The American Journals of Lieutenant John Enys

The American Journals of Lieutenant John Enys Edited by Elizabeth Cometti
Published by The Adirondack Museum, Syracuse University Press, New York, USA.

ISBN 0-8156-0121-2
Published 1976

John Enys, a young British ensign with the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot, arrived in Quebec in the spring of 1776 with the contingent that helped to preserve British sovereignty over Canada. He fought in the Battle of Valcour Island in October 1776 and in raids against the frontiers of Vermont in 1778 and New York in 1780. His vivid accounts of the ravages inflicted by the invading Regulars, Loyalists, and Indians add perspective to a neglected chapter of American history.

Enys sailed back to England in 1782. He then reluctantly returned to do garrison duty in what is today eastern Ontario. He described the posts and burgeoning settlements on the upper St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario areas, where a number of Empire Loyalists were establishing new homes. Near the end of his tour of duty, Enys traveled through the former colonies as far south as Norfolk, Virginia. The tales of his travels, mostly by public conveyance in the dead of winter, provide charming glimpses of life in the young Republic. Enys was amazed at his warm receptions in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. One of the highlights of his trip was a day spent with George Washington at Mount Vernon, discussing the relative merits of breeding jack asses.

As a soldier, Enys never missed the opportunity to visit battle sites of the Revolution, and in a field-guide style he describes how the sites looked in 1787. Enys returned to England for good in 1788.

This lavishly illustrated book includes reproductions of period drawings, paintings, and engravings from sources in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.

Elizabeth Cometti has provided an extensive introduction and notes to help the reader understand unfamiliar subjects mentioned by Enys. The notes also include Enys' re-examination of his own journals years later.