Manuscript Group 232, William Barton (fl. 1776-1779), Continental Army Officer Journal, 1779


Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 232, William Barton (fl. 1776-1779), Continental Army Officer
Journal, 1779, 0.08 linear feet / 1 volume
Call Number: MG 232



Kept by a lieutenant in the First New Jersey Continental Regiment during Major General John Sullivan’s expedition against the Indians. The journal covers the period May-October 8, 1779. The major portion of Lieutenant Barton’s journal was printed in: NJHS Proceedings, Ser. 1, 2 (1846): 22-42; Frederick Cook, comp., Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan against the Six Nations of Indians in 1779…(Auburn, NY, 1887), pgs. 3-15.

Biographical Note:

William Barton, the son of Gilbert Barton of Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, entered the Continental Army in 1776 as an ensign. He was promoted in the First Regiment of New Jersey, from first lieutenant to quartermaster and then captain. While serving as first lieutenant he partook in General John Sullivan’s expedition against the Iroquois in the Wyoming and Susquehanna valleys in 1779. He was discharged from the Continental Army at the end of the war.

William Barton married Mirabean Lawrence and together they had two sons: Eleazer and Jacob. Barton and his family settled near Marcella, New Jersey.

Historical Note:

The First New Jersey Regiment was authorized on October 9, 1775 and organized from October 26 to December 15, 1775 at Elizabethtown and Perth Amboy. Colonel William Alexander (1726-1783), Lord Stirling was the commanding officer. The regiment was assigned to the Canada Department in April of 1776, transferred to the Northern Department in July of 1776, and was then assigned to the main army in May of 1777. On February 9, 1779 the regiment was reorganized from eight companies to nine companies and on March 1, 1783 was renamed the New Jersey Regiment. The regiment fought in the Defense of Canada, Lake Champlain, Northern New Jersey, New York (1777), Defense of Philadelphia, Philadelphia-Monmouth, Iroquois (1779), New Jersey (1780) and Yorktown (1781) campaigns. The regiment was furloughed on June 6, 1783 and disbanded November 15, 1783.


Barbara Hoskins. Men from Morris County New Jersey Who Served in the American Revolution (Friends of the Joint Free Public Library of Morristown and Morris Township, Morristown, New Jersey, 1979).

William S. Stryker. Official Register of the Officers and men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War (Wm. T. Nicholson and Co. Trenton, New Jersey, 1872).

Provenance Note:

The source of this collection is unknown.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection consists of a journal kept by William Barton from May 11 to October 8, 1779. Barton writes daily about the day’s activities which often consist of breaking camp, marching in the Wyoming or Susquehanna River valleys, and setting up camp. He gives a brief description of the terrain and notes any unusual events. One such example is on June 12, 1779, when Barton’s regiment, the First New Jersey Regiment of the Continental Army, was attacked by Native North Americans who killed six or seven patriots and wounded another nine. The journal has been reprinted in the Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Vol. 1, No. 2, pages 22-42.

Related Collections:

Manuscript Group 833, First New Jersey Continental Regiment Account book

For more materials written by William Barton see:

Robert Fridlington’s “A Diversion in Newark: A Letter from the New Jersey Continental Line, 1778,” in New Jersey History, Vol. 105, Pages 75-78.

Processed by James Lewis, May 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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