German Archives as Sources of German-American History

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German Archives as Sources of German-American History

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UNIVERSITY

PENNSVm^HIA LIBRAKIES

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By

J.

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ROSENGARTEN

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REPRINTED FROM

(Berman amertcan Hnnale VOLUME V

1907

GERMAN ARCHIVES AS SOURCES OF GERMANAMERICAN HISTORY. Paper read before the Pennsylvania German 1907, by J. G. Rosengarten.

'Society,

October,

There yet remain many sources of information unexhausted by Germans in American history.

as to details of the part played

In the archives at Marburg,

still

made

practically inaccessible

by the want of interest of the keeper in American history, there must be much of value and interest. Every German officer was required to make full reports for the home authorities and to



keep journals for inspection few of these have been printed. It would be well for the Pennsylvania German Society to invite co-operation of similar bodies in asking the U. S. Government to secure from the German Government access to the Marburg and other collections, and to

make

calendars with a descriptive ac-

count of the most interesting papers. is

The Library

of Congress

having such calendars made in the State Paper Office and other

record depositories in England, of papers relating to American history, particularly that of the Revolution.

In a recent volume

of the invaluable publication, the Report of the English Historical

Commission, there are detailed descriptions of various mat-

ters relating to the this country.

German

soldiers serving with the British in

There are curious and interesting descriptions of

made by the American authorities to secure recruits German soldiers who were prisoners of war both men

the efforts

from the and

officers reported quite fully



on

this subject,

and

clearly there

must have been many successful conversions of the German soldiers into good Americans, for substantial inducements and rewards were held out. We hear from time to time of good American citizens claiming descent from Hessian soldiers who remained and settled in this country, and particularly in Pennsylvania,

as Sources of German- American History

German Archives

4

Maryland and Virginia, where many of them found homes with their fellow

countrymen, old

settlers,

often with old friends and neighbors

sometimes with

in the Fatherland.

relations,

The

late

Rev. Dr. Morris, of Baltimore, himself an active worker in the Germans in Maryland, was very proud that he was the

history of

son of a Hessian

who had

army and served with

joined the American

honored

citizen of

left the British forces at

to gather the particulars of such

cases,

which must have been very numerous

Then,

too, the royal

Britain, in

and became an

credit,

York.

would be interesting

It

York, Pa.,

masters

who had sold

in the aggregate.

men

their

to Great

encouraged them to take leave of their old flag and

America, for thus

home were did so and

solved.

all

It

would be

how many brought

from the Fatherland

settle

questions of pension compensation at interesting to

know how many

family and friends and neighbors

to settle in

America, and thus started that

stream of immigration which flowed so strongly and enriched the United States with so large a part of one of

its

most valuable

German American citizens. Then again, it has often been asked, "What colors did the German troops serving with the British army carry and what became of them?" It is

elements, our

recorded in the interesting Berufsreise of

Madam

she saved the colors of her husband's regiment,

Riedesel, that

when

it

surren-

dered with Burgoyne at Saratoga, by sewing them up in her coats,

and thus carried them home.

them, together with in the city of

devoted

many

Unluckily, a

petti-

destroyed

of the records of the Brunswick troops,

Brunswick. Mr. Gherardi Davis, of

much

fire

New

York, has

time and attention to the study of the flags carried

Revolution

by both

American and

in

the

He

has recently printed a book of great interest and value on

the subject.

Here

in the collection

foreign

troops.

of the Historical Society of

Pennsylvania, are preserved the almost faded and perishing colors of the Anspach regiment, and at

York

Historical Society there are

West Point and in the New others. The Rev. Dr. Edward

German Archives

German- American History

as Sources of

5

Everett Hale, an indefatigable octogenarian, remembers having seen staffs with German colors, captured at the Battle of Ben-

Baum's Heavy Brunswick Dragoons were routed by Stark's Militia Sharp Shooters. The colors have long smce nington, where

disappeared, so that they cannot be identified, but the flagstaffs are still piously preserved in the Old North Church, of Boston.

Thanks to the kindly interposition of His Excellency, the Hon. Charlemagne Tower, American Ambassador to Germany, the effort

now being made

is

ductions of

all

America, and

the flags carried by

if it is

a collection of repro-

in Berlin to secure

German

troops serving in

only approximately complete,

it

will be

an

Mr. Davis' work.

and At West Point there are also some German flags captured by the Americans, and these will no doubt be identified by comparison with the German reproductions. There are some huge illustration of

interesting addition to

German Dragoon

boots and some arms preserved in Bennington,

as relics of that victory which so clearly established the superiority

of the American sharpshooter over the trained

for warfare in our mountain country.

Germans carry home, other than Riedesel

soldier,

trophies did the

drummers taken by

where tradition and the writers of novels have preserved their memory and perhaps exag-

to

historical

What

the colored

German

Brunswick,

gerated it?

A

valuable addition to our better knowledge of the actual

and surroundings of the German soldiers here, is derived from their journals and diaries. To the growing number of these personal records. Prof. Learned has added the Waldeck Diary, kept by a chaplain of that name and of the Waldeck regiment. He has enriched the value and interest of the text by

life

notes supplied by his

and by

own

intimate knowledge of the subject,

special research in foreign archives.

After

all,

however,

remembered that every ofiicer must and many did keep diaries and journals, what we have of them in

when

it is

a very small proportion of those

still

in

soldiers

print

is

uncatalogued archivei

German Archives

6

as Sources of German-American History

Not long since, one such journal, Captain in private hands. Dernberg's, was printed on the anniversary of a great public

and

Germany

school in is

to be

as a tribute to

hoped that many more

one of

former

its

pupils.

It

will yet see the light, for every

such diary brings us in close touch with the

men and

the deeds

and the events of that heroic time, the war for American Independence and as much can be learned from the statements made in all good faith of those who tried to prevent it, as from its ;

most ardent supporters.

In the latest and one of the best works

on the subject, that of Sir George Trevellyan, to note the extent to

it

is

interesting

which he has drawn from such sources,

mostly hitherto unused by the solemn historian of the old school, but

in the

hands of so great a master as Sir George Trevellyan,

adding entirely new

light to the picture he

struggle for American independence.

It

that the Declaration of Independence

draws of the great

must be recognized,

was almost

as

too,

much one

From England as of America. power of the Crown diminished

for constitutional liberty of the

peace

and

that

of

Paris,

the

Parliament

of

What

increased.

ican example and experience

influence

Amer-

had on the Germans who served

in

nowhere distinctly stated, yet there can be little doubt that the American War of Independence was a large factor in the struggle against Napoleon and the final establishment of Germany as an independent power, and later on of its logical this country,

is

outgrowth, the German Empire of to-day. ican pamphlet or

book or record of

and published

Germany.

in

Many

its

Almost every Amer-

Congress, was translated

of these and other contem-

porary publications have historical interest to-day, as showing the trend of political sympathy and opinion of day,

its

close

between the fessors,

and watchful

Hanoverians and side,

and the

that

America, and the difference

particularly the Gottingen Pro-

King of Germany on the

naturally sympathizing with their elector the

England, on one other.

interest in

Germany of

rest of intellectual

German Archives

We

as Sources of

German- American History

remember gratefully

all

eloquent diatribes

Schiller's

who

against the petty sovereigns

7

sold their subjects to fight in

America, against freedom, and in a cause with which they had

no concern and certainly no reason for interesting to

mained

in

know how many

of these

hostility.

German

It

would be

"hirelings" re-

how many

or returned to this country, and

other

sturdy Germans were led to come here as settlers by the favorable report of the people and the country in which they had gained so

little

much knowledge and

honor, but so

large accession of Germans, with

and other virtues of the

German

race,

the thrift and perseverance

be due, in a large part, to the

own

soldiers sent here without their

At

maintain British control.

and preserve visit

all

may all

The

experience.

events,

it

consent, to help

would be well

to secure

and personal narratives of their enforced to America and all the stories of America told by them and all official

To

others on their return.

the patient and persevering researches

of Dr. Sachse, this Society and the public that reads

may

lished volumes,

make acknowledgment

well

its

pub-

for the light

he has thrown on the early history of the sects that came to this country of freedom of religious opinion, on the help that Germans

gave Pennsylvania

Other workers added

to

inal papers,

now

in

its

now

this great

Com-

leaders of thought and action.

other fields of historical research have

our knowledge of the early

not this Society

public

founding of

in the successful

monwealth, and on some of

lend

its

settlers of

Pennsylvania. Will

help to procuring copies,

if

not orig-

from the German archives and from both private and and

collections,

add

being slowly gathered

of the venerable

German

them

in the

to

the

historical

Library of Congress,

material in that

Society of Pennsylvania, and in the

Library of the University of Pennsylvania and in that of the Historical

Society



all

gradually growing

in

importance.

What

Seidensticker and Pennypacker have done for early Pennsylvania history;

what Rattermann, of

of Germans and

German

Cincinnati, has done for the history

literature in

America what ;

this Society

German Archives

8

has done and

doing for a better knowledge of Pennsyl-

still

is

as Sources of German- American History

vania Germans, their history, their religion, their customs and

what Learned has done for their literature and steady growth and development, all of these and kindred con-

their ancestry; its

tributions

may

well be an inspiration to continued

from

effort to collect

all

quarters

have so greatly helped to make

all

records of the

this nation

and renewed

Germans who

and much of

its

his-

tory.

There torical

is

a large harvest to be gathered of printed books, His-

and geographical

ica,

descriptions, biographies

and poetry, written by Germans

raphies, novels

during the long period from the

in this

country

local authors,

their

down

in

in this country, both in

much

war and

this

German our own day.

that throws light on the

Pennsylvania, from the

in peace.

Indi-

of this material, but the

Pennsylvania German Society might well enter all

Germans

own day. Hessian and Swabian much wider fame, have written about

vidual collectors have gathered

secure copies of

and on Amer-

settlement of

to our

and others of

countrymen

first

and autobiog-

field

and

settlers of

comers to With the recent development of close and friendly relations between the German Empire and the United States, it ought to first

be possible to have access to

German archives with their wealth own history, national and local. In war matters, Kapp and Lowell have given us much in print, but they and others have left much still in manuscript. Mr. Banof material relating to our

croft's collection of material for his

History of the United States,

largely collected for

him by Kapp, is now accessible in the Lenox Library, in New York. Mr. Lowell's admirable ho6k,The Hessian Troops in the American Revolution, by no means exhausted the wealth of original documents procured by

stay in

mission to this tive, to

dents.

him during a long His representatives would no doubt give perSociety, through a properly accredited representa-

Germany.

make a selection of material to print for the use of stuTh^ English Historical Commission Reports, Doniol's ex-

German Archives haustive

as Sources of German- American History

work on France and

9

the United States, are examples of

the kind of material that can be found in hitherto hidden archives

and

Amandus Johnson, found in Sweden new

Pennsylvania, has

knowledge of the history of Surely our

An

belonging to individuals.

in collections

dish-American, Mr.

German

its

industrious Swe-

of the University of material for the better

early settlements on the Delaware.

students can do as

much

for us at

home and

abroad.

An American author, Mr. Henry Charles Lea, has won great and deserved reputation, even greater in Europe than in this monumental

country, by his

the subjects he has

on

made

historical writings; his

his large collection of original,

gathered

in

mastery of

his special field of research,

is

based

mainly manuscript material,

Spain and in the countries that were formerly Span-

ish colonies, in

Mexico and

in

Peru, as well as in Germany, where

the great university libraries have furnished much hitherto unused material for this greatest of American historians. True, it is

his ability to

know how

honored wherever lect his

a wide

it

that has

kindred bodies

Cannot in

first

so widely

he had to col-

of research and collection open to

this

still

remain for the

dil-

Society enlist the co-operation of

obtaining copies from the

German

archives,

documents throwing new light on the history of Germans and other States ? Will not such a task be an inspiration

all

this

made him

Society and to kindred bodies, a field

which new discoveries of old material

igent student?

all

field

German

the Pennsylvania

of

to use

works are known, but

sources from afar.

Is there not

in

his

who

in

to

are looking for subjects on which to obtain and dissem-

inate a larger

knowledge of our past history, and thus show them which is the highest honor of American citizen-

that patriotism ship,

and make known what Germans and Germany have done

for this country?

How

invaluable would be a diary, even crudely written, by a resident of Hesse or any of the small German States, during

German Archives

lo

the

war

as Sources of

German- American History

of the American Revolution, telHng the story of the rais-

ing of troops for service in America, of the departure of indireports and

vidual soldiers and organizations, of the received at

home from

rumors

the distant soldiers, and of their return

and welcome home. We have a few diaries and journals kept by the soldiers, and even by the officers, and there must be many

more

still

in manuscript.

Sir George Trevellyan's recent volumes

of history of the American Revolution show, almost for the

first

England towards the Amerand there must be material for some similar view of the

time, the state of public opinion in icans,

feeling of the

German

families towards the country to

which the

many among the Germans in both Germany and Apart from military records and reports, we want to

sons had been sent to subdue a rebellion that found so

warm

supporters

America.

know what was was

there

little

the general drift of sentiment

or none in those days of

bad governments.

What was

German in spite

was prosperity for every industrious family, ground down by taxes and hopeless of

to

of war, there

poor Germany,

either political or social

?

Were

not the returned soldiers the best advocates for that

emigration which benefited both countries? historical novel, dealing with a

Hessian

A

soldier,

a brother, long before settled in Pennsylvania,

not this the condition of

their friends

and

many

families,

relatives across the ocean

recent

German

makes him

who

comfort and prospects with those of the family

Was

separate and

the result of the return of several

thousand soldiers from a country where,

future

of public opinion

;

left in

who

find

contrasted his

Germany.

gladly joined

and thus helped to

What the Halleschc Nachrichten do for a better knowledge of the religious life of the Germans in America, the letters and diaries and journals of German soldiers

swell the tide of emigration?

here during the Revolution will do for a

more intimate view of

actual life in this country.

Professor Learned and Mr. Myers have

made an

interesting

1

German Archives exhibit at

as Sources of German- American History

Jamestown of charts showing

1

the gradual spread of

German and other migrations from the North to the South and West in Colonial days, and after the Revolution and the ConstiThey have tution had opened the whole Union to newcomers. also gathered many interesting relics of those early days, showing the implements of trade in farming try to collect the printed

how Germany ica, and how

learned to this

and other

and manuscript material that

know

Why

pursuits.

will

not

show

the boundless resources of Amer-

country became a prosperous

thousands of Germans whose descendants

still

home

honor

for the

their ances-

try in this and other States.

Much and

in the

this Society,

local history

well find a similar

way

of research and collection

proud of

its

still

field

societies.

of activity in inviting the co-operation of

United

cannot

effort

fail

to

open archives

from public and private sources,

of value and interest for a better knowledge of our

settlers

and emigrants, and

;

their

German

homes and ancestors and

local

Professor Learned has been a diligent laborer in

surroundings. this field

remains,

volumes of papers on the

and achievements of Pennsylvania Germans, may

new

hitherto closed, and to obtain

much

stately

his study of the family of Pastorius

shows what

a

harvest of facts, hitherto unknown, he has garnered by intelligent pursuit of inquiries

handed,

may

in

Germany. What he has done single and increased in result by the

well be continued

united effort of a body as powerful as the Pennsylvania

German

Society.

A

member

of a well

known

family of Philadelphia. Mr.

John Frederick Lewis, has gathered material for the genealogy and history of his ancestors, Ludwig was the old German name, and his research has been amply rewarded by showing how well that name deserved honor and won it alike in the Fatherland and

new home in America. Such examples are well worth bearing in mind as illustrations of what can be done by the Pennsylvania German Society. in the

1

German Archives

2

me

Let activity

urge

as Sources of German- American History

this

and the value of

alogue of

Society to use

the papers preserved in

all

private collections, relating to the Revolutionary

its

influence,

due to

its

publications, to secure a complete cat-

its

War, and

German

America

in

its

archives,

and

in

Colonial days, in

in the time of that

German immi-

gration which has been so large a factor in American prosperity.

The time

ripe for thus harvesting in

is

Washington,

all

our national library

that can be garnered abroad

Pennsylvania Society would thus broaden

would

make

enlist the co-operation of

work

its

Let

me

kindred

and

at

home.

at

The

field

of activity,

societies,

and would

its

national.

present the contents of a letter from Prof. Charles

M. Andrews, of Johns Hopkins University, giving a summary of the work he is doing to add manuscript sources from English archives to the material for history of the United States.

Prof.

and

is

Andrews

is

preparing a Guide to the English Archives

having transcripts from them made for the Library of

He

work in a report The work of 1903-4 covered the principal collections of English records, in 1905 it was devoted to the Colonial Office papers, %. e., the Board of Trade and America and West Indies, and included also commercial and colonial corCongress.

has described the

first

part of the

printed not long since.

respondence.

In 1906

it

covered

many

of the minor repositories,

including the Guildhall Library, the Royal Society, Dr. Williams' Library,

Lion College, Devonshire House, Society for the

Propagation of the Gospel,

etc.

In 1907 he completed his survey

of the Public Record Office, the Audit Office, Commissariat and

Customs of the

Offices, the

War

Office,

Treasury, Solicitor, with a re-examination

Foreign

the records of the Corporation of

Bodleian and the British originally projected in

and

Office,

Home

London

Museum

Office collections,

in the Guildhall, the

Libraries.

two volumes, with the

The work was

title,

"Guide to the

Materials for the History of the United States to 1783, in London Archives, in the British Museum, and in the Manuscript

German Archives

as Sources of

German- American

Oxford and Cambridge."

Collections of

The

England, and

is

in proiress

thus postponed for an uncertain time.

is

13

volune

first

now

waiting for the re-arrangement of the records in

History

The

second volume will appear probably this winter and under an independent

title.

Work

for the Library of Congress will po-

vide in the neighborhood of one hundred volumes of transcrip?^

of which a

was given

Report of the Librarian for 190 pp. 137-9, but many additions have been made since. It includt documents from the Bodleian and British Museum Libraries

from

list

in the

and Treasury papers

the Admiralty, Colonial It

German

allied soldiers serving in this country,

and other

from the Treasury,

Colonial and Audit and Foreign Offices and the British

The

material

a calendar of

agreements,

captured,

regarding light

Office,

to

be

it

it

so

little

Museum.

known, that

of

individual

which a

in

some volume

"Acct.

labeled

made good by

losses of the

to

descriptions

rosters,

accounts, statistics

detail,

to

would be very useful

of

anyone writing the hisGerman auxiliary troops in America. It includes

tory of the letters,

much

so scattered and

is

Record

in the

also includes papers relating to the Hessian

Office.

of

losses,

losses

in

very

this

of

the

the

Crown

minute

in

wounded as

battles,

important

found

often

killed,

Trenton,

at

information

summer

in

extraordinary

and

came Audit

the

Disbursements,

of Great Britain,

Hessian troops from 1776-1784."

for the

These accounts

are often itemized in great detail, items for sickness, hospital charges, repairs to guns, traveling expenses, postage, lists

of personal

effects,

money, jewelry, baggage,

etc.

lost at

The

Trenton,

are most interesting.

These documents are all in English, but many of the others are in German and French. Two volumes on "America and West Indies," contain some correspondence with Brig.-General Campbell, on the

among which

subject

embarkation_, and

of

the Foreign Office papers "Prussia," are relate to the attitude of Frederick II.

allowing hired

German

Hohenzollern territory.

many

letters

on the subject of

troops to pass through Prussian or rather

What

Prof.

Andrews

is

thus doing in

/

Gervian Archives as Sources oj German- American History

14

English archives

may

well be followed in those in

There are i8o volumes compiled by the

Germany.

late B. F. Stevens,

now

in the

Library of Congress, forming an exhaustive catalogue of manuscripts in the archives of England, France, Hol-

ind/fx

and Spain, relating to America, from 1763- 1783, described a^"the sole key to the American Revolutionary documents in

laai

iropean archives," yet none of those in ^rof.

Andrews,

"Guide

too, limits his

/ections" to be issued

by the Carnegie

Even

England.

to collections in

Germany

are included,

to Material in British Col-

Institution, of

Washington,

there he has found material for

calendar of papers relating to the

German

troops in the Ameri-

can Revolution, described by the Librarian of the Congressional Library as "interesting in

now

endars

and serving to complete such

in the Library," although as yet

a portion of the Prof.

itself

Andrews

German

it

troops serving here.

is

cal-

limited to only

It is

described by

as "three bundles of papers containing the ac-

counts of the Hessian troops engaged during the war, 1775- 1779,

with tables giving the exact names, ranks and numbers of Bran-

denburg and Anspach forces

in

America, forming altogether one

of the most complete rosters of the Hessians that

documents are

in

French,

German and

mass of uncatalogued papers

in the British

relating to the Palatines, in the

New

we

English."

The

have.

In the vast

Museum

are papers

Lansdowne manuscripts;

in the

Castle papers there are 17 volumes of Bouquet papers, and

231 volumes of Haldimand papers, listed in Brymner's Canadian Archives; in the with rosters."

War

Prof.

Office records there are "Hessian letters

Andrews

points to the untouched records of

from British diplomatic and miliGermany, particularly in Brunswick, Hesse and the

the Foreign Office, for reports

tary agents in

other states that furnished, as well as those that refused to

sell

troops to Great Britain. What wealth of material must there be as yet untouched or only partly known, in the archives of these countries, ered.

from which much information

yet remains to be gath-

5

German Archives

As an

as Sources of

illustration of

German- American History

how much more

of ignorance there

than of information on German Americans,

paragraph

in a

House," by T. H.

W.

me

is

point to a

recent English book, "Society in the Country S. Escott,

formerly editor of a leading English

magazine, and a voluminous author. print of Geo.

let

1

Jacobs

&

This book bears the im-

Co., Philadelphia.

In

it

(on page 356)

he speaks of Sunday Schools "acclimated at Ephratah, in Pennsylvania,

by the descendants of those

land in the Mayflower."

argument

in

support of

v^^ho

had

sailed to

New Eng-

Is not such a statement the strongest

my

plea for a plan for calendars or de-

German archives of Germans in it?

scriptive catalogues of the records preserved in

touching American history and the share

3

1

198 02283 8515

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