Archive Pay Dirt: Americans in Albany

New York Public LibraryEureka! I found it! I am in New York City this week conducting research at the New York Public Library. I also have a ticket to see Hamilton the Musical.

My research goal for the trip: find information about the role the people of Albany played during Sullivan's Campaign of 1779 and the Native American and Loyalist raids between 1780-1782.

If you read my dissertation, you would be surprised to learn that the War for Independence in Albany ended with the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. (Don't always believe what you read.)

Yesterday, I went through the Henry Glen Papers. Henry Glen lived in Schenectady and served as a Deputy Quarter Master General throughout the war. As I went through this small collection and read over supply requests, orders, and personal correspondence, I stumbled upon a letter to Glen from Jeremiah Lansingh of Albany.

Dated 6 July 1778, the letter conveys intelligence from the Battle of Monmouth.  Some of the intelligence is wrong, but Lansingh discusses how "our troops" caused the enemy to retreat. Moreover, he ended his letter with the following sentence:

"I don't doubt but our Troops will keep up the old Maxim (Work well begun is half ended) And may they make an End of them All [British soldiers], is the sincere Wish & one who glories in the Name of an American and is your humble Servt.

Jerh Lansingh"

For more than 10 years I have searched for a statement by someone from Albany that explicitly stated they viewed themselves as an American. I never thought I would find one, but I held hope. Unlike my dissertation, my book won't have to deal in abstractions. I made a convincing case before, but now I have a real statement.