Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Revolutionary War - Hessian diaries

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following is a transcript of the email just sent to Heritage Books publisher Craig Scott, CG who recently encouraged my continued study of Hessian soldiers by his recommendation of ENEMY VIEWS: The American Revolutionary War as Recorded by the Hessian Participants compiled by Bruce E. Burgoyne © 2006 Heritage Books. Mr. Burgoyne is a recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Revolution Roundtable of Philadelphia.

Though I’ve only waded through the description of the diarists and am now following one unit’s travel through Germany to the port of departure, I can see this is one book I shall thoroughly enjoy.

Burgoyne explains, in readable paragraph format, the source for each diary he translated, giving credit also to the individuals who forwarded content to him. Mention of grants (such as those from the Eastern National Park & Monument Association) to cover the translation of certain diaries adds credence, and names other interested parties supporting his work. Because of the expanse of his Hessian translations, in at least two cases where the first page or two were missing, Burgoyne was able to recognize the likely author, and provide continuity.

Obtaining diary materials was no minor feat, as they were discovered in Michigan, the New York Public Library (including the Piel manuscript in the Bancroft Collection), Berlin, Korbach, Asteroth, the Murhard Library in Kassel, the Bavarian State Archives, the Nurnburg State Archives, the University of Bayreuth -- to name a few. Previously published materials were also translated from German for EV.

The author refers Hessian researchers to additional material, not included in EV. For instance, concerning the 4,300 men placed by the Duke of Brunswick, there is “considerable information is available in the state archives in Wolfenbuettel and the Library of Congress” but he has not completed his translation.

I’ve long had a fascination for the Hessian soldiers' part in the American Revolutionary War, have written one or two columns on the subject – perhaps merely reprinting the first with added online reference links in the second

But the hunger to learn more is there – and EV will serve to feed that appetite.

I think the reason Ol' Myrt here does not get as excited about studying the War Between the States is due to strong remnant sentiments pro and con that affect civil sociability in the US today. Perhaps it is that participants in this mid-19th century’s devastating battles feel closer to us that those who served on either side in the Revolution. As members of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War and our dear friends holding membership in the United Daughters of the Confederacy can attest – we have heard personally from the daughters and granddaughters of men who served, so this war is still too painful to adequately study with equanimity.

If any of my DearREADERS wish to follow along and join in a discussion of ENEMY VIEWS: The American Revolutionary War as Recorded by the Hessian Participants I will be happy to entertain the conversation in my blog.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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