 items) contains letters from various British Army officers and government officials concerning administrative duties, interactions with private merchants, soldiers’ requests for transfers and promotions, regimental inspection reports, and disciplinary actions. Of note are 11 requests from Sir George Murray in Paris to Sir James Willoughby Gordon, quartermaster general of the Forces of the Horse Guards, concerning personal effects transported from England to France (April 1817-February 1818). See additional descriptive data for a list of letter writers.

The Documents series is comprised of five subseries:

The Pay Records subseries (378 items) contains proofs of payment for individual soldiers and pay accounts for regiments and groups of recruits. Included are War Office pay warrants for service members in Great Britain, the West Indies, the Mediterranean, and India, among other locations (1699-1819). Of note is a March 1699 regimental account for four companies stationed in New York under the Earl of Bellomont.

The Returns subseries (77 items) consists of detailed regimental lists; hospital returns; returns of arms and food (occasionally documenting weekly rations for men, women, and children); and lists of men employed victualing stores, repairing garrisons, and building forts and roads (1801-1819). Locations documented include the Northern District in England, London, Shelburne Castle, Canterbury, Oxfordshire, Hartfordshire, Dover, the Isle of Wight, Sussex, France, and Bermuda.

The Requests for Routes for Troop Movements subseries (231 items) is comprised of letters between officers concerning troop assignments, marching instructions, and the transportation of regiments (1802-1819). Also discussed are the movement of sick troops and the reassignment of individual service members.

The Secret Service Payments subseries (23 items) consists of receipts of payment from Lord Viscount Castlereagh (Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry) to either Henry Wellesley in Madrid or Charles Stuart in Paris, spanning July 1812 to December 1819.

The Miscellaneous Documents subseries (72 items) contains various military documents (1770-1816), such as receipts for goods and services, accounts for military expenses, various signed oaths, paymasters orders, and courts martial warrants.. Of note is an account of "Bonded Debt due by the East India Company at the Presidencies of Fort William, Fort St. George, & Bombay" (December 31, 1784). Also present are several lifetime annuities records, including one dated 1746 that contains an attached engraving of Peter Lord King, printed in 1832.

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