Online Primary Sources for American History: Letters To and From American Revolutionary Generals

Here is one of many lists we found of American generals during the Revolutionary War; we chose this one because it was not plagued with ads and pop-ups. Trying to find letters written by these individuals, or letters mentioning them, or letters received by them is a time-consuming and at times fruitless process. However, using the Founders Online site, you can retrieve thousands of missives, all transcribed and processed using the latest editorial methods and tools at hand. While this site is indeed about preserving and disseminating the letters of six Founding Fathers, embedded within its offerings are letters from and to such worthies as Nathanael Greene, Israel Putnam, Joseph Reed, Henry Knox, Horatio Gates, Daniel Morgan, and others. Note well that most of these writings revolve around the Revolutionary War so you will not find much written after the 1780s; this is NOT the place to find all their letters, but it does offer a substantial number contemporaneous with that mighty struggle – the first Brexit if you will. For example, typing in “Nathanael Greene” (and use the quotation marks) in the dialog box will retrieve in total 1325 letters: 343 authored by Greene, 258 received by Greene, and the rest mentioning him in the text of the letters. Of this number, 1152 are generated during the period of the American Revolution. This same pattern is repeated with any of the aforementioned names as well. So while not inclusive, this site does provide this bonus feature of revealing valuable documents written by others than the Founding Fathers.

 

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