A Return of the NY Regiment

Yellowed and stained pages with hand written list of men with number columns indicating the number of men fit for duty, sick, etc.
Entry from the Myndert Roseboom ledger detailing a return of the NY Regiment.

NPS photo.

Camp Oswego 1759

In 1759, the British and French were in the middle of the French and Indian War. The NY Provincials were stationed at Camp Oswego, an important port on Lake Ontario used for trade and military movement.

This entry from the Myndert Roseboom ledger gives details of a military return for the NY Regiment at Oswego, NY. The entry, dated July 15, 1759, details the number of men under each captain's company within the first and second battalions. These two battalions would eventually go separate ways, one to Fort Niagara and the other staying behind to reconstruct Fort Ontario.

Each captain had at least one lieutenant, and multiple sergeants, corporals, and privates within their command. This entry is a snapshot in time and reveals the effectiveness of the regiment as indicated by the number of men who are "fit for duty" and others who are "sick and lame". This record detailing the number of men and various enlisted ranks and duties by battalions would have provided military leaders with essential information.

 
Rotated image of handwritten blacksmith, waiters, bakers, listed on the return.
Rotated image of listed laborers with the NY regiment.

NPS image

Different specialized occupations are also listed. For instance, waiters would oversee the transport of goods and supplies with their team of horses or oxen. A cattle guard would also herd the cattle that traveled with the companies as a source of food. Blacksmiths, bakers and carpenters were also important to maintain the needs of the battalions. Horses would need shoeing, bread was rationed daily, and carpenters built and repaired everything from architectural features of the forts they were posted at, to transportation vehicles like wagons and cannon carriages.

Of particular interest on this page is the name of Captain Herkimer. This is likely the same Herkimer who would later become Brigadier General of the Tryon County militia during the American Revolution and who was at the Battle of Oriskany in 1777. This return is also signed by Major Myndert Roseboom, the owner of the book, who continued to work his way up in the NY Provincials and by 1760 had become Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rdNY regiment (DeLancy 1891).

 
Transcribed pages from Roseboom ledger.
Transcibed entry of the Return of the NY Regiment from the Myndert Roseboom ledger. Click on image to expand view.

NPS transcription.

Bookkeeping

Unlike most entries in this book, the left and right pages comprise one document. When reviewing the roster in total, it is evident that there are a number of 'strike-overs,' which are clearly visible on the original document. When this occurs, first, one number is entered and then another number is written over the first in an attempt to make a correction. Only the correct or final number is shown on the transcription.

A color-coded version of the transcription is also provided so that the original and final numbers can be more clearly seen. This is helpful when analyzing the totals since these are not always correct. Basic math was used on this page to add the columns and rows.

There was one mathematical error made when totaling the number of Lieutenants in Captain Rea's company. The "Fit for Duty" column shows two Lieutenants, while the final "Total" column shows only one. When the "Total" column is added, the correct number of Lieutenants was accounted for. This suggests that the author added the individual column totals to arrive at number given in the "Total" column instead of adding the column vertically. The author might have caught this mistake if he had cross checked his math!

 

Further Questions

Myndert Roseboom identified this book as a waste book, or type of book traditionally used in book keeping. Why would a military record be kept in Myndert's personal financial book? One would assume that the official military record, especially a regimental return, would be kept in a formal military ledger or orderly book.

 
 

Last updated: October 4, 2017

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