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William Beatty, Jr. Letters

Identifier: MSN/COL 8500

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of five personal letters written by William Beatty, Jr. to his father between 17 August 1777 and 15 September 1778. Beatty strives to keep his father informed of his health, needs and movements; he also describes war-related events, some personally witnessed.


  • Creation: 1777-1778


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

William Beatty, Jr. was born on 18 June 1758 in Frederick County, Maryland, the son of Col. William Beatty (1739-1803) and Mary Grosh (1739-1810). The elder Beatty fought in the French and Indian War, and served as sheriff and colonel of militia in his native county. William Beatty, Jr. began his military service as ensign in a regiment of Maryland militia (June 1776); he was present at the evacuation of New York City in October. In January 1777 he was commissioned 1st lieutenant in the Maryland Line of Continental Troops, and spent the ensuing months raising recruits for the regiment (the 1st Maryland). He returned north in the spring of 1777, and fought at the battles of Staten Island (22 August), Brandywine (11 September) and Germantown (4 October), where he received a slight wound in the leg. Beatty remained with the Maryland Division of the Continental Army, at Wilmington, Delaware, during the winter of 1777-1778. The following year he fought at Monmouth, and was promoted captain (September 1778). In the war's Southern theater, Beatty remained with the 1st Maryland until his death at the battle of Hobkirk's Hill (25 April 1781). While leading his men toward the British line, Beatty was shot in the head and killed. He was unmarried at the time of his death.


5 folders.

Language of Materials



Five manuscript personal letters written in 1777-78 by William Beatty, Jr., an officer in the Maryland Line of Continental Troops.


The collection is arranged chronologically, one item per folder.

Related Materials

Several repositories hold manuscript material of immediate relevance to William Beatty, Jr. The Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore owns his military journal (1776-1781), as well as additional wartime letters. The Historical Society of Frederick County (Frederick, Maryland) has a collection of Beatty family papers that includes material from the time of the Revolutionary War. Eleven other Beatty letters were sold at the 2002 auction at which the Notre Dame items were acquired; only one of these can be located, at the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library (Williamsburg, Virginia).

William Beatty, Jr. Letters
Jacob Baska
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556