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In this handwritten receipt, Massachusetts soldiers Phineas Morgan and Palatiah Allen acknowledge receiving new French muskets and bayonets in exchange for their worn-out weapons while encamped on Van Schaick's Island in the Hudson River, several miles north of Albany. These arms may have been part of a shipment of 12,000 French muskets that had arrived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, earlier in the year. French supplies of arms, money, and eventually troops and ships proved vital in securing American independence.

By the beginning of 1777, French weapons and money were beginning to arrive in large quantities. Some of the first troops to receive these shipments of modern muskets were those in the Northern Army, waiting for the arrival of General Burgoyne from Canada. The first to be issued out went to regiments from New Hampshire stationed at Ticonderoga. After that fort’s fall the Northern Army began to rapidly reequip itself for the upcoming battle to defend the Hudson.

Phineas Morgan and Palatiah Allen served together in the 12th Massachusetts Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Abraham Williams. Morgan was from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, while Allen was from Harpswell, Massachusetts (now Maine). Both soldiers would be accountable for the maintenance of their new arms. They used the muskets and bayonets given to them a few weeks later during the fighting at Saratoga. Phineas Morgan would not survive the war, dying of disease in June 1779. Palatiah Allen survived the war and settled in Connecticut.

Object Details

  • Receipt
    Von Schaik Island, New York
    August 25, 1777
    Ink on Paper
    Museum of the American Revolution (Benninghoff Collection), 2007.00.395

This browning fading piece of paper is a reciept for the purchase of muskets from France during the Revolutionary War.
Reverse side of the receipt.

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