In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Maine Memory Network

A Soldier's Declaration of Independence

William Bayley to mother, October 15, 1777

William Bayley to mother, October 15, 1777

Item 10548 info
Maine Historical Society

William Bayley, a soldier in the Continental Army, wrote to his mother, Jean Bayley of Falmouth, from New City on October 15, 1777.

Click on the play button to hear Professor Leamon's comments about this letter:

Transcription of Professor Leamon's comments:

William Bayley's letters home are invariably brief and matter-of-fact. He writes about his health, which was astonishingly robust, life in the military, such as the lack of pay and clothing, and why he cannot come home as his mother requests repeatedly.

His combat experiences included Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga in 1777, the infamous winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge, and the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey, 1778. But details and emotions are rare; seldom does Bayley step out of his role as reporter of events except, for example, after Burgoyne's surrender when he writes jubilantly, "Our people since I wrote the first of this letter have taken Burgoyne's Army with all their artillery and baggage and have sent down into the country bearing six or seven thousand besides Tories. This is greatest exploit the Americans have done yet."

Item 2 of 13