Contents and Arrangement

76. Camp à Head-of-Elk, le 7 Septembre, 20 miles de Willmington. Le 8 Sèjour, undated


Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Thirtieth Camp at Head of Elk [in Maryland]. 7-8 September 1781. Twenty miles from the preceding camp at Wilmington. The First Brigade halted an extra day, so that both brigades were camped here together on the 8th, to the morth of the main road leading through the village of Head of Elk, or Elkton. Elk Landing, a mile or so south of the village, was on the "Head of Elk River" (formed by the confluence of Big Elk and Little Elk creeks) at one of the northernmost tips of the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware River was largely eliminated by the completion in 1829 of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal a few miles south.

It was hoped that the armies, both French and American, could embark at Head of Elk and be ferried down the Bay to Virginia. In spite of Washington's efforts to have sufficient transport vessels assembled here. only a limited number of troops could be accomodated. These included a French detachment commanded by Colonel Custine; cf. Clermont-Crèvecœur's journal, nn. 89-90. These units are shown on the map close to the landing (within and below the letter "H" of "Head of Elk").

The main part of the army thus continued its route towards Baltimore (and eventually Annapolis). The series of detailed road maps depicting the daily marches does not continue beyond Head of Elk, but the routes are schematically indicated on the comprehensive map of camps and marches, No. 162.

The French army camped again at Elkton, by divisions, on 28-31 August 1782; see No. 134.


The documents and maps are arranged chronologically by packet/item number that continue (for the most part) the numbering begun in the previous series.


These papers are housed in the original red portfolio cases (and order) in which they were presented to the Library in 1939.

Collection History


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was word-processed by Anna Bialek in July and August of 2005. Finding aid written by Howard Rice in 1957.

During 2022, restrictions for this collection were lifted as part of a restrictions review project.

Access & Use

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The collection is open for research.

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Credit this material:

76. Camp à Head-of-Elk, le 7 Septembre, 20 miles de Willmington. Le 8 Sèjour; Louis-Alexandre Berthier Collection, C0022, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is also available in microfilm.

Separated Materials

Relation de l'Escadre Française, aux ordres du Cher. Destouches, & de l'affaire qui a eue lieu le 16 Mars 1781, entre cette Escadre & celle des Anglais, commandée par l'Amiral Arbuthnot was transferred to rare books (1081.755 EX).


MS, No. 21-30. Rochambeau's copy is in the Library of Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginia. [Rice/Brown, pp. 151-152] Regarding Washington's efforts to assemble transport, see e.g. his letter to Governor Thomas Sim Lee of Maryland, 27 August 1781, in Writings of GW, XXIII, 57-58.

France. Armée
Rochambeau, Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur,‏ comte de,‏ 1725-1807‏