J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Don’t Make Me Come Back There!

Moses Fargo was a non-commissioned officer in Capt. William Coit’s Connecticut company, Col. Samuel Holden Parsons’s regiment, during the siege of Boston. On 23 Apr 1775, he was given a small notebook with this instruction, which he wrote on the first page:

That Each Adjutant Serjt Majr and Each Sert be Immediatly provided With orderly Books in order Regularly to Enter the orders of the army.
Each morning, the regiment’s sergeants were summoned to take down the day’s orders by dictation from Parsons or his adjutant. Those orders tended to cover administrative matters, not military strategy. Here, for example, is what Fargo wrote on 1 Aug 1775:
Notwithstanding Former orders For making Return of the Number of tents in Each Company in the Regment [there are] Great Complaints that more tents are in the Company or in the posestion of Idevideals Belonging To the Companys then the Number Returned

it is therfore orderd that the Commanding officer of Each Company Forthwith Mak a Return under his own hand of the Number of men in there Respective Companys and of the Number of tents in there Respective Companys or of any Noncomisiond officer or soldier in there Company that Equil Justus may be Don to the Companys Respecting the tents

Complaints being Made of Great Destruction of the Frute Belonging to the Inhabetants at Roxbury and that Damige has been Don to the owners of the Frute Such Personal Ingures have been Sufferd by the pratice of Throwing apples about the Camp It is orderd that all persons Belonging to this Regment upon there peril Forbear Distroying the Frute & also that the aforesaid pratice be Immediatly disused
Fargo was, as we see, a phonetic speller. But when the Connecticut Historical Society published this document alongside others in 1899, its editor wrote: “The two following journals are by much more illiterate men than the preceding order-book.”

1 comment:

John L. Smith said...

To Mr. Bell's column heading, "Stop throeing the Frute back there, stop touching your Brother, or I sweer I will tern this Wagon around!".