August 20, 1782

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Written by James from West Point

On August 20, 1782, James Davenport and the 8th Massachusetts Regiment were still at West Point. Camp rumors suggested the war might be coming to an end, and Davenport reflected ongoing grievances against Loyalists in his objection to the idea that a peace settlement might allow them to “have their farms as usual.” He was wistful for home, especially as family members moved on with their lives. But he ended with a joke directly at his brother, requesting Samuel to keep him, a “Gentleman Soldier,” in mind if his ship ever came in.

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Tories was a common nickname for Loyalists who sided with the Royal government and the King.

"Dicks & Jos"

These were slang terms for young, single men.

Who is Sam?

Samuel Davenport, the brother to whom James wrote his letters.

Mr. Fenno

Enoch Fenno was a friend of James Davenport who had married in 1780 and had a young son.

Daniel Wiswell

Daniel Wiswell was a Dorchester friend of Samuel and James Davenport.

What's a Provost?

The provost in this context referred to a military jail.

Dorchester Pears

Dorchester was known for its pear trees. By the time of the Revolutionary War, Dorchester families were hybridizing several varieties for their flavor.