Colonial Williamsburg Research Division Web Site

The Revolution in Virginia

The following resources lead the researcher to bibliographic and textual information from the period or about the American Revolution, especially in Virginia.

Internet Resources from Colonial Williamsburg

The American Revolution
Read, listen and see images about the war, the philosophy, the material culture, and the people who lived through the Revolution in America.

Choosing Revolution
The "Choosing Revolution" story line traces the beginnings of the new nation by exploring the complex decisions every Virginian faced as the colony moved toward independence. For further understanding, please read the key points for this storyline.

Principles of Freedom
The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution and the role of Virginians are showcased. Included are facsimiles of some of the manuscripts owned by the Rockefeller Library.

Politics in Virginia
Events and documents leading up to the Revolution

Virginia Gazette
Read about the events as they happened. Use the alphabetical index with terms such as Tea, Revolutionary War, Continental Army, and by location of action.

The American Revolution: A Selective Guide to Military Organization, Engagements, and Provisioning (PDF)
This finding aid lists resources for learning about the organization of the American and British fighting units.

Revolutionary War Virginians (PDF)
This finding aid describes selected resources to consult when looking for information about patriots and loyalists. While these resources are all available in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, they may also be obtained in other libraries.

Spies and Spycraft in the American Revolution
A selected list of books, online sources and films.

Images are available in the Library's Visual Resources Center. Look at some samples:
George Washington
Revolutionary War

Articles from the Colonial Williamsburg Journal

The Newburgh Incident: George Washington stops a Mutiny by Ed Crews, Autumn 2014
George Washington and the Evolution of the American Commander in Chief by Christopher Geist,Summer 2012
Terms of Estrangement: Who Were the Sons of Liberty? by Bejamin L. Carp, Winter 2012
Company for Christmas, 1781 by Christopher Geist, Autumn, 2008
The Truth About Betsy Ross: Popular Lore Says She Made First Flag, but Evidence for the Tale Is Scarce by Ed Crews, Summer 2008.
Of Rocks, Trees, Rifles, and Militia, Thoughts on Eighteenth-Century Military Tactics by Christopher Geist, Winter 2008
Fighting... Maybe for Freedom, but probably not by Lloyd Dobyns, Autumn 2007. (African-Americans in the Revolution)
A Look at the Revolutionary City by James Horn, Spring 2006
The Alternative of Williams-Burg: "Monster madness... the Patriots are in high Spirits just now." by Robert Doares, Spring 2006
A Common American Soldier by Christopher Geist, Autumn 2004
Spies and Scouts, Secret Writings and Sympathetic Citizens by Ed Crews, Summer 2004
Promises to Pay, Promises Unkept: How We Won a War and Lost Our Shirts by Richard G. Doty, Summer 2003
Enduring Images of War by J. Hunter Barbour, Winter 2002-2003
A Patriot, a Traitor, and a Bill of Attainder by Jack Lynch, Spring 2002
Virginia’s Very Own Navy by Edwards Park , Spring 2002

Selected Books, Films and Journal Articles in the Rockefeller Library

Frey, Sylvia R. "Between Slavery and Freedom: Virginia Blacks in the American Revolution." Journal of Southern History 1983 49(3): 375-398.      [online version, CW only]

McDonnell, Michael A. "Class War: Class Struggles during the American Revolution in Virginia." William and Mary Quarterly 2006 63(2): 305-344.       [online version, CW only]

McDonnell, Michael A. "Popular Mobilization and Political Culture in Revolutionary Virginia: the Failure of the Minutemen and the Revolution from Below." Journal of American History 1998 85(3): 946-981. [online version, CW only]

Selby, John E. The Revolution in Virginia, 1775-1783. Williamsburg, Va. : Charlottesville, Va.: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2007.

Tillson, Albert H. Accommodating Revolutions: Virginia's Northern Neck in an Era of Transformations, 1760-1810. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010.

Search for more books in the Library catalog:


Other Internet Resources

The Age of George III
The later Eighteenth Century was a time of change and conflict in Britain. This web presents some of the major themes of the period 1760-1830.

William Ancrum Papers, 1757-1789: Letter Book and Account Book
Wealthy Charleston merchant William Ancrum's letter book, 1776-1780, and financial accounts, 1757-1789, reflect the financial impact of the American Revolution on this South Carolina businessman and planter. View the records by date or search by keyword.

Black Loyalists: Our History, Our People
This site explores an untold story of how Canada became the home of the first settlements of free blacks outside Africa. Canada's Digital Collections offers a transcript of the Book of Negroes, a list of African-Americans evacuated from New York at the end of the war. A digital version of the original manuscripts of the Book of Negroes, searchable by personal name, is available from the government of Nova Scotia. (The Library also owns a photocopy (Number 10427 of the set entitled, “Headquarters Papers of the British Army in America”) and a microfilm copy (M154.29) of the original Book of Negroes.)

Center of Military History. Online Bookshelves: Revolutionary War.
Fulltext analyses of military operations in the Revolutionary War, including:
Supplying Washington's Army (1981) which discusses provision by the Quartermaster's Department of arms and ammunition, food, clothing and medical supplies to the troops.
The Virginia Campaign and the Blockade and Siege of Yorktown 1781 (1931) includes French involvement in the Revolution, the troop movements and skirmishes leading up to the confrontation at Yorktown and includes aerial photography of the battlefield circa 1930.

Documents for the Study of American History
AMDOCS offers transcriptions of documents from the period.

The Avalon Project
Includes transcriptions of important legal documents such as the Quartering Act, 1774, and the Articles of Capitulation, 1781.

Journals of the Continental Congress
The Journals of the Continental Congress are the records of the daily proceedings of the Congress—the First Continental Congress met from September 5 to October 26, 1774; the Second Continental Congress from May 10, 1775, to March 2, 1789.

Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789
The surviving correspondence of the 344 delegates who attended the Continental Congresses during and after the American Revolution.

The Loyalist Collection
The Harriet Irving Library at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, N.B. is a repository of Loyalist resources in Canada and contains microfilm of British, North American Colonial, and early Canadian primary sources from approximately 1740 - 1870, with the chief focus being the American Revolution, and the early years of Loyalist settlement in British North America.

Military Records and Resources from the Library of Virginia
Includes service, pension, and land bounty records for Virginia soldiers from the colonial period to the twentieth century.

A New Nation: The Thomas Addis Emmet Collection of Illustrations Relating to the American Revolution and Early United States History.
A digital presentation of more than 8000 images owned by the New York Public Library.

Pictorial Americana. The Revolution.
Selected images from the collections of the Library of Congress.

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
Washington, D.C., approximately 147,000 images online.

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources 1745-1799
All 38 volumes of John C. Fitzpatrick's 1931-44 edition are reproduced by the University of Virginia.

Subscription Resources (available only to Colonial Williamsburg staff)

America: History and Life
Indexes over 2,000 historical journals published worldwide. Approximately 16,000 new entries are added each year. Enter “|American Revolution| and |Virginia|” as a subject to see a broad array of articles.

The American Founding Era Collection is made available by the University of Virginia and cooperating institutions and offers digital editions of the papers of major figures of the early republic, and presents all material from the published volumes, including editorial annotations and careful transcriptions of hundreds of thousands of documents, in a fully searchable online environment. Included in this collection are:

America's Historical Imprints
Search simultaneously: Early American Imprints Series I: Evans, 1639-1800 and Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819. (Available only on computers on the CWF network; contact Reference Desk, 565-8510, for assistance.)

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800
Full-text books, pamphlets, broadsides and other imprints listed in the renowned bibliography by Charles Evans - the definitive resource for information about every aspect of life in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century America, from agriculture and auctions through foreign affairs, diplomacy, literature, music, religion, the Revolutionary War, temperance, witchcraft, and just about any other topic imaginable.

Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819
Full-text books, pamphlets, broadsides and other imprints listed in the distinguished bibliography by Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker.

America's Historical Newspapers, Series I, 1690-1876
Hundreds of historic newspapers listed in Clarence Brigham's authoritative bibliography and in additional subsequent bibliographies.

Fold3/Footnote Revolutionary War Archives
Searchable documents from the National Archives include Revolutionary War Pensions, Prize Cases, Rolls and Service Records.

Parliamentary Papers, 1688-1834
Search or browse bills, acts, sessional papers, journals, and history of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Sources in U.S. History Online: The American Revolution
The American Revolution digital collection contains nearly 500 significant documents of the time--official correspondence, personal letters, collected writings of key figures, political speeches, memoirs and narratives of soldiers and civilians, histories, and biographies.