Fact or Fiction: References to Capt David Perry's Words - NOTES

      FACT OR FICTION:        
References to Capt. David Perry's Words

by D.G. Jones, M. Mus. © 2003
N.B. This page was posted in response to false statements which were brought to
my attention by people who contacted me in search of the facts.--DGJ

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NOTE: The pages at kitkooh.com and here are the only authorized duplicates of this page.

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<1> Glenn Kimball, on Coast to Coast radio (9-11-2003) and in his own publications, wrongfully cited David Parry's[sic] Reflections[sic] of an Old Soldier, saying:

"MOST CRITICAL: Two of George's closest friends and soldiers Anthony Sherman and Capt David Parry[sic] were with George at Valley Forge when George had his fully conscious vision of the future. George told them both in detail about the vision and both of them wrote about it in their separate books published before 1830...David Parry[sic] said in his book 'Reflections[sic] of an Old Soldier' that when George emerged from his tent that he said 'the eleventh of September' is to be a 'most dreadful and fearful day.'[sic]" (Kimball; see also Recap)

This simply never happened. Perry said nothing of the kind. He was not there. He does not mention any vision by Washington whatsoever. Perry never uses the phrases "Son of the Republic" or "most dreadful and fearful day" in any context; his account in no way corroborates Anthony Sherman's tale. On Anthony Sherman's reliability as a source, see "Washington's Vision" at Historic Valley Forge (1998-2003, ushistory.org. [13 Sept. 2003]).   Bill Knell, in an internet posting on 20 August 2003, stated incorrectly that:

"Anthony Sherman and David Perry...had both known Washington and mentioned an odd event which occurred at Valley Forge in 1777." (Knell)

With respect to Perry, at least, this is not true. (Back to text.)
 
Comparing the events of 11 September 1814 and 2001, another writer stated:

"It is chilling to think that exactly 187 years before, to the hour, foreign forces intent on disrupting the new nation of the United States invaded New York State from the same direction." (Fitz-Enz)

Peppered with inaccuracies, the article disregards the fact that, in 1814, September 11th was a day of triumph for Americans, a turning point in a war they had declared as a last resort in 1812. Using a traditional invasion route, the British forces were intent only on gaining a foothold in the Champlain Valley in order to have more bargaining power in the peace process. Peace talks were already under way. What is more, it was the British navy only, not the army, that could possilby be said to have invaded on the the 11th of September in 1814 (although the fleet had previously crossed into American waters).
 
The invading army was already encamped at Plattsburgh, New York. They had crossed the Canadian-American border on August 31st and, by Septebmer 6th, had occupied the north and west sectors of Plattsburgh. From September 6th through 10th, they built batteries and awaited the arrival of their fleet -- under the eyes, as it were, of the American squadron anchored and ready for action in Plattsburgh Bay.
 
This waiting period gave American defenders on land time to strengthen their defenses and receive reinforcements. The Americans knew that the British fleet would arrive on the scene within days. It did, sailing into view around Cumberland Head at eight o'clock in the morning on Sepbember 11th. A general engagement opened between the fleets at nine o'clock. On land, enemy batteries followed suit and the the British army began crossing the Saranac River admid brisk American fire. Two hours and twenty minutes later, the British fleet had surrendered, and the invading army was in hasty retreat. On both sides of the lake, American specators cheered the victory of their navy and "praised the Power that had preserved them" (Francis Scott Key, "The Star-Spangled Banner," paraphrase). The naval battle was one of the most brilliant ever fought in the history of sailing ships.
 
Although circumstances differ, there are a few justified parallels that can be drawn between the War of 1812 and events surrounding 9-11-2001:

1) Extreme party politics divided the nation in the years before war (and during it, in the case of the War of 1812);
2) The safety of American citizens was an issue prompting America’s declaration of war;
3) Mainland America was attacked (the War of 1812 saw numerous such attacks);
4) In both 1814 and 2001, September 11th was the date of enemy action (but the former was not unexpected);
5) The president was forced to flee Washington (Madison in August 1814; Bush in Sept. 2001) because of attack;
6) There was a subsequent period of renewed political unity and national patriotism (at the end of the War of 1812; at the begining of the War on Terrorism).

Any other parallels should be considered with caution, particularly those which tend to downplay the victory of 9-11-1814 or exploit the tragedy of 9-11-2001. Sensationalism should always be recognized and avoided.
 
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<2> e.g., both Glenn Kimball and Bill Knell claimed Capt. David Perry used this exact phrase, which they set off with quotation marks. The phrase "dreadful and fearful" was not used by Capt. David Perry. Since both Kimball and Knell cite David Perry as the source, one has to conclude that someone made it up. Curiously, Knell posted his information 20 days before Kimball's interview, spelled Perry's name correctly and referred to "his book." Based on dates, it is possible that Kimball was transmitting Knell's information; however, Knell did not give the book's title. Kimball did -- after a fashion -- but spelled Perry's name wrong. Also, by the time Kimball was interviewed on the radio, he had made and was selling an audio CD on the subject ("George Washingtion's Prayers and Visions").
 
It is unlikely that both Kimball and Knell would use identical misquoted words unless one was quoting the other. Or they are both quoting a third, "unidentified" source along with its errors. Understandably, Perry did not identify the wars he was talking about, except in contemporary terms; it is possible that someone drew faulty conclusions upon reading Perry's book (but then why not quote its title exactly?).
 
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<3> Knell (ibid.) stated: "Those who could, wrote or had written for them accounts of their experiences during the war and later sold the material to the government. Some of the publications were also successful as books available for sale to the general public." Another recently posted web page said: "During the years 1815-1830 there were an awful lot of writers in both Canada and in the USA who were contacting Revolutionary War soldiers to record their stories for posterity."*
 
This is incorrect information; since no references were given to back these assertions it is impossible to verify the accuracy of the source. There is no historical foundation for such statements, whether general in nature or specific to David Perry. It is possible they were conclusions or generalizations based on pieces of out-of-context information.
 
For example, Hezekiah Niles (1777-1839) compiled a book called Principles and acts of the Revolution in America, or, An attempt to collect and preserve some of the speeches, orations, & proceedings: with sketches and remarks on men and things, and other fugitive or neglected pieces, belonging to the men of the revolutionary period in the United States (Baltimore: Printed and published for the editor, by W.O. Niles, 1822; Sabin microfiche 55312).
 
Such a book, however, hardly has bearing on the gathering or preserving of the life histories of everyday soldiers. Citizens and soldiers, particularly in New England, habitually kept such records as diaries, journals, daybooks, and commonplace books -- not with the intenet to publish, but rather to improve themselves and keep track of accounts. They could read and write well enough not only to understand orations in congress (published in local newspapers) but also to write their life histories and reminiscences themselves, if they chose to. If one judges by Perry's writing, it is evident that the literacy of the general reading public was higher 200 years ago than it is today. (See Fred Anderson, A People's Army, 29, 66; and Donald R. Hickey, War of 1812, endnotes).
 
Perry wrote his history himself, in his own words, by his own hand. (Both the flow of the writing, and the printer's preface confirm this.) Perry contaced the printer personally with the desire to pass on his record to posterity, aware that many of his unique military and personal experiences were "no-where else recorded" and knowing that the press was the only way his story could be preserved. Not possessing the financial means to pay for its printing, this honest soldier and citizen, who had served his country conscientiously for over 60 years in both war and peace, was forced by circumstances to humble himself to ask the printer if he would print the manuscript for free.
 
Perry was not solicited for his story. There was no writer who wrote it for him. Simeon Ide, a young and relatively obscure printer, generously printed the manuscript because of its quality. Ide included an advertisement in the front of Perry's book letting veterans know that: "The profits of [Perry's Recollections] (if any)" would be "reserved to defray the expenses of printing memoirs of other Revolutionary Soldiers" if any came forward.*   None did.
 
The Library of Congress has, in its rare book collection, a first edition of Perry's Recollections which was acquired in 1867 and subsequently microfilmed for preservation (I have consulted this microform). The LOC also holds a third edition (Abbatt, 1928) and fourth edition (Polyanthos, 1971). (Editions are listed in "Appendix A.")
 
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Notes by D.G. Jones © 2003

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SELECTED SOURCES:
(Other sources.)
 
Anderson, Fred. A People’s Army: Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years’ War. Chapell Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press., 1984; Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia.
 
Carey, Matthew [1760-1839]. The Olive Branch: or, Faults on Both Sides, Federal and Democratic. A Serious Appeal on the Necessity of Mutual Forgiveness and Harmony. Seventh Edition, enlarged. Wiggins, Mississippi: Crown Rights Book Company, [1818] 2000. Sabin 10875. (Facsimile reprint of Tenth Edition, Improved. 1 June 1818. Freeport, New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1969. Select Bibliography Reprint Series.
 
Connecticut Adjunct General’s Office. Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service during the War of the Revolution: 1775-1783. Henry Phelps Johnston, ed. Hartford, 1889. Hartford: 1889, p. 57, 325, & 424.
 
Everest, Allan S. The War of 1812 in the Champlain Valley. Syracuse NY: Syracuse University Press, 1981.
 
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1783. Reprint of the New, Revised and Enlarged Edition of 1914 with Addenda by Robert H. Kelby, 1932. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1967, pp. 14-19, 437.
 
Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Urbana, IL: University of Chicago Pres, 1989.
 
Horsman, Reginald. The War of 1812. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969.
 
Macdonough, Rodney. Life of Commodore Thomas Macdonough, U. S. Navy. Boston: The Fort Hill Press, S. Usher, 1909.
 
Mahon, John K. The War of 1812. Gainsville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1972.
 
Perry, David. 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 re-corded / written by himself.   Jones, Denise G., ed., 1998, combined and electronic editions. Originally pub: Windsor, Vermont: Republican and Yeoman Printing-Office, 1822.) See
Recollections of an Old Soldier online © 1999.
 
Tucker, Glenn. Poltroons and Patriots: A Popular Account of the War of 1812. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1954. 2 vols.
 

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Sources critiqued:
 
Glenn Kimball. "George Washingtion's Prayers and Visions." Books: List Of Glenn Kimball Books: George Washington Audio CD. No date. http://www.ancientmanuscripts.com. (24 Sept. 2003). See http://www.ancientmanuscripts.com/books/audio_cd2.htm. [Distorted and erroneous information on David Perry.]
 
"Recap: Angels and the Undead." Coast to Coast with George Noory. Summary of Interview with Glenn Kimall. 11 Sept. 2003. http://www.coasttocoastam.com/shows/2003/09/11.html. (23 Sept. 2003.) [Distorted and erroneous information on David Perry.]
 
Bill Knell. "George Washington’s Encounter With The Unknown." 20 Aug. 2003. http://www.paranormalnews.com/eyefriendly.asp?articleID=710. (13 Sept. 2003.) [Distorted and erroneous information on David Perry.]
 
Col. David Fitz-Enz. "September 11 1814" History Feature From Military Illustrated. September 2002. The History Mart. http://www.thehistorymart.com/historyfeatures/2002sept11/2002sept11.html. (May 2003.) [Some misrepresentation and alteration of facts.]
 
Bible Talk: Non-denominational for Christians & Jews. http://www.bibleprobe.com/contents.html. "The Near-death Experience of David Perry in 1762." http://www.bibleprobe.com/perryNDE.htm. (original accessed 18 Oct. 2003; revised accessed 29 Oct. 2003.) [Some incorrect information and conclusions.]

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