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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

Biographical Information:

Scope and Contents

Restrictions

Access Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Colonel Israel Shreve Correspondence

Miscellaneous

University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Guide to the Israel Shreve Revolutionary War Letters



Overview of the Collection

Creator Shreve, Israel, 1739-1799
Collection Title Israel Shreve Revolutionary War Letters
Dates 1768-1894
Identification 10/1965-001
Physical Description 0.50 linear feet
Language of Materials English
Other Information:
Uploaded to TARO, 2005.
For more information please see http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uhsc/00024/hsc-00024.html.
Repository University of Houston Libraries M.D. Anderson Library 4333 University Drive Houston, TX, 77204-2000 URL: http://info.lib.uh.edu/ Email: rmrichardson@uh.edu Phone: 713-743-9229

Biographical Information:

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 October 31, 1775, Shreve was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Regiment of New Jersey troops. On November 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 September 11, 1777, and at the Battle of Germantown on October 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 December of 1780 Washington declined to promote him to Brigadier General, saying, "Here I drop the curtain." Shreve retired from the army on January 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 January 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

Conditions Governing Access:

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

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Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Corporate Name:
United States. Continental Army. New York Artillery Regiment, 2nd
Genre/Form of Material:
Correspondence
Geographic Name:
United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
Personal Name:
Shreve, Israel, 1739-1799
Washington, George, 1732-1799

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

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

Acquisition Information:

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.

Processing Information:

Julie Grob, 1995

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Detailed List of Contents

Colonel Israel Shreve Correspondence

Scope and Contents
This series contains mostly correspondence, plus a few maps and documents. Among the correspondents are General George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, General A.W. Anthony Wayne, and General Henry 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 April 5, 1776
Letter from Philip Schuyler to Israel Shreve
2 Lieutenant Colonel Tench Tilghman, aide to General Washington, to Colonel Alexander Scammell Thursday [approximately 1776-1781]
Letter from Tench Tilghman to Alexander Scammell
3 Major General Israel Putnam to Shreve, Princeton April 5, 1777
Letter from Israel Putnam to Israel Shreve
4 Brigadier General William Maxwell to Shreve, Westfield April 11, 1777
Letter from William Maxwell to Israel Shreve
5 Account of illness in camps and hospital by Shreve, Chimney Point, opposite Crown Point, New York, Poem or song August 4 [1777], undated
Letter from Israel Shreve regarding illness in camps and hospital
6 Adjutant General Timothy Pickering to Major General Lord Sterling, or, in his absence, to Brigadier General William Maxwell, in camp August 10, 1777
Letter from Timothy Pickering to Lord Sterling
7 General Staff of the Army as of November 1, 1777 November 2, 1777
Letter regarding list of general staff of army
8 Governor William Livingston to Shreve, Trenton March 23, 1778
Letter from William Livingston to Israel Shreve
9 General George Washington to Shreve, Headquarters Valley Forge April 6, 1778
Letter from George Washington to Israel Shreve
10 General George Washington to Shreve, authorization for the court-martial of William Seeds, Headquarters Valley Forge April 6, 1778
Letter from George Washington to Israel Shreve regarding the court-martial of William Seeds
11 General David Forman, Chief of Washington's Secret Service in New Jersey, Barnegat, to Shreve April 7, 1778
Letter from David Forman to Israel Shreve
12 Colonel Israel Shreve to General George Washington (draft), Mount Holly April 9, 1778
Letter from George Washington to Israel Shreve
13 Colonel David Rhea to Shreve, Freehold April 17, 1778
Letter from Colonel David Rhea to Israel Shreve
14 Major General Philemon Dickinson to Shreve, Trenton May 25, 1778
Letter from Philemon Dickinson to Israel Shreve
15 Major General Philemon Dickinson to Shreve, Trenton May 27, 1778
Letter from Philemon Dickinson to Israel Shreve
16 Major Richard Howell, with note added by Captain John Peck October 5, 1778, October 18, 1778
Letter from Richard Howell to Israel Shreve
17 Hand-drawn map of Fort Sullivan at Tioga approximately May-November 1779
Letter regarding hand-drawn map of Fort Sullivan at Tioga
18 Alexander Hamilton to Shreve, Headquarters Middlebrook May 26, 1779
Letter from Alexander Hamilton to Israel Shreve
19 James McHenry to Shreve or the officer commanding at Elizabethtown, Headquarters Middlebrook May 27, 1779
Letter from James McHenry to Israel Shreve
20 Colonel Israel Shreve to General George Washington (draft), Elizabethtown May 27, 1779
Letter from Israel Shreve to George Washington
21 Colonel M. Furman to Shreve, Pitts-town June 10, 1779
Letter from M. Furman to Israel Shreve
22 Major Richard Howell to Shreve June 12, 1779
Letter from Richard Howell to Israel Shreve
23 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Wyoming [Valley] July 8, 1779
Letter from Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve
24 Peter Scull to Shreve, War Office July 12, 1779
Letter from Peter Scull to Israel Shreve
25 General Edward Hand to Major General John Sullivan, Nesquepee Falls July 22, 1779
Letter from Edward Hand to John Sullivan
26 Caleb Shreve to Colonel Israel Shreve, Mansfield July 24, 1779
Letter from Caleb Shreve to Israel Shreve
27 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Fort Sullivan at Tioga August 28, 1779
Letter from Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve
28 Benjamin Bruen, Secretary to Major General John Sullivan, to Shreve, Headquarters Newtown August 30, 1779
Letter from Benjamin Bruen to Israel Shreve
29 Colonel William D'Hart to Shreve, Newtown, account of the defeat of the Indians at Newtown August 30, 1779
Letter from William D'Hart to Israel Shreve
30 Colonel Zebulon Butler to Shreve, Wyoming [Valley] September 3, 1779
Letter from Zebulon Butler to Israel Shreve
31 [Major John Ross], Headquarters Kanadasegea [Canadaigua] September 8, 1779
Letter from John Ross to Israel Shreve
32 Colonel Zebulon Butler to Shreve, Wyoming [Valley] September 10, 1779
Letter from Zebulon Butler to Israel Shreve
33 Robert L. Hooper, Jr. to Shreve, Easton September 15, 1779
Letter from Robert L. Hooper, Jr. to Israel Shreve
34 Major General John Sullivan to Shreve, Headquarters Connawolowhalley September 25, 1779
Letter from John Sullivan to Israel Shreve
35 Major John Ross to Shreve, Fort Reid September 25, 1779
Letter from John Ross to Israel Shreve
36 Captain William Shute to Shreve, Camp Fort Reed September 26, 1779
Letter from William Shute to Israel Shreve
37 General George Washington to Shreve, Headquarters Morristown January 16, 1780
Letter from George Washington to Israel Shreve
38 General Henry ("Light Horse Harry") Lee to Shreve, Burlington May 12, 1780
Letter from Henry Lee (Light Horse Harry) to Israel Shreve
39 Colonel William D'Hart to Shreve May 20, 1780
Letter from William D'Hart to Israel Shreve
40 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Jersey Camp, Bergon County July 27, 1780
Letter from Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve
41 Colonel John Stark to Shreve November 24, 1780
Letter from John Stark to Israel Shreve
42 (Assistant Adjutant General) John Stagg, Extract from General Orders, Headquarters New Windsor December 11, 1780
Letter from John Stagg regarding General Orders
43 Colonel (Adjutant General) Alexander Scammell, Transcript of General Orders, Headquarters New Windsor December 19, 1780
Transcript from Alexander Scammell regarding General Orders
44 General Anthony Wayne to Shreve, Mount Kemble, with note to Shreve December 22, 1780, December 25, 1780
Letter from Anthony Wayne to Israel Shreve
45 P. Peres to Shreve, Ramabough December 26, 1780
Letter from P. Peres to Israel Shreve
46 Colonel (Adjutant General) Alexander Scammell, Extract from General Orders, Headquarters New Windsor December 31, 1780
Letter from Alexander Scammell regarding General Orders
47 Jacob Arnold to Jersey officers, Morristown [January 1,] 1781
Letter from Jacob Arnold to Jersey Officers
48 General Anthony Wayne to the officer commis, the Jersey Brigade, Mount Kemble January 2, 1780 [1781]
Letter from Anthony Wayne to Jersey Brigade
49 Ebenezer Elmer, Brigadier General New Jersey Militia, to Shreve, Camp near New Windsor November 4, 1782
Letter from Ebenezer Elmer to Israel Shreve
50 John Combs, N.J. Captain in Revolution, to Shreve Sunday morning, undated
Letter from John Combs to Israel Shreve
51 John Beatty, member of the Continental Congress, Major, Sixth Penn. Regiment in Revolution, to Shreve, Annapolis April 3, 1784
52 [OVS] Petition to Congress for lands on the Ohio River 1784
Letter regarding petition to congress for lands on the Ohio River
53 John Cox to Shreve, Bloomsbury September 18, 1784
Letter from John Cox to Israel Shreve
54 Colonel William Shreve to Colonel Israel Shreve, Westmoreland County November 20, 1785
Letter from John Beatty to Israel Shreve
Letter from William Shreve to Israel Shreve
55 Colonel William Shreve to Colonel Israel Shreve, Alexandria September 14, 1787
Letter from William Shreve to Israel Shreve
56 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Pittsburgh December 30, 1788
Letter from Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve
57 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, Fort Harmar, Muskingum January 6, 1789
Letter from Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve
58 Colonel Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve, New Madrid April 6, 1789
Letter from Israel Shreve to Mary Shreve
59 Hand-drawn map of "Lancelegrace," possibly in the hand of Colonel Israel Shreve [1789]
Letter from Israel Shreve regarding hand-drawn map of Lancelgrace
60 Caleb Shreve to Colonel Israel Shreve, Mansfield April 27, 1789
Letter from Caleb Shreve to Israel Shreve
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 Monday the 30th of July, 1792
Letter regarding minutes of the proceedings of a General Meeting
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 August 3, 1792
Letter from multiple signees to Israel Shreve
63 Colonel Israel Shreve to Nathan Brown January 12, 1793
Letter from Israel Shreve to Nathan Brown
64 Caleb Shreve, Jr. to Colonel Israel Shreve, Mount Pleasant June 20, 1793
Letter from Caleb Shreve Jr. to Israel Shreve
65 [OVS] Hand-drawn map of City of Symmes undated
Letter regarding hand-drawn map of City of Symmes

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Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents
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
2 66 Reed, Pardon of Theodosia Hickman by Britain for crime of forni-, Burlington [--] 30, 1768
Letter from Reed regarding pardon of Theodosia Hickman
67 Thomas Broderick, promissory note to John Atkinson, with note by Atkinson signing over to Colonel William Shreve October 11, 1774, October 26, 1774
Letter from Thomas Broderick to John Atkinson regarding promissory note
68 [Washington, George], copy of letter, Headquarters Valley Forge May 23, 1778
Letter from George Washington
69 Mary Shreve to Lucky Hancock, Newark February 24, 1779
Letter from Mary Shreve to Lucky Hancock
70 [Washington, George], copy of letter, Headquarters Middlebrook May 24, 1779
Letter from George Washington
71 Mark Seer, legal document November 23, 1807
Letter from Mark Seer regarding legal document
72 Henry M. Shreve to Mary Shreve, St. Louis, added note from Henry M. Shreve to his sister August 19, 1810
Letter from Henry M. Shreve to Mary Shreve
73 Masonic membership certificate for Able Dunham, Triluminar Lodge No. 117, in the vicinity of Bruce's Mill, Virginia March 19, 1822
Masonic membership certificate of Able Dunham
74 Philip A. Bruce, Richmond, Virginia, June 19, 1894, with note added in reply by Henry L. Scott July 2, 1894
Letter from Philip A. Bruce to Henry L. Scott
75 [Abraham Dyson], mathematical problem undated
Undated document with name of Israel Shreve
Letter from Abraham Dyson regarding mathematical problem
76 Portion of document with name of Colonel Israel Shreve undated

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