Scope and arrangement
The volume contains H.A.S. Dearborn's manuscript writings describing Henry Dearborn's military service in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, with clippings, correspondence and sworn statements related to his father’s controversial published account of the battle of Bunker Hill (1818). Included is a manuscript map showing the position of American and British forces at the battle of Fort George in 1813. The compilation has a title page and table of contents (i-ix, 380 pages). In some cases a single page denotes the placement of laid-in items with multiple leaves.
Also present is a loose incomplete draft by H.A.S. Dearborn explaining the circumstances behind his father's 1818 publication, with instructions for insertions keyed to the present volume. An item identified as a "Printed Sketch" of Henry Dearborn's life (page 106) is not found.
The principal writings are "A Sketch of the Life of Major General Henry Dearborn from 1775 to 1812" (pages 1-19); a "Narrative of the Campaign of 1813" (pages 21-53), with "Official Correspondence and Facts Relative to the appointment of Henry Dearborn …." (pages 57-103); and "Maj. Gen. H. Dearborn's Vindication of his Account of the Battle of Bunker-Hill" (pages 185-235), with related correspondence, clippings and writings. Bunker Hill materials, with a few miscellaneous notes and clippings, begin after the Official Correspondence.
The bulk of the volume consists of documents relating to Henry Dearborn's An account of the battle of Bunker Hill, published in 1818, and its controversial portrayal of Israel Putnam's conduct in battle. Putnam's defense was taken up in print by his son Daniel Putnam (annexed to his reprint of Dearborn’s account, 1818) and others. Portions of those two imprints are found in the volume. Responses from the public and the press supporting one account or the other, some along political party lines, are represented mainly in newspaper clippings. Of particular interest are the original and transcribed letters and sworn statements obtained by H.A.S. Dearborn supporting his father's account of the battle, made by participants at the battle of Bunker Hill, or their relatives and acquaintances. Items numbered 1 to 14 were published in the Boston Patriot and Daily Chronicle of June 13, 1818 as "Battle of Bunker-Hill. Maj-Gen. H. Dearborn’s Vindication." Original items comprise a signed statement by Samuel R. Trevett (page 193, published as number 3), and letters from H.A.S. Dearborn's correspondents: Major Caleb Stark, with a signed statement by John Cochran, a physician of Pembroke, New Hampshire (pages 253-254); Charles Coffin (pages 312-328); Samuel S. Conner (pages 266-268); and New Hampshire Governor William Plumer (page 272). The authors of anonymous news articles (including H.A.S. Dearborn) are sometimes identified. The materials shed light on the contemporary political aspects of the controversy as well as Putnam's military career. The volume ends with a brief text by H.A.S.Dearborn entitled "Cols. Trumbull and Small !!!!! Per Nobile Fratrum !!!!!" (pages 372-380).
The "Narrative of the Campaign of 1813" recounts Dearborn's career as the senior Major General in the U.S. Army, from his appointment in 1812 to his removal from command in July 1813, with a manuscript map of the battle of Fort George (detached from page 28). It continues with "Official Correspondence and Facts Relative to the appointment of Henry Dearborn" (pages 57-103), containing transcriptions of Dearborn's correspondence with Presidents Madison and Monroe, and Secretary of War John Armstrong, regarding his removal. Edited portions of the Sketch, Narrative, and Official Correspondence are found in Charles Coffin's The lives and services of Major General John Thomas, Colonel Thomas Knowlton, Colonel Alexander Scammell, Major General Henry Dearborn (New York: Egbert, Hovey & King, 1845).