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Thomas Cole account book

Thomas Cole account book

Descriptive Summary

Title: Thomas Cole account book
Creator: Cole, Thomas, active 1777-1778
Inclusive Dates: 1777-1778
Language(s): English
Extent: 1 folder(s)
Collection Number: ms1101
Repository: Hargrett Library

Collection Description

Historical Note

Thomas Cole (1744-1804) was born in North Kingstown in 1744, the son of John Cole and Ann Wilbur. At 31 years old, Thomas Cole joined America's war for independence. He fought for nearly eight years and won nine battle stars.

In 1775 and 1776 Cole served as a lieutenant and then captain in James Varnum's 12th Continental Line Regiment, part of Nathanael Greene's brigade. He joined the Rhode Island forces outside of Boston until the British evacuated the city in early 1776. The Rhode Island soldiers then traveled by foot and boat to New York, where they took part in the battles of Long Island, Harlem Heights, White Plains, Trenton and Princeton. By late 1777, the Rhode Island regiments needed men. The troops spent the winter at Valley Forge. Colonel Greene and some of his officers, including Captain Cole, returned to Rhode Island to organize a battalion of black slaves.

In return for service, the Rhode Island Assembly offered freedom to every black, mulatto, and Indian slave who enlisted. Finally, in 1781, Cole was present at Yorktown, where British commander Charles Cornwallis surrendered his 8,000 men, marking the end of the war.

A year later, Cole resigned and returned to Wickford. He became a justice of the peace in 1791 and died on Dec. 9, 1805.

Source: Adapted from Providence Journal article "Cole, of Wickford, Revolutionary warrior"

Scope and Content

The collection consists of an account book, kept by Captain Thomas Cole, from August 1777 - March 1778. The book concerns the time between he fought in the Battle of Red Bank (Fort Mercer), NJ in October 1777 and the Battle of Rhode Island in August 1778. The volume gives a detailed account of supplies for Continental soldiers first at Peeks Kill, New York then Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Entries include information on wages paid as well as guns, bayonets, cartridge boxes, blankets, and clothing issued to soldiers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Thomas Cole account book, ms 1101. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Account books
New York (State) -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783.
Peekskill (N.Y.)
Pennsylvania -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783.
United States. Continental Army
Valley Forge (Pa.)

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11Account book, 1777-1778
the named soldiers of color include Derrick Vanzaber [Vangouver], in August, September 1777; Derrick Vanzober, Pompey Watson, Quam Cook, Jack Allin, Elijah Woggs, Ebenezer Caesar in 1778 at Camp Valley Forge.