Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Nathaniel Perry Drill Book, 1751

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, August 2011

Summary Information
Title: Nathaniel Perry drill book
Creator: Perry, Nathaniel, 1713-1756
Inclusive dates: 1751
Extent: 1 volume
The Nathaniel Perry drill book contains instructions for several military drills performed by the Massachusetts Militia in the 1750s.
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:

2009. M-4716.2.

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:

Nathaniel Perry Drill Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Nathaniel Perry was born on July 2, 1713, in Sandwich, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Perry. He married Mehitable Willis (née Leonard) in 1736, and soon thereafter moved to Easton, Massachusetts. He received a commission from Governor Shirley in the Massachusetts Militia in 1754, and served as a captain under Colonel John Winslow. Perry saw action during the French and Indian War and fought at the Battle of Fort Cumberland in 1755. Following the surrender of the fort, Perry's unit remained in Nova Scotia, where he died of illness on June 15, 1756. Perry had several children, including Nathaniel Perry, Jr., and Samuel Perry, both of whom served with their father at Fort Cumberland.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Nathaniel Perry drill book (4" x 6.5", 25 pages) contains 17 pages of instructions for several military drills performed by the Massachusetts Militia in the 1750s and 8 pages of an unknown author's exercises in writing letters of the alphabet.

Brief instructions for individual drills are organized under the following headings:

  • "Eight Entire Several Doublings with their Reducements"
  • "Eight Several Countermarches with their Reducements"
  • "Eight Entire Doublings by Wheeling with there [ sic ] Reducement"
  • "Ten Several Wheelings with their Reducement"
  • "Of Ranks Wheeling to the Midst of files"
  • "Twelve Several Countermarches with there [ sic ] Reducements"
  • "The following Exercise is to be Performed with four files Six deep"
  • "Thirty Several words of Command of Inversion and Conversion"
Subject Terms

    • Alphabet.
    • Infantry drill and tactics.
    • Massachusetts. Militia--History--18th century.
    Genre Terms:
    • Training manuals.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Nathaniel Perry drill book,  1751 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Cutter, William Richard. New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievement of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation. Volume 3. Clearfield: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

    Montgomery, Alvin E. Ancestry and Descendants of Nathaniel Perry, Jr. (Capt. Nathaniel, Benjamin, Ezra) in Massachusetts, New York, and Wisconsin.