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Nimitz Library

General Smallwood's Orderly Book, 1778: Finding Aid

Published in May 2020

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 171
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: General Smallwood's Orderly Book
  • Dates: 1778
  • Size: 0.21 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 125 pages
  • Creator: Smallwood, William, 1732-1792
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: William Smallwood was a Major General in the Continental Army and was the fourth Governor of Maryland. General Smallwood's Orderly Book spans from April 4 to September 6, 1778. The orderly book includes information on sentences of courts martial, distribution of arms and supplies, troop movements, issues of brevet rank, smallpox inoculation, and the need for officers and soldiers to attend to orders.

Biography of William Smallwood

William Smallwood, a native of Charles County, Maryland, received a colonel's commission from the Maryland Convention in January 1776. His Maryland troops fought bravely at the Battle of Long Island in August 1776 in the face of superior British forces. The Continental Congress promoted him to Brigadier General in October 1776. After the British occupation of Philadelphia in late September 1777, Smallwood and his Maryland Continentals took up winter quarters in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1780, Smallwood was ordered to South Carolina and served under Baron de Kalb in General Horatio Gates' southern campaign. After the Battle of Camden, Smallwood was promoted to Major General, making him the highest ranking Maryland officer in the Continental Army. He resigned his commission in November 1783. He later served as Governor of Maryland from 1785 to 1787.

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Description of Contents

General Smallwood's Orderly Book, comprising 0.21 linear feet of documentation in a single item of 125 pages, spans from April 4 to September 6, 1778. The orderly book includes information on sentences of courts martial, distribution of arms and supplies, troop movements, issues of brevet rank, smallpox inoculation, and the need for officers and soldiers to attend to orders.

The volume traces the Maryland line's movement from winter quarters in Wilmington, Delaware to camp at White Plains, New York. On June 8, 1778, the troops reached Valley Forge, Washington's headquarters, from which date his orders appear in the volume. Some items of note are the May 3, 1778 entry announcing the appointment of Baron von Steuben as Inspector General; his pending inspection of the Maryland line (May 13 entry); instructions for a feu de joie celebrating the Franco-American alliance (May 10); the Commander-in-Chief's congratulations to the army on the victory "obtained over the Arms of His Britanick [sic] Majesty yesterday" at the Battle of Monmouth (June 29) ; and orders for a cannon salute and feu de joie to celebrate the "Anniversary of the Declaration of Independance [sic]" (July 3).

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General Smallwood's Orderly Book comprises a single item.

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Access and Use


Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

General Smallwood's Orderly Book is the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Custodial History

Inscribed on recto of first leaf, "This book was purchased in 1849, from Miss Eliza Maynadier of Annapolis. It belonged to the library of her late Uncle Col. Maynadier who had served, as a surgeon, in the Revolutionary War."

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased from Miss Eliza Maynadier in 1849. Accession No. 3091.

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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

This collection also available on microfilm.

This collection has been digitized and is available in Trireme at:

Related Archival Material

Additional documentation pertaining to General William Smallwood can be found in the William Smallwood Collection, 1776-1791 at the Maryland Historical Society; William Smallwood Collection, 1732-1792, at the New-York Historical Society; and the William Smallwood Papers, 1780, at the Library of Congress.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information


Note on recto of first leaf reads "Rebound 1852."

Preferred Citation

General Smallwood's Orderly Book, MS 171

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer A. Bryan. Finding aid written by Jennifer A. Bryan in November 2014.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Maryland -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
  • Smallwood, William, 1732-1792
  • Soldiers -- Maryland -- History -- 18th century
  • United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Genl Smallwood's Orderly Book 1778 Wilmington, 1778

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