Recollections of an Old Soldier - The Life of Capt David Perry (1741-1826)

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Recollections of an
Old Soldier:

The Life of Captain David Perry 
A soldier of the French and Revolutionary Wars
containing many extraordinary occurrences
relating to his own private history,
and an account of some interesting events in
the history of the times in which he lived,
no-where else recorded.
Written by Himself. (1819)
compiled and edited by D.G. Jones
(Denise G. Jones) © 1998-2013
Chapter breaks were added by D.G. Jones for the reader's information and are also under copyright. 
Summary  | Contents  | Chapter One  |  PREVIOUS  |  NEXT
Near-death Experience 1762 | 1822 Advertisement [Preface] | 
Admonition to Future Generations 1819
Web Site authored & created by D.G. Jones (Denise G. Jones) from the Combined Electronic Edition, © D.G. Jones, 1998. (Derived from the first edition, Windsor, Vermont, 1822, combined with significant subsequent editions notable the Alden, Abbatt and DeVille editions.) .
Copyright  © 1998-2013 to the electronic edition and the e-mail editions by D.G. Jones
Copyright  © 1999-2013 to the Web edition by D.G. Jones.
All rights to annotation, chapter divisions, combination and/or compilation of editions, etc., reserved, including translation rights.  This is a unique text, the result of 30 years reasearch into the life and times of David Perry, and a meticulous comparison of all editions through 1998. All rights to Web Site material reserved (unless another copyright holder is specified).  This edition may be duplicated only on a very limited basis for research purposes or personal use if copyright data is included as outlined at How to Cite this Site.  It may not be duplicated for profit or any other commercial purpose, or for any kind of multiple distribution including the internet, without first obtaining written permission from the author/editor of this site/electronic edition.  This edition dated: Thursday, 19 August 1999. With updates through 2013.

See Appendices for information on the 1822-2013 editions.
[ To order a hard copy click here. ]

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jump EDITOR'S NOTE   [to this electronic edition]
[by D.G. Jones, editor, © 1998]


jumpHE TEXT HEREIN generally follows the 1822 edition of Captain David Perry's memoir, maintaining the spelling and punctuation; minor typographical errors have been corrected.  Meticulous comparison of the various editions has been made, and differences incorporated where significant.  Generally, italics, small caps, and other original formatting is not preserved in this web edition.  Future updates of this web site may include these however.  Brackets in the body of the text indicate differences in editions, i.e., words missing, added and or changed in editions subsequent to that of 1822.  Brackets with proper names are mine and are added to supplement the information given by Perry, unless a given descriptive link is extant and sufficient for further identification (see sources).  Modern spelling of each proper name is given in brackets whenever it cannot be determined through perusal of a linked site.  Chapter breaks are mine.   Paragraph breaks follow the 1822 edition except at the end of Chapter 2.  Although a good policy with all chapters, it is especially essential to ignore the chapter break at the end of Chapter 11, and continue reading in context for a full understanding David Perry's admonition to his posterity, which continues in Chapter 12.  Neither my footnotes comparing editions nor my historical, genealogical, and topographical endnotes are included in this Web Site at this time, although knowledge gleaned from them was used in selecting links to other sites.   Selected references, annotations, etc., will be given in the forthcoming annotated edition. Some of these may be incorporated into this site in the future, if health and time permit.   Any information contributed by readers that is incorporated into this site and/or into the forthcoming edition will be acknowledged accordingly.  Contributors are asked to accurately document all material wherever possible. -- DGJ, editor, 1998-2013
Site mission and dedication.  |   Acknowledgements.   |  Final Note.  
  Perry's Recollections 2014 edition,
  DGJ, editor


jump  EDITOR'S NOTE  [1928 Magazine of History edition]
[by William Abbatt, editor]


jumpHE MEMOIR OF David Perry is extremely scarce: in fact we can trace but two copies of it, one sold at auction in 1927, and the second, from which our copy was made, owned by the Vermont Historical Society [VHS].
It is an interesting record of the experiences of a Massachusetts lad, from the time he was sixteen until 1776 -- during which period he was a soldier first with Abercrombie at Ticonderoga, then with Wolfe at Quebec, then in 1762 which the British in Newfoundland and finally with Washington at the Siege of Boston.
His descriptions, both of Ticonderoga and the Quebec expedition, are extremely graphic -- more so than others with the writer has read; and the story of the Newfoundland service is of particular interest, as of an almost unknown episode.
In several respects his story of Ticonderoga will remind the reader of the account given by Thomas Brown, in our Number 4.
[Note: William Abbatt does not mention the winter in Providence, R.I., 1776-77, nor the War of 1812, witnessed by Perry as a civilian.]


  Recollections of an Old Soldier.

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Directly Opposite the Bank of Windsor.
[Simeon Ide, Printer]
[ Click here to see image of the Title page an actual 1822 edition. ]

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 BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the third [22nd] day of February, in the  forty-sixth year of the Independence of the United States of America, David Perry, of the said District, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit: "Recollections of an Old Soldier. The Life of Captain David Perry, a Soldier of the French and Revolutionary Wars. Containing many extraordinary occurrences relating to his own private history, and an account of some interesting events in the history of the times in which he lived, nowhere else recorded.  Written by himself."
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned."  
Clerk of the District of Vermont.

A true copy of record.
Examined and sealed by me.
J. GOVE, Clerk.


jump ADVERTISEMENT  [Preface to the 1822 edition]
 [by Simeon Ide, printer]

jumpT WAS ON a "cold wintry day," that the writer of the following Narrative called at the Printing Office -- it was a winter's day indeed, to most of his compatriots in the scenes of privations and blood-shed through which he had passed -- that the hoary-headed veteran of four score, called on the Printer, and made known his errand -- He was anxious to tell• his tale of toils and hardships to his posterity, but, alas! pinching poverty, the too constant companion of patriotism and worth, had deprived him of the means.  He had spent many days of his old age, in noting down, as the only legacy he could bequeath his posterity, the leading incidents of his life, and of the momentous times through which he had passed, which could avail them nothing, without the aid of Printing,• "the art and preserver of all arts."   Too poor to bear the expense himself, he solicited the Printer's assistance -- and who could withstand the solicitations of a war-worn Soldier of the Revolution, whose tale bears the impress of simplicity and truth, while it evinces no ordinary degree of devotion to the cause of liberty and his country?  It was not in the Printer to do it; and he now looks to a liberal public for some trifling remuneration of his labor and expense, from the sale of this little volume.
Thousands, no doubt, of the Revolutionary Heroes, might have left a more brilliant specimen of talent and learning -- many have moved in a higher sphere of action, who have left no record of their toils and privations behind them -- but we venture to assert, that few have better earned the appellation of a faithful Soldier, than the subject of these memoirs.  Though his name may not live on the annals of his country, yet his fellow-citizens should never forget, nor act unworthily of the sentiments of gratitude, which a recollection of this important truth should ever inspire, that, had it not been for the prowess and achievements -- the fortitude, patience and perseverance of those who, like himself, in the humbler ranks of the common soldier, bared their breasts to the foe, upon the "tented field," that country had never known "a name and a rank among the nations."
The profits of this work (if any) shall be reserved to defray the expenses of printing memoirs of other Revolutionary Soldiers, who may be in "reduced circumstances," should any such wish to avail themselves of the same for that purpose.  [--Simeon Ide]


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jump Notes to the 1822 Copyright Notice:
On the format, see Copyright Law and Practice by William F. Patry, The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc, c1994, 2000.
The date on the notice is crossed out and 22nd written in as a correction in some copies of the 1822 edition (e.g., that owned by the VHS, and by Michigan State University).   The date reproduced in the Alden editions (which includes the 1971 Polyanthos-Deville edition) is the third of February; however, is it likely that the 22nd is the correct date.   
L.S. = Locus Sigilli,• Latin, "place of the seal"; indicates the place where the official seal was located in the original written notice, which was reproduced in print.  
Jesse Gove. Thirty years old at the time, Jesse Gove• was an attorney who resided in Rutland. He had been "appointed clerk of the United States District and Circuit Courts for the district of Vermont" in 1809, an appointment he held until his death. A son of Lt. Nathaniel Gove• of Rutland, Jesse Gove rose to the rank of colonel in the Rutland County militia. (Source: Smith, H.Y. and Rann, W.S., ed. History of Rutland County Vermont with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers 1886. Transcribed by Karima, 2002. Hist. of the Town of Rutland, Part VII: Municipal History and Rutland Co. Hist. Chap. XVII - Part Two: "The County Bar".)  
The District of Vermont is a legal district that encompassed the entire state. "From historical records on the district Clerk's Office in Burlington, [it is ] certain that there was a federal judge in office at that time, one Elijah Paine...There was also an accompanying Clerk of Court: one Jesse Gove who actually resided in Rutland" (Richard Wasko, District Clerk of Court, Rutland, Vermont, corr. 22 Dec. 2003). Federal circuit court judges at that time 'made the rounds' from "court location to court location" attended by the clerk. "Until 1869, the UDSC for the District of Vermont met in two locations: Windsor and Rutland...There was no district court at Montpelier [the state capital] until 1894." (Scott Messinger, Associate Historian, Federal Judicial History Office., corr. 16 Jan. 2004.)
          It is therefore safe to assume that David Perry registered his copyright in either the Windsor or Rutland courthouse. The Windsor courthouse was in the same town as the the printing-office where Perry's book was being printed, but Rutland was near Ira, Vermont. A resident of Chelsea, Vermont, at the time he wrote his life history, Perry moved to Ira, Rutland, Vermont, between June 1821 and March 1823.
          The "Old State House,"• [view postcard•] which served as the Rutland County Courthouse, was located on Federal Square in Rutland, Vermont (Wasko, ibid.; Smith, ibid.). Erected about 1775, "the building then comprised only two rooms, one having a floor and the other none. The west end contained the court-room,...The east end had no floor and was used miscellaneously for other public purposes" (Hist. of Rutland County,• Chapter 7).


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