Annotated Webliography

Topic: Revolutionary War Primary Source Documents

Compiled by: Greg Chapnick

Note: All statements in quotation marks come from the site itself. All other comments are my notes.

The following sites all contain links to primary source documents written just prior to, during, or just after the Revolutionary War:

The American Colonist's Library

One of several History Ring sites. This one is owned by Rich Gardiner. The History Ring site ( is done in association with the History Channel.

This is the Mother Lode: It has primary source documents pertaining to early American History from 500 B.C. to 1800. This site contains a wealth of material although much of it relates to other time periods than the Revolution. There is a large font link, which states: If you wish to keep this site online, please consider the purchase of this book. The link sends you to a site that advertises Never Before In History by Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner.

This site has hundreds of primary source documents including texts of acts of Parliament and the colonists' reaction to them, speeches, military notes and documents, poems, journals, and petitions. There are many pieces written by Benjamin Franklin from Poor Richard's Almanac and other sources, works by Samuel Adams, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine, including some of their wills.

There are some 300 documents for the war period itself and several hundred more in the years previous to and following the war. Additionally, there are hundreds more from other time periods.

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
Library of Congress.

This site has dozens of subsections for various periods of U.S. History from 1490-1982.

U.S. Congress Documents

Subsections-each has dozens of individual documents and records:

Journals of the Continental Congress
Elliot's Debates
Ferrand's Record
Statutes at Large
U.S. Serial Set
House Journal
Senate Journal
Senate Executive Journal
Maclay's Journal
Annals of Congress
Register of Debates
Congressional Globe

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress 1741-1799

Eight series of documents, letters, and writings:

Series 1. Exercise Books, Diaries, and Surveys 1741-1799
Series 2. Letterbooks 1754-1799
Series 3. Letterbooks Varick Transcripts: Continental Army Papers 1775-1783
Series 4. General Correspondence 1697-1799 (1697 document is father's will)
Series 5. Financial Papers 1750-1796
Series 6. Military Papers 1755-1798
Series 7. Applications for Office 1789-1796
Series 8. Miscellaneous Papers ca. 1775-1799

American Revolution.Org
Your Internet Gateway to the American War of Independence 1775-1783. copyright 1996 Easy Productions

The site has the following sections:
Scholar's Showcase (primary and secondary source documents; primary documents include:

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson
Extracts from My Campaign Journal-John Paul Jones
Military Journal of the American Revolutionary War by James Thacher, M.D.
Documents establishing various colonial militias
Revere's Ride-His Own Story
Christopher Vail's (a soldier) Journal
Several speeches by Washington

Other sections of main site:

Art Gallery
Flags Over America
Member Genealogies
Photo Gallery
Speaker Bureau and Video Lending Libray
4th Connecticut Regiment

Additionally, there are links to other historical sites relating the American Revolution and links to other organizations of interest in this subject area.

Archiving Early America: Historic Documents from 18th Century America
Copyright 1995-2000 Archiving Early America
All rights reserved.

A site dedicated to early American information, documents, portraits, and discussion groups.

Main Sections:

The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution
The Bill of Rights
Milestone Events
Pages from the Past
The Lives of Early Americans
Early American Bookmarks
Gallery of Early American Portraits
How to Read a 200 Year Old Document
Notable Women of Early America

The number of documents in each section varies from two to dozens. Each link sends you to one a secondary source description of the document and a picture of the original document. There is then another link to the original text.

Also connected to the main site are an Early American Email Discussion Group and The Town Crier, a bulletin board discussion group.

Documents on the American Revolution

14 primary source documents mostly relating to military campaigns during the Revolution. Each document's source is listed but there are no credits or publishing information for the original page itself, nor is there a home page referred to.

Eighteenth-Century Studies
written by Geoffrey Sauer, maintained by the 18th-century studies group at CMU.

"This collection archives works of the eighteenth century from the perspectives of literary and cultural studies. Novels, plays, memoirs, treatises and poems of the period are kept here (in some cases, influential texts from before 1700 or after 1800 as well), along with modern criticism."

This site is organized alphabetically, but the list of subjects or authors is spotty. As well, the pieces are not organized chronologically so one needs to look at dates carefully. The site is not specific to the Revolutionary War so much of the material is irrelevant to this particular area of study. Still, there are a number of documents and entire works of literature available here.

From Revolution to Reconstruction, a WWW Project in Collective Writing
Dept. of Alpha-Infomatica, Univ. of Groningen (Netherlands) George M. Welling, coordinator, 1997

"The main body of this hypertext comes from a number of USIA-publications An Outline of American History, An Outline of the American Economy, An Outline of American Government, and An Outline of American Literature. The text of these Outlines has not been changed, but they have been enriched with hypertext-links to relevant documents, original essays, other Internet sites, and to other Outlines."


The site has primary source documents (112 total) for various time periods from before 1400 to the present including 1751-1775 (18 documents) and 1776-1800 (33 documents). Includes famous documents like the Federalist Papers as well as much smaller and more obscure documents including letters, treaties and an anonymous account of the Boston Massacre.

Other sections are: Outlines, Essays, Biographies, and Presidents. These are not primary source documents.

Global Access to Educational Sources A Cybrary for Middle School and Beyond
American History Sources for Students: The American Revolution

20 primary source documents from short letters and diary entries to four volumes of the works of Samuel Adams

Also included are biographies, descriptions of battles and other events, and a section called Indices that has a variety of time lines, outlines, descriptions, historical essays and links to other relevant sites. These are not primary source documents.

Hanover Historical Texts Project

"In 1995, the History Department and Hanover students initiated the Hanover Historical Texts Project. The Project's principal aim is to make primary texts readily available to students and faculty for use in history and humanities courses.

The texts scanned for the project are all in public domain. The electronic forms of
the texts created by the HHTP are under copyright. Permission to copy and use the texts is granted for educational purposes. We ask that you acknowledge the Hanover Historical Texts Project. Permission is not granted for commercial uses."



Middle Ages
Early Modern

United States:

17th century
18th century
19th century
20th century

The Americas Outside the U.S.
Middle East
India and South Asia
East Asia

The only primary source document for 18th century U.S. is The Rights of the Colonists by Samuel Adams, 1772.

Historical Text Archive

History of the United States

Native American
Early Republic
19th Century
20th Century
Social History
State and Local History

Revolution section has links to 23 sources for primary source documents of various kinds. Most are long historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence or The Federalist Papers.

The Papers of George Washington
The Papers of George Washington
Alderman Library
University of Virginia
Site designed and maintained by Christine Madrid French
Site remodeled Feb. 2000
Updated daily.

This site has many primary source documents written by George Washington.

The Farewell Address
The Whiskey Insurrection, from Washington's Diaries
Thanksgiving Proclamation,
The Road to Revolution (Selected letters from Washington on the topic of the Stamp Act and possible revolution against Britain, from 1765 to 1775)
The Making of the Constitution (Selected letters from Washington dated
1784 to 1788.)
Washington's School Exercises: The Rules of Civility.
Washington's Advice on Love & Marriage.
Observations on the Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati, c. 4 May 1784

Selected Presidential Documents:

Letter from Mary Katherine Goddard, fired abruptly from her position as Postmaster of Baltimore, appealing to GW for reinstatement; and his reply from New York, 1789.

This address from the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, R.I., signed by the warden of the Congregation, was likely presented to Washington on the morning of 18 August 17 when the town and Christian clergy of Newport also delivered addresses to the president. Washington's reply is considered to express his opinion on religious toleration.

Selected Revolutionary War Documents

General Orders (on Profanity), 3 August 1776 NEW!

William Duer to George Washington, 28 January 1777 and N.Y.

Legislature Committee of Correspondence (William Duer, Chmn) to Washington, 2 March 1777 Washington relied on many people for intelligence during the Revolutionary War. One of the persons who
took an interest in assisting Washington's efforts to gather intelligence was William Duer of New York, who opened correspondence on the subject with Washington after the
Continental army set up headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey, in early 1777.

Correspondence between Major General Charles Lee and George Washington.

Documents concerning events surrounding the Battle of Monmouth on 28 June 1778. Included are maps showing the battle ground and portraits of General Charles Lee.

Farewell Address to the Army, 2 November 1783

Discharge of the Army, 4 November 1783

Resignation from the Army, 23 December 1783

Congress's Answer to Washington, 23 December 1783

Washington's Revolutionary War Itinerary and the Location of His Headquarters, 1775-1783. A full listing of homes, taverns, mills, and mansions used by Washington as his headquarters during the Revolution, with corresponding dates, cities, and states.

Selections from The History of the Army Corps of Engineers (1998). These chapters focus on the role of engineers in the Revolutionary War and on military engineering in the years after the war.

The site also includes many secondary essays about Washington.

Written, Designed & Maintained by M. Christopher New,
Copyright © 1996, M. Christopher New

"Many of the songs and poems on this web page have been utterly forgotten over time. Many of the selections I have included are not terribly easy to find. Some come from long out-of-print song collections or from period newspapers. These are UNCUT! Some modern songbook compilations reprint some of these songs and haphazardly leave out verses, a practice which I avoid. Enjoy these rare artistic endeavors plucked from obscurity."


The American Vicar of Bray
The World Turned Upside Down
The Rebels
Tradesmen's Song
The American Times (Odell)
A Song (1779)
The Congress (1776)
The Pausing American Loyalist
Anacreontic Song
Masonic Song
General Howe's Letter
God Save the King

This site has the lyrics to all of the above songs as well as some fascinating loyalist propaganda documents. This is a super site for some very unusual primary source documents.

Spy Letters of the American Revolution

Created by Kate Foster, Cynthia Ghering, Michelle Light, and Melissa McCollum for the Clements Library, University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Last Modified May 13, 1999.

Gallery of Letters

"The exhibit is based on spy letters from the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Gallery of Letters provides a brief description of each letter and links to more information about the stories of the spies in the letter or the secret methods used to make the letter."

Only twelve letters are highlighted on this site, but they are amazing! Each one has the original text, a picture of the original document, and secondary essays to analyze the letters. The letters included are:

April/May 1775 -- Rachel Revere to Paul Revere
May 6, 1775 -- Benjamin Thompson to ?
July 17, 1777 -- William Howe to John Burgoyne
August 10, 1777 -- Henry Clinton to John Burgoyne
May 10, 1779 -- John André to Joseph Stansbury
June 27, 1779 -- George Washington to Benjamin Tallmadge
July 12, 1780 -- Benedict Arnold to John André
July 15, 1780 -- Benedict Arnold to John André (Benedict Arnold offered
to sell West Point for 20,000 pounds in this letter.
September 29, 1780 -- John André to Henry Clinton
May 29, 1781 -- George Washington to Dr. Baker
August 15, 1781 -- Baron Ottendorf to ?
Undated/Unsigned Letter from the Clinton Collection:
This letter refers to a female spy who frequently spied
for the British. Ann Bates pretended she was a
peddler and sold her gadgets to the American army
while she spied.

The main site also has essays and maps and timelines related to the spy missions.

The following sites contain links to many sites relevant to the Revolutionary War, some of which have primary source documents:

Afro-American History
Jefferson Davis Senior High School
1101 Quitman
Houston, Texas 77009
phone 713 226-4900 fax 713 226-4999 (home page)

links to 16 sites, some with primary source documents

American and British History Resources on the Internet
The authors:
Stan Nash: In Memoriam
William Vincenti: Reference Librarian at Bergen Community College
This research Guide is currently not being updated. The Rutgers University Libraries' are committed to preserving and continuing this work. We expect to return to development sometime later this academic year (1999-2000).

This site has hundreds of links to U.S. and British sites.
"Our goal is to provide a searchable structure for the scholarly resources of American and British history available on the Internet. We are still working towards turning this site into a searchable database sometime later this year.
In the meantime we have reorganized the page by adding a number of new categories to assist your browsing. Three versions of the table of contents have been created to accommodate the taste of the individual user: one using frames, one without frames, and one that is for text only browsers. Some subpages have been created for specific subjects: Internet Resources for Students of Afro-American History Civil War Resources on the Internet: Abolitionism to Reconstruction.

American History section of The Teaching Company website

The main site ( has many educational resources for teachers and students including information for Summercore, a computer workshop for educators. The American History page has links to many other sites that have primary and secondary source documents and web pages.

Internet School Library Media Center
Site Administrator:
Inez Ramsey, Professor Emeritus
Library Science Program
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Phone: 740-251-0492

Includes sections on many different subjects including:

Social Studies Resources for K-12

and specifically:

American History Resources

This page has links to over 40 sites, many of which have primary source documents.

The Philadelphia Campaign 1777

more links to Revolutionary War sites

University of Delaware Library
United States History: A Guide to Internet Resources
copyright 1996-2000 University of Delaware Library


Starting Points
Topics in History
Text, Image, Sound, and Archival Databases
Libraries and Archives
Societies, Associations, and Other Organizations
University Departments, Programs, and Centers
Periodicals: Printed and Electronic Magazines, Journals, and Newsletters
Publishers and Bookstores
Mailing Lists and News Groups
Regional Resources
Other Sites of Interest

This site has hundreds of annotated links to American history sites. It is extremely comprehensive and easy to navigate. Additionally, on the main site subject page ( ) there are over 100 other subjects which have their own comprehensive annotated links lists.

War and Military History (home page)

The American Revolution

links to many good sites