Nov 25, 2014 - Sale 2368

Sale 2368 - Lot 93

Price Realized: $ 47,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 8,000 - $ 12,000
(COLONIAL WARS--FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR.) [Goodrich, Josiah.] Manuscript diary of a lieutenant at Ticonderoga. [41] manuscript diary pages, plus [14] memoranda pages. Small 8vo, original vellum, worn and stained; minor dampstaining to contents, first leaf worn, apparently missing a leaf covering 4 to 13 July, the following leaf detached but present. (MRS) Vp, 2 June to 30 November 1759; plus scattered memoranda through 1798

Additional Details

In the 1759 campaign of the French and Indian War, Josiah Goodrich (1731-1764) of Wethersfield, CT served as a lieutenant in the Connecticut militia in the effort to unseat the French north of Albany. This remarkable diary is titled "A Jornal of my March from Albany," and includes an account of the 1759 Battle of Ticonderoga.
The early weeks of the diary are largely concerned with marching and canoe transport, punctuated by occasional violence. On 2 July, he reports: "Very bad news from ye lake. 18 Blews [Jersey Blues] went out to git bark. 8 was kild, 4 was taken, 6 got in." In late July, his Connecticut militia joined with the much larger force of regulars under General Jeffrey Amherst and besieged a small garrison of French at Fort Ticonderoga. The infantry had a rough time setting up their breastworks, as the artillery still lagged several days behind, giving the French free rein to bombard them: "About two hours high we arrived near Ticondaroga. This day, thogh they have fired above 200 cannon and bombs at us, but have not hurt a man as I no of yet. We have not as yet fired, so much as fired a small gun. As yet our cannon are not come up" (23 July). The next day, "General Amherst took poscesion of ye French brest work which is of ye utmost importance to us. . . . This after noon went to ye point of ye lake to view ye fort, where I had a fair prospect of it, which appears to be ye most pleasent place that ever I saw." On the 26th, "our gard was fired upon . . . by a party of French and Indians which killed 2 men." That night, seeing the situation was hopeless, the French blew up the fort and retreated: "Last night ye enemy fired their fort and ran away by ye light of it, but was interrupted by our cannon . . . by which means they were obblidge to run on ye east shore and leave some of their battoos" [bateaux]. The lieutenant made a reconnaissance on the 28th: "This day I went to view ye fort which was a very strong one. The enemy blew off near one quarter of it."
The later months of the diary are less dramatic, but do feature an account of a deserter: "A soldier of ye 17 Rigt hang, and high time for ye General has forgiven him three times before now and now he had desarted to ye French, and was taken in the outworks of Cround Point. As ye French was all gone their was no body to receve there. There fore our Rangers took him" (3 August). The lieutenant also reports on British victories at Niagara and Quebec in a famously successful year for the royal army.
Lieutenant Goodrich's name does not appear in the volume, but his son later wrote "Simeon Goodrich his book of account." It is clear that the author was a Connecticut militiaman, and the other main evidence for Goodrich specifically is a 15 August entry naming his siblings Elizer and Abigail. Lieutenant Goodrich served in Whittlesey's 5th Company of Connecticut Militia under General Phineas Lyman--two names which appear frequently in the diary.
Military diaries from the French and Indian War are quite uncommon--we know of none on the auction market since 2003.