Manuscript Group 1044, John M. Scott (d. 1839), War of 1812, Officer Letters, 1812 – 1818

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Manuscript Group 1044, John M. Scott (d. 1839), War of 1812 officer

Letters, 1812 – 1818, 0.05 linear feet / 16 items

Call Number: MG 1044


Letters written by Capt. John M. Scott of the 15th New Jersey Infantry, Army of the North, who saw action against the British in northern New York and Canada during the War of 1812.  Scott wrote the first fifteen letters between August 24, 1812 and July 22, 1813 to his friend David Thompson, Jr. of Morristown.  Of particular interest are letters dealing with the Battle of Fort George, the death of Brig. Gen. Zebulon M. Pike, and the final letter, January 20, 1818, describing the life and mores of New Orleans, LA.  These letters have been transcribed with historical notes.

Biographical Note:

John M. Scott was a Captain in the Fifteenth Infantry Regiment (also known as the New Jersey Regiment) of the United States Army during and after the War of 1812.  The regiment was formed on June 26, 1812 and was made up almost entirely of men from New Jersey.  Scott was with the regiment at the battle of La Colle River, Lower Canada in October 1812; at the battle and capture of York (now Toronto), Upper Canada, on April 27, 1813; and at the battle and capture of Fort George, Upper Canada, on May 27, 1813.  Scott resigned on August 15, 1813 before the regiment fought at the siege and battle of Plattsburgh, New York from September 6 to 14, 1814; at the battle of Fort Erie, Upper Canada, on September 17, 1814; and at the battle of Cook’s Mills, Upper Canada, on October 19, 1814.

John M. Scott was the original commissioner of the Morris Canal and Banking Company and was a director of that company in 1825.  In 1832, he left the company and became the president of the Union Bank of Dover (New Jersey).  He died in Morris County, New Jersey in 1839.


John C. Fredricksen. “The Letters of Captain John Scott, 15th U.S. Infantry: A New Jersey Officer in the War of 1812,” New Jersey History, Vol. 107, No. 3, p. 61-181 (Newark, New Jersey: New Jersey Historical Society, 1989).

Records of Officers and Men of New Jersey in Wars: 1791-1815 (Trenton, New Jersey: State Gazette Publishing, 1909).

Provenance Note:

The source of this collection is unknown.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection consists of 16 letters written by John M. Scott to his friend David Thompson of Morristown, Morris County, New Jersey from 1812 to 1818.  The letters are arranged in chronological order and measure 0.05 linear feet.

The letters were written during Scott’s service in the War of 1812.  Scott described camp life, and the battles at La Colle River, Fort George, Fort Erie and York.  He was quite critical of U.S. General William Hull’s surrender at Detroit in August of 1812, and often aired his opinion of the general disposition of the army.

Related Collections:

Manuscript Group 496, Cornelius Vander hoof (b. 1780), War of 1812 soldier, Military record book

Processed by James Lewis, June 2001 as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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