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War of 1812 Diary, 1814: Finding Aid

Published in 1994

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 296
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: War of 1812 Diary
  • Dates: 1814
  • Size: 0.06 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 2 folders
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: The War of 1812 Diary, also referred to as "The Maine Campaign," which spans from June through November 1814, was kept by an officer in the British Army. The diary chronicles the officer's participation in the British attacks and seizure of American forts and towns in Maine during the War of 1812.

Biography of Unknown Author

The unidentified author of the War of 1812 Diary was an officer in the British Army. Internal evidence within the diary suggests the author was an Army surgeon attached to the 29th Regiment from Worcestershire.

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Description of Contents

The War of 1812 Diary, also referred to as "The Maine Campaign," comprises 13 pages of diary entries, spanning from June until November 1814. The diary describes the author's, an unnamed British Army officer, journey to American aboard the Clifford Transport 468 and Britain's joint Army-Navy campaign attacks against Maine during the War of 1812.

The diary's entries follow the author and his regiment from Gibraltar across the Atlantic Ocean to Bermuda, and then up to Halifax, Nova Scotia. From Halifax, the diary describes the British campaign as it sailed down from Canada to capture the Fort of Castine, Fort O'Brien, and the Maine towns of Belfast, Bangor, Hampden, Machias (Machiasport), and Buckstown (Bucksport), as well as the pursuit of American vessels such as the U.S.S. Adams (Frigate). In addition to describing the campaign's military actions, the diary also notes the names of various British commanding officers, lower ranking officers, British Navy vessels, and military units, as well as brief descriptions of the towns of Machias and Belfast.

Chronology of Diary Entries

June 10
  • Arrived at Gib[raltar] from Tarifa. Regiment ordered to embark.
June 11
  • On board Clifford Transport 468 with Captains Elliott, Mahon, Brookes, and other officers. Convoy leaves for Bermuda.
June 12
  • Lying to at Spartel, Africa. 21st and 62nd Regiments under Major General Gosselin join the convoy.
June 18
  • Sighted island of Tenerife, Canary Islands.
June 21
  • H.M.S. Pandora sent to chase a Yankee schooner.
June 22
  • Set sail.
July 2
  • Sightings of flying fish and dolphins.
July 29
  • Sighted Bermuda.
July 30
  • Anchored at Murray's Anchorage and encounter the 4th, 44th, and 65th Artillery Detachments.
August 3
  • H.M.S. Royal Oak sailed with Major General Ross' brigade to the Chesapeake.
August 5
  • Sailed under convoy from Bermuda for Halifax, Nova Scotia.
August 13
  • Sighted Cape Sambro, Nova Scotia.
August 15
  • Anchored in Halifax, Nova Scotia harbor.
August 21
  • Disembarked.
August 25
  • Embarked on a secret expedition under the command of Sir John Sherbrooke.
August 26
  • Sailed under convoy of H.M.S. Dragon.
August 31
  • Sighted Matinicus Island, Maine.
September 1
  • British summoned Fort of Castine to surrender. Yankees refuse surrender and blow up fort. British take possession of Belfast, Maine and sever communications with Boston.
September 5
  • British pursue the frigate U.S.S. Adams and several privateers to Bangor and Hampden, Maine. Yankees scuttle Adams and several other ships.
September 7
  • Anchored in Camden, Maine and sight militia.
September 8
  • British vessel has foretopmast carried away.
September 10
  • Anchored off Machias Bay. Seized Fort O'Brien at daybreak of September 11, after which the town surrendered. Includes a sketch of the fort.
September 12
  • Captain Elliot disarmed three companies of militia in Machias.
September 13
  • British blew up the fort and burned the blockhouse and officers' barracks.
September 14
  • Embarking prize goods and field pieces.
September 15
  • Sailed in the evening.
September 18
  • Came into the harbor of Castine, Maine.
September 19
  • 98th embarking for Halifax. Author of diary stays on board for several days with the sick.
November 10
  • Embarked with Coker and Evans to proceed up river to bring down a prize vessel from Hampden.
November 11
  • Wind dying away and forced to anchor.
November 12
  • Went ashore at Buckstown (Bucksport, Maine).
November 13
  • Winds prevent prize ship coming down river.
November 14
  • Got the Brig up to Frankfort and met the prize.
November 15
  • Prize delivered to Buckstown (Bucksport). Received four shots from Yankees hidden in the woods.
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The War of 1812 Diary is organized into the following two files:

  • File 1: Diary, 1814 June 10-November 15
  • File 2: Diary - Photographic Copies, 1814 June 10-November 15
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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The War of 1812 Diary 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

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Books and Manuscripts in May 1994. Accession No. 94-31.

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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

Digital copies of the War of 1812 Diary are available in the USNA Digital Collections at

Related Archival Material

Additional manuscript holdings pertaining to the War of 1812 at Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library include: the Dale Family Papers, 1749-1937, MS 246; the John H. Aulick papers, 1809-1996 (bulk 1809-1874), MS 336; and [Letter] 1812 Sept. 5., U.S. Frigate Essex, At Sea [to] Hol. Paul Hamilton, Sec. of the Navy from David Porter, MS VF 95.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

War of 1812 Diary, MS 296

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1994. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1994 and revised by David D'Onofrio in January 2014.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Maine -- History -- War of 1812
  • United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Campaigns
  • United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Participation, British
  • United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Personal narratives

Genre Terms

  • Diaries
  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Diary, 1814 June 10-November 15

Box 1 Folder 2

Diary - Photographic Copies, 1814 June 10-November 15

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