April 2023 Catalogue

B a u m a n R a r e B o o k s A p r i l 2 0 2 3 9 Exceedingly Rare 1776 Original Manuscript Revolutionary War Diary, A Dramatic Handwritten Record Of A Soldier’s Life During The Colonial Struggle To Control The Hudson River Valley 8. COOPER, John. Revolutionary War Diary. (New York, 1776). WRITTEN IN: Gaine’s Universal Register, or, American and British Kalendar, for the Year 1776. New York, 1776. 12mo, contemporary full calf rebacked in black cloth, custom clamshell box and chemise. $38,000. Rare 1776 Revolutionary War Diary of John Cooper, a 24-year-old enlisted man in New York’s First Regiment, Naval Service, containing over 30 handwritten pages interspersed throughout a first edition of Gaine’s Universal Register (1776), a remarkable account of the year America declared its independence, with frank details of an enlisted man’s life and vivid accounts of skirmishes with Indians and British troops as Cooper’s regiment fought throughout the spring and summer of 1776 to maintain crucial American command of Lake Champlain and the upper Hudson River Valley. The Revolutionary Army of 1776 was dismissed by the British and even many patriots as “‘peasantry,’ ‘ragamuffins,’ or ‘rabble in arms.’” Yet, defying all odds, this was “an army of men accustomed to hard work… It was the first American army and an army of everyone” (McCullough, 33-4). There is perhaps no document that better mirrors that democratic nature than this rare 1776 diary, the military record of an ordinary enlisted man, John Cooper, who was born in Pennsylvania on March 26, 1752 and was about to turn 24 when he made his first entry here on March 1776. Cooper used the blank pages and slim margins of this worn, pocket-sized copy of Gaine’s Universal Register, a 1776 almanac printed in New York, to record the daily needs, trials and expenses of a soldier’s life, all detailed here alongside Cooper’s matter-of-fact descriptions of the harsh physical demands and the deadly risks of war in America’s struggle throughout the spring and summer of 1776 to ensure colonial control of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River Valley.