Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
George Merrifield Papers, 1812-1882

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, August 2011

Summary Information
Title: George Merrifield papers
Creator: Merrifield, George
Inclusive dates: 1812-1882
Bulk dates: 1812-1819
Extent: 14 items
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.
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:

1970. M-1508.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

George Merrifield Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically.


George Merrifield was born around 1791 in New York, and had at least three brothers, including James, Richard, and W. G. Merrifield. In 1812, the Merrifield family lived in Albany, New York, while George was stationed at Fort Richmond, Staten Island, with the New York Militia. George continued to serve in the militia after the war, and he eventually became a 2nd lieutenant in the New York Militia's 5th Artillery Regiment. Merrifield eventually moved to Nassau, New York, where he lived until at least 1880.

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)
Subject Terms

    • Albany (N.Y.)
    • Military pensions--United States--War of 1812.
    • New York (State)--History--War of 1812.
    • New York (State) Militia.
    • Prisoners of war--United States--History--19th century.
    • United States--History--War of 1812.
    • Merrifield, James.
    • Merrifield, Richard.
    • Merrifield, W.G.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Military commissions.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   49, Small Collections  
    George Merrifield papers [series]
    Folder   31  
     September 22, 1812-September 16, 1814
    Folder   32  
     October 1, [1814]-November 11, 1814
    Folder   33  
     May 30, 1818-March 4, 1882