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Blackall William Ball Collection(1782–1784, 1802)

  • MS 2005.14
  • 18 items

Collection comprises 6 journals with a series of observations on the march from York, PA under General Anthony Wayne through the south to the Yorktown campaign, a military commission, portrait print of the author, 10 issues of contemporary newspapers with news of the Yorktown campaign. The Pennsylvania Continental Line of the American Army was an integral part of the Yorktown Campaign in 1781. Lt. Ball carefully recorded in a diary the movements and activities of his unit, as well as some candid observations of the Siege of Yorktown.

Blackall William Ball was born in Dublin, Ireland, but soon moved with his parents to the backcountry of Pennsylvania. At the age of fifteen, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the 12th Pennsylvania Regiment in 1776. Seeing action at the Battles of Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown in 1777, he was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant and transferred to the 3rd Pennsylvania by the end of 1778. In the Summer of 1781, Lieutenant Ball found himself progressing southward with the amalgamated Pennsylvania Continental Line from New Jersey, arriving at “the college of Williamsburg” on September 4th, and on to Yorktown in support of the allied siege. Ball returned to Pennsylvania in March 1782; he married Margaret Lesley, aged fifteen, of Schnectady, New York, in 1791. They had six daughters before Ball died in 1812 in Philadelphia.


Date Description
Box 1
n.d. Photograph made from a painting
June 3–September 3, 1781;
September 29–November 5, 1781;
September 3, 1781–January 4, 1782;
January 4–April 17, 1782
November 27, 1783–February 15, 1784 Orderly book
1802 Journal
February 23, 1784 Commission
November 29, 1781 Salem Gazette [newspaper]
October 18, 1781 The Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser [newspaper]
October 5–November 30, 1781 The Connecticut Gazette; and the Universal Intelligencer [newspaper] (8 issues)