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Orderly Book, 1703-1712, copied 1722 or slightly later

Call Number: MS G48

Scope and Contents

Army orders and notes of occurrences, written by a soldier who served in the War of Spanish Succession in the early 18th century. From the title-page: A Journal of the Campaigns from the Year 1703 to 1712 when the Allied Armies were commanded by the late Duke of Marlborough. By an Officer of the Army who served all that Glorious War and was present at all the Battles and most of the Sieges during the said War.

Not a personal journal, but a daily orderly book with semi-official additions. A usual entry consists of date and place; password; names of 3 "Day" officers (apparently both British and foreign generals) and 2-3 "Picquet" officers; and transcription of all the orders issued in the morning for the Grand Army. These orders cover preparation for marching, foraging, and laying siege; camp administration; discipline; dealing with marauders and the natives; and announcements. Entries usually concern the Army as a whole, or Orkney's detachment if separated from the Army (but sometimes in the latter case include the most important Grand Army orders).

Occurrences (statements of what actually happened, usually marked "Nb") occur very seldom in 1703-1704. Thereafter they are common. They usually give the action of the Army; sometimes diplomatic news; occasionally general opinion. There are a few notes on Orkney's joining or leaving the Army, and one first-person note -- all of which are indicated in the inventory for the volume. In 1711-1712 much space is given to elaborate Orders of March and Posts. Note that in some years the Grand Army was on campaign longer than the season covered by the manuscript. Passwords are place-names.

This copy is dated in or after 1722, and the title-page refers to "the late" Duke of Marlborough; Marlborough died in 1722. Copied in a mixture of three or more contemporary hands (the scribe sometimes changes in the middle of a page). Apparently copied from the original compiler's rough notes (space sometimes left for an illegible preposition), very likely by his own clerks. Authorship could possibly be attributed to Alexander Irwin (died 1752) or James Abercrombie (died 1724); possibly Patrick Gordon, or another. Compiler belonged to the First Foot, accompanies Orkney when Orkney heads a detached force, refers often to "My Lord Orkney," and accompanies Orkney when he joins the Army at the beginning of a season (see leaf 101). Has access to external diplomatic reports. Served at the Battles of Blenheim, Malplaquet, and Ramillies.


  • Creation: 1703-1712, copied 1722 or slightly later

Custodial History

Earl of Lonsdale's library at Lowther Castle (according to Horn's transcript). Charles W. Traylen, bookseller, 27, North Street, Guilford. Bought from Traylen November 1947 by Robert D. Horn, Professor of English, University of Oregon (mentioned in entry 58 in Horn's bibliography "Marlborough..."). Part of the Horn collection of printed matter relating to Marlborough bought by KU from Horn in February 1976.

Annotations by Horn are present in pencil sparsim; leaf 1 annotated "Robert D. Horn R. Traylen -- Nov 17, 1947 On Spine 'CAMPAIGNS FROM 1703 TO 1712.'"

Physical Description

Original binding of this volume was brown leather with faint gilt ruling. Paper contains watermark of a Strasbourg lily suspending LUG, countermark IV. Title on the original binding read "Campaigns from 1703 to 1712." Now housed in quarter-binding with Cave paper spine with Canapetta cloth sides.

Processing Information

In 2006, volume was resewn and rebound at request of curator by staff in conservation in Kenneth Spencer Research Library. For more details, see conservation treatment 38-2006.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States