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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Sources

Description of Series

Colonel Israel Shreve Correspondence

Miscellaneous

University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Israel Shreve Revolutionary War Letters



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Shreve, Israel
Title: Israel Shreve Revolutionary War Letters
Dates: 1768-1894
Abstract: Israel Shreve served as both Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel of the Second New Jersey Regiment in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. In 1779, Shreve and his regiment joined Major General John Sullivan in his campaign against the Tory-allied Iroquois Indians. This collection consists primarily of correspondence between Shreve and other officers in the Continental Army, and between Shreve and his family members.
Identification: uhsish65
Quantity: 1 box, 76 items; .4 linear feet
Repository: Special Collections & Archives, University of Houston Libraries

Biographical Note

Colonel Israel Shreve was born in 1739 in New Jersey. Before rising to a position of military leadership in General George Washington's Continental Army during the American Revolution, he worked as a farmer in Gloucester County.

On Oct. 31, 1775, Shreve was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Regiment of New Jersey troops. On Nov. 28, 1776, he was promoted to Colonel for the reorganized line, which was now known as the Second New Jersey Regiment, Second Establishment.

The 2nd N.J. Regiment fought at the Battle of Brandywine on Sept. 11, 1777, and at the Battle of Germantown on Oct. 4, 1777. They also spent the cold winter of 1777, short of clothing and food supplies, with Washington's troops at Valley Forge.

On June 28, 1778, Shreve played a part in the strange events of the Battle of Monmouth. Major General Charles Lee led the advance column against the British troops, but gave his men hasty orders to retreat after being startled by a counterattack from the British. He did not give word of his decision to General Washington, who was following behind him with the main army. As an angry Washington met up with columns of confused troops falling back from the front, he pressed the approaching Colonel Israel Shreve for an explanation. "Colonel Shreve answered in a very significant manner, smiling, that he did not know, but that he had retreated by order, he did not say by whose order."* Following the Battle of Monmouth, Lee was court-martialled and removed from command.

In July of 1779, Shreve and the 2nd N.J. Regiment joined Major General John Sullivan in his campaign against the Tory-allied Iroquois Indians. Shreve was appointed commander of the expedition's base at Fort Sullivan at Tioga, while General Sullivan and his troops went on a punishing spree against the Indians, burning 40 of their towns and destroying corn, vegetables, and orchards.

According to one source, Shreve was "immensely fat" and such an incompetent officer that in Dec. of 1780 Washington declined to promote him to Brigadier General, saying, "Here I drop the curtain." Shreve retired from the army on Jan. 1, 1781, but for inexplicable reasons remained in command through the rest of the month. In early January, troops in the Pennsylvania Line mutinied over lack of pay and other grievances. When the New Jersey Line followed suit on Jan. 20, Shreve by all accounts botched or neglected handling the situation. At the end of January, Elias Dayton took over as Colonel.

Shreve apparently participated in the General Assembly of New Jersey following the end of his military career. In April 1783, members of the New Jersey Line requested that he represent them to the Assembly on the issue of receiving five years' full pay at the end of their service, rather than half-pay for life.

Shreve returned to farming after the war, eventually settling in the west with his wife and children. He died in 1799.

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Scope and Contents

This 76-item collection mainly consists of letters written to and from Colonel Israel Shreve between the years of 1776 and 1793, with the bulk of the correspondence taking place between the years 1777 and 1780. Most of the correspondence is between Shreve and other officers in George Washington's Continental Army, and was written while Shreve was Colonel of the Second Regiment of New Jersey during the Revolutionary War. The collection is divided into two series, one of the Colonel Israel Shreve Correspondence, and one of Miscellaneous materials, including other correspondence.

Typed transcriptions of these items are available in the bound book THE SHREVE PAPERS 1776-1792, which is located in the collection file.

A set of photocopies of the Israel Shreve holdings of Rutgers University is also available for use. The Rutgers collection includes letters to and from Shreve, as well as documents pertaining to him, which are contemporary with those of this collection. There are 340 photocopied items total.

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Restrictions

Restrictions

Photocopy decisions will be made by Special Collections & Archives staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders.

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Index Terms

Terms are either Library of Congress Subject Headings or taken from local sources.
Subjects (Persons)
Shreve, Israel, 1739-1799
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Subjects (Organizations)
United States. Continental Army. New Jersey Regiment, Second
Subjects
United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
Sullivan's Indian Campaign, 1779

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Israel Shreve Revolutionary War Letters, Courtesy of Special Collections & Archives, University of Houston Libraries.

Acquisition

The greater part of the collection was donated to the University of Houston Libraries in 1965 by Emily Scott Evans. Items 9, 10, and 37 (the George Washington letters and document) were added to the collection by her daughter Mrs. Alice Evans Pratt between 1968 and 1976.

Processed by

Julie Grob, 1995

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Sources

Mark Mayo Boatner. Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. New York: D. McKay Co. [1966].

L.G. Shreve. Tench Tilghman, the life and times of Washington's aide-de-camp. Centreville, Md.: Tidewater Publishers, 1982.

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Detailed Description

 
Box
1, OVS Colonel Israel Shreve Correspondence
This series contains mostly correspondence, plus a few maps and documents. Among the correspondents are General George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, General A.W. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, and General Henry "Lighthouse Harry" Lee. Some correspondence is between Shreve and his wife Mary and his brothers Caleb and William. The items in this series are arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
1 1 General Philip Schuyler to Shreve, Albany, Apr. 5, 1776
2 Lieutenant Colonel Tench Tilghman, aide to General Washington, to Colonel Alexander Scammell, Thursday [ca. 1776-1781]
3 Major General Israel Putnam to Shreve, Putnam, Apr. 5, 1777
4 Brigadier General William Maxwell to Shreve, Westfield, Apr. 11, 1777
5 Account of illness in camps and hospital by Shreve, Chimney Rock, opposite Crown Point, New York, Poem or song, Aug. 4 [1777].undated
6 Adjutant General Timothy Pickering to Major General Lord Sterling, or, in his absence, to Brigadier General William Maxwell, in camp, Aug. 10, 1777
7 General Staff of the Army as of Nov. 1, 1777, Nov. 2, 1777
8 Governor William Livingston to Shreve, Trenton, March 23, 1778
9 General George Washington to Shreve, Headquarters Valley Forge, Apr. 6, 1778
10 General George Washington to Shreve, authorization for the court-martial of William Seeds, Headquarters Valley Forge, Apr. 6, 1778
11 General David Forman, Chief of Washington's Secret Service in New Jersey, Barnegat, to Shreve, Apr. 7, 1778
12 Colonel Israel Shreve to General George Washington (draft), Mount Holly, Apr. 9, 1778
13 Colonel David Rhea to Shreve, Freehold, Apr. 17, 1778
14 Major General Philemon Dickinson to Shreve, Trenton, May 25, 1778
15 Major General Philemon Dickinson to Shreve, Trenton, May 27, 1778
16 Major Richard Howell, With note added by Captain John Peck, Oct. 5, 1778.Oct. 18, 1778
17 Hand-drawn map of Fort Sullivan at Tioga, ca. May-Nov. 1779
18 Alexander Hamilton to Shreve, Headquarters Middlebrook, May 26, 1779
19 James McHenry to Shreve or the officer commanding at Elizabethtown, Headquarters Middlebrook, May 27, 1779
20 Colonel Israel Shreve to General George Washington (draft), Elizabethtown, May 27, 1779
21 Colonel M. Furman to Shreve, Pitts-town, June 10, 1779
22 Major Richard Howell to Shreve, June 12, 1779
23 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Wyoming [Valley], July 8, 1779
24 Peter Scull to Shreve, War Office, July 12, 1779
25 General Edward Hand to Major General John Sullivan, Nesquepee Falls, July 22, 1779
26 Caleb Shreve to Colonel Israel Shreve, Mansfield, July 24, 1779
27 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Fort Sullivan at Tioga, Aug. 28, 1779
28 Benjamin Bruen, Secretary to Major General John Sullivan, to Shreve, Headquarters Newtown, Aug. 30, 1779
29 Colonel William D. Hart to Shreve, Newtown, account of the defeat of the Indians at Newtown, Aug. 30, 1779
30 Colonel Zebulon Butler to Shreve, Wyoming [Valley], Sept. 3, 1779
31 [Major John Ross], Headquarters Kanadasegea [Canadaigua], Sept. 8, 1779
32 Colonel Zebulon Butler to Shreve, Wyoming [Valley], Sept. 10, 1779
33 Robert L. Hooper, Jr. to Shreve, Easton, Sept. 15, 1779
34 Major General John Sullivan to Shreve, Headquarters Connawolowhalley, Sept. 25, 1779
35 Major John Ross to Shreve, Fort Reid, Sept. 25, 1779
36 Captain William Shute to Shreve, Camp Fort Reed, Sept. 26, 1779
37 General George Washington to Shreve, Headquarters Morristown, Jan. 16, 1780
38 General Henry (Lighthouse Harry) Lee to Shreve, Burlington, May 12, 1780
39 Colonel William D. Hart to Shreve, May 20, 1780
40 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Jersey Camp, Bergon County, July 27, 1780
41 Colonel John Stark to Shreve, Nov. 24, 1780
42 (Assistant Adjutant General) John Stagg, Extract from General Orders, Headquarters New Windsor, Dec. 11, 1780
43 Colonel (Adjutant General) Alexander Scammell, Transcript of General Orders, Headquarters New Windsor, Dec. 19, 1780
44 General Anthony Wayne to Shreve, Mount Kemble, With note to Shreve, Dec. 22, 1780.Dec. 25, 1780
45 P. Peres to Shreve, Ramabough, Dec. 26, 1780
46 Colonel (Adjutant General) Alexander Scammell, Extract from General Orders, Headquarters New Windsor, Dec. 31, 1780
47 Jacob Arnold to Jersey officers, Morristown, [Jan. 1,] 1781
48 General Anthony Wayne to the officer commis. the Jersey Brigade, Mount Kemble, Jan. 2, 1780 [1781]
49 Ebenezer Elmer, Brigadier General New Jersey Militia, to Shreve, Camp near New Windsor, Nov. 4, 1782
50 John Combs, N.J. Captain in Revolution, to Shreve, Sunday morning, undated
51 John Beatty, member of the Continental Congress, Major, Sixth Penn. Regiment in Revolution, to Shreve, Annapolis, Apr. 3, 1784
Box Folder
OVS 52 Petition to Congress for lands on the Ohio River, 1784
Box Folder
1 53 John Cox to Shreve, Bloomsbury, Sept. 18, 1784
54 Colonel William Shreve to Colonel Israel Shreve, Westmoreland County, Nov. 20, 1785
55 Colonel William Shreve to Colonel Israel Shreve, Alexandria, Sept. 14, 1787
56 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Pittsburgh, Dec. 30, 1788
57 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Fort Harmar, Muskingum, Jan. 6, 1789
58 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, New Madrid, Apr. 6, 1789
59 Hand-drawn map of "Lancelegrace," possibly in the hand of Colonel Israel Shreve, [1789]
60 Caleb Shreve to Colonel Israel Shreve, Apr. 27, 1789
61 [Printed broadside], Extract from the Minutes of the Proceedings of a General Meeting of the Citizens of Philadelphia, held in the State House yard, on Monday the 30th of July, 1792
62 Printed circular letter to Colonel Israel Shreve, signed by Thomas McKean, James Hutchinson, John Barclay, A.J. Dallas, Jared Ingersoll, and Hilary Baker, Philadelphia, McKean was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Pennsylvania Aug. 3, 1792.
63 Colonel Israel Shreve to Nathan Brown, Jan. 12, 1793
64 Caleb Shreve, Jr to Colonel Israel Shreve, Mount Pleasant, June 20, 1793
Box Folder
OVS 65 Hand-drawn map of City of Symmes, undated

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box folder
1 66-76 Miscellaneous
This series contains miscellaneous items dating from 1768 to 1894. These include letters and documents pertaining to Shreve's relatives, two copies of letters from George Washington which were anonymously handwritten at a much later date, and several unrelated items from the same time period. The items in this series are arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
1 66 Reed, Pardon of Theodosia Hickman by Britain for crime of forni-, Burlington, [--] 30, 1768
67 Thomas Broderick, promissory note to John Atkinson, With noteby Atkinson signing over to Colonel William Shreve, Oct. 11, 1774.Oct. 26, 1774
68 [Washington, George], copy of letter, Headquarters Valley Forge, May 23, 1778
69 Mary Shreve to Lucky Hancock, Newark, Feb. 24, 1779
70 [Washington, George], copy of letter, Headquarters Middlebrook, May 24, 1779
71 Mark Seer, legal document, Nov. 23, 1807
72 Henry M. Shreve to Mary Shreve, St. Louis, Added note from Henry M. Shreve to his sister Aug. 19, 1810.
73 Masonic membership certificate for Able Dunham, Triluminar Lodge No. 117, in the vicinity of Bruce's Mill, Virginia, March 19, 1822
74 Philip A. Bruce, Richmond, Virginia, June 19, 1894. With note added in reply by Henry L. Scott, July 2, 1894
75 [Abraham Dyson], mathematical problem, undated
76 Portion of document with name of Colonel Israel Shreve, undated

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