The Journal of Josiah Atkins

“But I must shut my book for ye present, ye drum beats for parading… ye enemy are upon us.”
                    -Private Josiah Atkins, 5th Connecticut Regiment, Continental Army, June 23, 1781

The Journal of Josiah Atkins of Waterbury, Farmingbury Society in Ye State of Connecticut, N. England, Written by Himself in 1781, from the New Haven Military Collection (MSS 80) is one of the great treasures of the New Haven Museum collection.

With the generous support of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut, the museum has scanned and transcribed Private Atkins’ journal and made it available via our website. We also plan to display the diary at the museum when it is safe to do so.

This remarkable artifact describes a year (in fact, the last year) in the life of Josiah Atkins, a thirty-two year old man who left a pregnant wife and child at home to enlist as a private in the Continental Army and fight for the cause of American Independence. The journal is part day-by-day account of army life, part collection of musings, poetry, religious reflections and letters home, and wholly a document of the physical, psychological and spiritual circumstances of one man at one historic moment in time.

New Haven Museum staff, in particular Emma Norden, completed the transcription. We were assisted by the partial transcription of the journal published by the Mattatuck Historical Society (now the Mattatuck Museum) in 1954. Transcription of eighteenth century writing is not an easy task, if you spot a possible error kindly email



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