Guide to the William Beatty, Jr. Letters

MSN/COL 8500


Collection Summary

Title: William Beatty, Jr. letters
Dates: 1777-1778
Collection No.: MSN/COL 8500
Creator: Beatty, William, Jr., 1758-1781
Extent: 5 letters; 1 container
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: Five manuscript personal letters written in 1777-78 by William Beatty, Jr., an officer in the Maryland Line of Continental Troops.

Selected Search Terms

Beatty, William (1758-1781)
Beatty, William (1739-1803)
Maryland. Militia -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
Military deserters -- Great Britain -- American Revolution

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection

Preferred Citation: William Beatty, Jr. Letters, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Beatty letters were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame from Early American History Auctions, Inc., of Rancho Santa Fe, California (auction of 7 December 2002, lot nos. 267, 270-273). Arranged and described 2003, by George Rugg. Finding aid 2009, by Jacob Baska.

Biographical Note

William Beatty, Jr. was born on 18 June 1758 in Frederick County, Maryland, the son of Col. William Beatty (1739-1803) and Mary Grosh (1739-1810). The elder Beatty fought in the French and Indian War, and served as sheriff and colonel of militia in his native county. William Beatty, Jr. began his military service as ensign in a regiment of Maryland militia (June 1776); he was present at the evacuation of New York City in October. In January 1777 he was commissioned 1st lieutenant in the Maryland Line of Continental Troops, and spent the ensuing months raising recruits for the regiment (the 1st Maryland). He returned north in the spring of 1777, and fought at the battles of Staten Island (22 August), Brandywine (11 September) and Germantown (4 October), where he received a slight wound in the leg. Beatty remained with the Maryland Division of the Continental Army, at Wilmington, Delaware, during the winter of 1777-1778. The following year he fought at Monmouth, and was promoted captain (September 1778). In the war's Southern theater, Beatty remained with the 1st Maryland until his death at the battle of Hobkirk's Hill (25 April 1781). While leading his men toward the British line, Beatty was shot in the head and killed. He was unmarried at the time of his death.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of five personal letters written by William Beatty, Jr. to his father between 17 August 1777 and 15 September 1778. Beatty strives to keep his father informed of his health, needs and movements; he also describes war-related events, some personally witnessed.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged chronologically, one item per folder.

Related Material

Several repositories hold manuscript material of immediate relevance to William Beatty, Jr. The Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore owns his military journal (1776-1781), as well as additional wartime letters. The Historical Society of Frederick County (Frederick, Maryland) has a collection of Beatty family papers that includes material from the time of the Revolutionary War. Eleven other Beatty letters were sold at the 2002 auction at which the Notre Dame items were acquired; only one of these can be located, at the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library (Williamsburg, Virginia).

Container List