March 25, 1783

Written by James from New Windsor

James Davenport’s letter of March 25, 1783, is among the most interesting of this collection, but not because it shares new information about major historical events. Instead, it is a rare, candid account from a Revolutionary soldier that reminds us that these soldiers were also young men. Davenport was recovering from a night of drinking, or, as he wrote, “the Perfumes of the wine ant [ain’t] hardly out of my head yet because I Drinkd a Good Sling this morning.” With his guard down, he wrote to his brother of his hope of “spending some of my Precious time with some clever Moll, especially in the dark part of the day.” As he had written the year before, “it is a fashion among us soldiers to talk so” about young women, but these conversations rarely made it into written documents that allow us to imagine the fireside banter and youthful hopes of young soldiers.

Transcription PDF
"a Good Sling"

James Davenport may be referring to a specific alcoholic preparation known as sling or simply another drink he just had.

"a Dead Born Child"

Anne Payson, the wife of James's brother Josiah, had a stillborn baby.

Letters from Warwick

Several of James Davenport's siblings, Josiah, Hannah, Sarah, and Lydia, had moved to Warwick, Massachusetts. Josiah Davenport was James's older brother, and had married Anne Payson and moved to Warwick, Massachusetts. Sarah Davenport was James's sister and had moved to Warwick, Massachusetts, to help her sisters Lydia and Hannah. Lydia Davenport, James's sister, had married John Pratt, a Dorchester friend, and moved to Warwick, Massachusetts. Hannah Davenport, James's sister, had married Samuel Bowman of Dorchester and moved to Warwick, Massachusetts.