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

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

by D.G. Jones, M. Mus. © 2003, 2010
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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  (Notes.)   (Sources.)   (How to cite this page.)   (On-site Links.)

TO OBTAIN A COPY of Perry's Recollections  
NOTE: This page, and the page at kitkooh.com are the only authorized duplicates of this page. (Go to original.)
The information presented here is the result of 30 years' research using reputable sources. There are incorrect reports out there.

Since September 11, 2001, stories have circulated which grossly misrepresent the events of September 11, 1814, and Capt. David Perry's words in his memoir, Recollections of an Old Soldier, published in 1822.   Perry's near-death experience (1762) and his description of the Battle of Plattsburgh and Lake Champlain (1814) have, in some instances, been flagrantly misquoted -- often in conjunction with a reported reminiscence of one Anthony Sherman which was printed in a newspaper in 1880.<1>
The following points should correct some of these errors:
(1) David Perry was not one of George Washington's "closest friends and soldiers." In Recollections, Perry mentions Washington only in passing. There was no close association or personal connection; Perry was not at Valley Forge (winter of 1777-78) and probably never met Washington. They only "crossed paths" at the Siege of Boston when Washington took command of the troops in July, 1775; Perry had been there since May. Perry later recalled Washington's maxim "United We Stand: Divided We Fall" -- a maxim which was in common use at that time and was possibly used in a pep-talk to the troops. These are the only words of Washington's that David Perry mentions. The only vision Perry referred to was his own; it was part of his near-death experience in 1762 (an experience he kept private for nearly thirty years). The official records say David Perry was discharged in Sept. 1775. Although pressed to take a captain's commission in the Continental Army, he declined because of his family's poverty. He did not serve again until Dec. 1776, in the Connecticut State Militia, and was stationed in Providence, R.I. "without any occurrence of importance." That term of service ended in March 1777. In 1779, Perry moved to New Hampshire, where he was prominent in the town; 18 years later he moved to Vermont. He wrote his memoirs in 1818-19.
(2) With respect to 9-11, the date was remembered by Americans then for much different reasons than today. Furthermore, Perry did not refer to it as a "'dreadful and fearful day'."<2> On the contrary, calling it "that ever-memorable eleventh of September," Perry describes it as a day of victory and great rejoicing, a day when "the Lord stood by us and put our enemies to flight in a marvellous manner, and wrought wonders for us as a nation." He was talking about the Battle of Plattsburgh and Lake Champlain during the War of 1812 -- a war the U.S. had declared after years of friction. On Sept. 11, 1814, the American fleet won a decisive victory against the British on Lake Champlain; and the British army -- composed largely of veterans of the Napoleonic Wars -- was in retreat, although they far out-numbered the American defenders at Plattsburgh. America's northern frontier towns had been saved from a powerful invasion force which, there was good reason to believe, would have left them in ruins. The events of Sept. 11th marked a turning point in the War of 1812. That the Americans should win against Wellington's seasoned soldiers was remarkable. The only negative thing about the day was the conduct of Governor Martin Chittenden (which was part of a larger problem of party politics and sectionalism in New England during the war).
(3) Perry's account was published for him without cost by a respected printer because "it bears the impress of simplicity and truth." It was not, as some have stated,<3> written for sale to the government (although the Library of Congress has had a copy in its holdings since 1867). It was written in his own hand, for his descendants -- the only treasure Perry possessed to leave to his posterity. Because he lacked the means, he asked a printer to print it for free in order that it might be preserved, and the printer generously did so. It was not "successful as a book" on the market. It is doubtful even a 100 copies were printed. His motive was not to create a stir.

RULE 1 : Never believe everything you hear or read. THINK things through yourself and weigh the information.
RULE 2: "Consider the source." Is it reputable? Trustworthy? Reliable? What is its quality? All sources are not of equal merit. Use common sense.
RULE 3: Question any person or any publication quoting someone by name without giving bibliographical references. If references are given, "go to the source" and judge its quality before deciding how much credence to give it. If they are not given, look for other sources that identify the quotation, preferably in context, to verify the material yourself.
RULE 4: Always look for a site's sources before judging its accuracy. Bear in mind that the quality of someone's research depends on the quality of sources he used.
RULE 5: Educate yourself. Ask questions; and look in reputable sources for answers. Be willing to admitt mistakes. Keep learning.

Few who are guilty of erroneous paraphrasing will list their references. It is our responsibility as readers to check for references (then go to the source), and to get opinions from other sources, in order to determine what is fact and what is fiction.
--by D.G. Jones © 2003, 2010


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(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.

Sources critiqued:
(NOTE: see Page 2 for more information on incorrect, sometimes purposefully erroneous information by Kimball and Knell.)
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 Kimball. 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/perryNDE.htm (previously 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, unathorized, exact copy of text (stripped of identifiers) of The Near Death Experience of David Perry (1762) on this site; revised due to notification of plagiarism, accessed 29 Oct. 2003.) [Some incorrect information and conclusions.]

Jones, D.G. "FACT OR FICTION: References to Capt. David Perry's Words." 2003. 2010. Excerpts from Recollections of an Old Soldier: The Life of Captain David Perry. Windsor, Vermont: 1822. Electronic edition, 1998. The Captain David Perry Web Site. 1999. http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~dagjones/docs/facts.html. (date page was created or modified [see bottom of page], OR date accessed).
To cite a page or article in "Excerpts" pages:
Jones, D.G. "(put the name of the page or article here)." Excerpts from Recollections of an Old Soldier: The Life of Captain David Perry. Windsor, Vermont: 1822. Electronic edition, 1998. A HREF="http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~dagjones/docs/">http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~dagjones/docs/. (date page was modified [see bottom of page], OR date accessed).
To quote David Perry's words from "Excerpts":
Perry, David. "Recollections of an Old Soldier: The Life of Captain David Perry." Windsor, Vermont: 1822.   Jones, D.G., ed. Electronic edition, 1998. The Captain David Perry Web Site. (put chapter or appendix number, or excerpts page title, here). http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~dagjones/captdavidperry/captdavidperry.html. (in parentheses, date page was modified [see bottom of page], OR date accessed).
For further information on citing internet sources, see: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Style.html

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