Manuscript Group 962, Niagara Expedition Manuscript Collection, 1755 – 1756

Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 962, Niagara Expedition

Manuscript Collection, 1755 – 1756, 0.09 linear feet / 4 folders

Call Number: MG 962



Letters, ship inventories, and military records pertaining to the provisioning of British forces assigned to attack Fort Niagara at the beginning of the French and Indian War.  Included is correspondence of William Alexander, Lord Stirling; Oliver de Lancey; Hans Hansen; William Johnston; Lewis Morris (1726-1798); John Murray; and Daniel Wier.  Peter Van Brugh Livingston (1710-1792); and his brother-in-law, William Alexander (1726-1783), held a commission from William Shirley (1694-1771), commander of the Niagara Expedition, to supply military provisions.

Historical Note:

Governor William Shirley (1693-1771) of Massachusetts became Commander-in-Chief of British forces in America in 1755.  He concocted a plan for British forces to seize the Ohio Valley from the French by capturing Fort Niagara.  The New Jersey militia sent 500 men from its ranks including men from the Jersey Blues, the Fiftieth and Fifty-First Regiments to be part of the Royal American Regiment.  This unit traveled first to Oswego, New York where they received new provisions and from there began their march on Fort Niagara.  The French forces from Frontenac, now known as Kingston (across Lake Ontario from Oswego) and the great difficulty in procuring adequate supplies doomed the Niagara Expedition.

Three years later, in 1759, a Niagara expedition led by William Johnson succeeded in capturing Fort Niagara.


Provenance Note:

The source of this collection is unknown.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection consists of letters, military instructions, inventories, and receipts used during the Niagara Expedition from 1755-1756 and measuring 0.09 linear feet.  The letters are addressed mainly to Peter van Brugh Livingston (1710-1792) the agent for the Commissaries of Provision stationed in New York City, and discuss supplies for the Niagara Expedition.  Also included in this series is a letter addressed to William Alexander, Lord Stirling (1726-1783) regarding the movement of Governor Shirley’s regiment from Providence, Rhode Island to Lake Ontario.

The collection also contains a list of the officers in the Royal American Regiment and two sets of instructions.  The first is a set of recruiting instructions and the second discusses how officers should parade and march.

The remaining folders contain accounts and inventories for supplies ranging from coopers tools to munitions to wine.  These papers indicate which items were needed and which were available.

Folder List:

Folder Title Dates
1 Letters to Provisions Commissioners 1755-1756
2 Royal American Regiment Officers Instructions 1755-1756
3 Royal American Regiment Inventories 1755-1756
4 Royal American Regiment Accounts 1755-1756

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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