19th Century Manuscript Transcription of Accounts of Two Battles Fought in the French and Indian War

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On offer is an intriguing manuscript transcription of firsthand accounts of two battles fought during the French and Indian War in North America (1754-1763). From the library of Arthur DeMerick Marble (1853-1934), this beautiful transcription was completed in the late 19th century. The volume contains a manuscript copy of part of the 1757  journal of Joseph Frye, recounting the Attack on Fort William Henry. It also contains a handwritten copy of An Impartial Account of Lieut. Col. Bradstreet's Expedition to Fort Frontenac written by a Volunteer of the Expedition. This account was originally published in London in 1765.

The transcription of Joseph Frye’s diary is preceded by a transcription of a letter published in the Port Folio in 1819, written by Nathaniel Frye, who had found his grandfather’s journal and offered up an excerpt of it for publication in the Port Folio. We believe that this transcription is taken from the Port Folio’s publication. 

According to Maine Story, “Nathaniel Frye released the "journal" for publication in The Port-Folio, a 19th century literary and historical periodical. There is some speculation that the popular Port-Folio and its 1819 "Journal" article influenced author James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans, the popular romance published in 1824 about Fort William Henry. Frye's original draft, in his own hand writing, can now be found in the collections of the Morristown (NJ) Historical Park” [Source: https://www.mainestory.info/maine-stories/joseph-frye.html]. 

The transcription of the Expedition to Fort Frontenac was taken from the published book. 

This book, so carefully composed by our 19th century transcriptionist, provides an overview of two major battles of an important 18th century war, allowing the reader to immerse themself in this moment in history. That it was kept in Arthur DeMerick Marble’s personal collection indicates that this was written either for or by Marble. A special piece to add to the collector of 18th century war memorabilia or a collector of Massachusetts history who would appreciate having a piece of Marble’s personal collection in their own library. 

NOTES ON THE BATTLES: The French and Indian War (1754–63) comprised the North American theater of the worldwide Seven Years' War of 1756–63. It pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France. Both sides were supported by military units from their parent countries, as well as by American Indian allies.

Fort William Henry was situated at the south end of lake George in what is now New York State. It was the scene of a notorious massacre of British/American prisoners by the Indian allies of the French army. Among the American officers present was Colonel Joseph Frye from Andover, MA. General Webb gave orders that as many of the Massachusetts regiment as were at Fort Edward, exclusive of the ranging companies should march tomorrow morning for Fort William Henry, with 100 men of the 3rd battalion of royal Americans and 100 independents [1st August 1757] Ultimately, LCol George Monro had approximately 2,300 men. He faced an attacking force of approximately 8,000 French soldiers and Indian warriors led by the Marquis de Montcalm.

The Expedition to Fort Frontenac  followed the disastrous British/American defeat at Fort Carillon, later known as Fort Ticonderoga in July, 1758. A month later, LCol John Bradstreet led a force of approximately 3,600 soldiers north to attach Fort Frontenac, the French trading post and fort located where Lake Ontario empties into the St Lawrence. The French garrison numbered about 100. The battle lasted about 2 days and the fort surrendered. The British burnt it and then withdrew.

BIO NOTES ON ARTHUR DEMERICK MARBLE: Born in Hingham, MA to parents Captain DeMerick Marble and Deborah Hawkes Groce. Arthur lived in Lawrence, MA and worked as a city engineer and genealogist who compiled his and his wife’s family histories (held at Yale University). He had three brothers, William DeMerick, Thomas Burr and Charles Hawkes. Only Arthur and Charles survived childhood. Arthur married Mary A. Richardson in 1876, and they had one daughter, Marion Wright Marble, in 1879. He was a freemason and a member of the Grecian Lodge. 

The transcriptions were written in a hardcover W.E. Rice Blank Book, printed in Massachusetts. It  measures 10.5”x8”  and contains 100 pages. The first transcription is 24 pages in length and the second is 52 pages long. The cover, binding and pages are all in very good condition, though the spine is loosened. The handwriting is clear and legible. VG.

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