Charles K. (Charles Kitchell) Gardner
Papers, 1803-1897

SC12914

Quantity: 7 Boxes (3 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research.
Acquisition: Purchased by New York State Library from Cedric L. Robinson, January 1953; an accretion was purchased from Cedric L. Robinson, March 1957 (accessioned as SC13837, which was later collated with the original group; BD11225 collated with papers, December 2006.) Details available in the accession file.
Altenative Formats: Selective items in this collection are also available on microform.  These items are identified in the box and folder inventory
Administrative Note: A number of documents in this collection are missing. These items are noted in the inventory and the index to correspondence.  Also noted (with an *) are documents that were recovered in 2008 by the Office of New York State Attorney General.
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collections, May 1997; revised February 2001, May 2001, and December 2006

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Related Materials: Index of Letters to Gardner from officers in Army (Boxes 2 and 3)

Biographical Note:

Charles Kitchell Gardner was born June 27, 1787, in Morristown, New Jersey, the son of Thomas and Sarah Kitchell Gardner.  At an early age, the family moved to Newburgh, New York, where they kept an inn.  Charles received his secondary education at a private academy in Morristown, New Jersey, before enrolling at Columbia College in 1807, where he studied medicine under Dr. David Hosack.  In 1808 he was commissioned an ensign in the 6th Regiment of Infantry, U.S. Army, and thence chose to pursue a career in the military.  By 1812, when hostilities arose between the United States and Great Britain, he had attained the rank of brigade inspector and lieutenant.  During the war he rose in rank to that of colonel of the 25th Infantry which was stationed at various times at Sacketts Harbor, Fort George and Fort Niagara. In September 1815, at the instigation of Major General Eleazar Ripley, with whom Gardner had had a personal quarrel, Gardner was arrested and court martialed for conduct deemed unbecoming for an officer.  He was found guilty of being disrespectful to a superior, but not guilty of cowardice or neglect of duty.  Thus, vindicated, he was restored to rank.  He resigned from the army permanently in 1818 at the request of Ann Eliza McLean, whom he married in March 1819.

Gardner and his wife settled in New York City where he became engaged in various literary endeavors.  He authored a book, Compend of the United States System of Infantry Exercise and Manœuvres [Maneuvers], Also, the Best System Extant for Light Infantry and Riflemen, which was published in 1819.  A year later he completed another publication, Regulations for Light Infantry and Riflemen … .  He also edited the first number of the Literary and Scientific Repository and Critical Review and other periodicals.  These editorial posts provided Gardner with a forum from which he could comment on political issues.  At first he was an ally of Governor DeWitt Clinton; then he supported James Calhoun, and later the policies of Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party.  Gardner’s political interest led to a series of appointments to positions in the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C. from 1829 to 1849.  In 1853 he was appointed surveyor-general of Oregon, and in 1856 he returned to Washington, D.C. to become a clerk in the Treasury Department.  He retired in 1867 and died two years later on November 1, 1869.

Scope and Content Note:

The papers of Charles Kitchell Gardner relate chiefly to his career in the United States Army.  They include correspondence between Gardner and several other officers, including John Armstrong, Jacob Brown, Daniel Parker and Winfield Scott.  The correspondence provides information on garrison life at frontier posts in the years before the War of 1812.  With the onset of war, the correspondence covers military operations and battles in the vicinity of Sacketts Harbor, Fort George, and Fort Niagara.  These letters also contain many comments on the conduct of the war, especially in regards to the political aspects.  Other papers related to the War of 1812 include order books related to campaigns along the Niagara River and the Saint Lawrence River, from April to September 1814, morning reports, monthly returns, court martial proceedings, and a list of British soldiers taken prisoner near Fort George on May 13, 1813. In addition, there are several British Army documents seized by the U.S. Army, which provide invaluable insight into its military operations during the war.  After the war, the papers are concerned largely with the court martial of Gardner, and his subsequent vindication and reinstatement.

These papers also include materials relating to other phases of Gardner's life.  His early correspondence, mostly with his family, covers his academic studies and experiences, first at Morristown, New Jersey, and later at Columbia College.  During the 1820s his correspondence concerns various editorial activities and publishing ventures.  After 1830 the correspondence deals chiefly with Gardner’s duties in the Post Office Department.  Principle correspondents include Ralph Lockwood, John B. Hogan, Henry Beach, Charles Humphrey and former military associates, all of whom commented on political affairs.  Lastly, these papers include manuscript drafts of Gardner's writings and invitations to several inaugural balls of U.S. Presidents from 1841 to 1865.

Altogether, the papers of Charles Kitchell Gardner provide a rich vein of information on United States military and political history for much of the half century preceding the Civil War.

Container List:
Box Folder Description
    Letters written by Charles Kitchell Gardner, 1803-1869
1 1 1803-1807 (30 items)
1 2 1808-1810 (46 items)
1 3 1811 (44 items)
1 4 1812 (44 items)
1 5 1813 (57 items)
1 6 1814 (62 items)
1 7 1815 (31 items)
1 8 1816 (36 items)
1 9 1817-1820 (30 items)
1 10 1821-1869 (35 items)
1 11 n.d. (27 items)
    Letters addressed to Charles Kitchell Gardner, 1807-1864 (See appended index for letters to Gardner from prominent army officers.)
2 1 1807 (16 items)
2 2 1808 (12 items)
2 3 1809-1810 (12 items)
2 4 1811 (21 items)
2 5 1812  (44 items)
2 6 1813 (January-June) (28 items)
2 7 1813 (July-December) (39 items)
2 8 1814 (January-May) (26 items)
2 9 1814 (June-December) (27 items)
2 10 1815 (31 items)
2 11 1816  (28 items)
2 12 1817 (24 items)
3 1 1818-1819 (28 items)
3 2 1820-1822 (45 items)
3 3 1823 (32 items)
3 4 1824-1826 (50 items)
3 5 1827-1829 (45 items)
3 6 1830-1832 (40 items)
3 7 1833-1834 (40 items)
3 8 1835-1836 (23 items)
3 9 1837-1839 (25 items)
3 10 1840-1846 (38 items)
3 11 1847-1864 (41 items)
3 12 n.d. (51 items)
    Military Papers, 1811-1822
4 1 Correspondence of other officers, 1811-1814 (23 items)
4 2 Correspondence of Gen. John Armstrong, 1812-1813 (10 items)
4 3 Correspondence of Gen. Jacob Brown, 1814-1817 (14 items)
4 4 U.S. Army General Orders, 1812-March 1814 (8 items)
4 5 U.S. Army General Orders, April-December, 1814 (18 items)
4 6 U.S. Army General Orders, 1815-1817 (12 items)
4 7 U.S. Army Court Martial Proceedings, 1813-1815 (10 items)
4 8 U.S. Army Statistical Reports, Memorandum, Receipts, etc., 1812-1814 (22 items)
4 9 Correspondence concerning the capture of the British garrison at Fort George, 1813-1814 (11 items)
  1. John Clark, 4 May 1813
  2. J. B. Glegg, 16 May 1813
  3. Winfield Scott, 17 May 1813; 22 June [1813]
  4. Lt. Col. Myers, 29 May 1813
  5. Col. Beasley, 20 August 1813
  6. Edward Baynes, 16 August 1814
  7. R. C. Nicholas, 17 September 1814
  8. Francis de Rottenburg; Reports to  General Dearborn, 15 and 16 July 1813 with notes and remarks of Gardner
4 10
  1. Roster of Prisoners taken at Fort George, May 13, 1813 (1 item, 4 leaves)
  2. *List of Prisoners brought to Fort Niagara, June 8, 1813 (1 item)
4 11 Orders and Reports of the British Army, 1812-1814 (14 items)
  1. Amyas Thomas, pledge of honor, 11 August 1812
  2. Return of the Royal Artillery of those wounded in action, 13 October 1812
  3. Morning state of Chippawa Troops, 13 May 1813
  4. Morning report of Provincial Cavalry, Fort George, 13 May 1813
  5. Return of Provincial Artificer’s received from Upper Canada,18 May 1813
  6. Morning state of the militia under the command of Col. Claus, 18 May 1813
  7. Morning state of the militia at Niagara under the command of Col. Claus, 20 May 1813
  8. Monthly return of the garrison of Amherstburg commanded by Lieut. Col. J.B. St. George, 25 July 1812
  9. Dates of Gen. [Ardee’s] commission, 26 July-21 August 1814
  10. *Monthly return of the 104th New Brunswick  Regiment of Foot ... H.Q. at Kingston, 24 August 1814
  11. Record of troop removal, 22-30 August [1814]
  12. *Printed order: H.Q. Montreal, 24 August 1814 – Memorandum relative to re-enlistment of men of His Majesty’s Foot Guards and Regiment of Infantry – Harry Calvert, Adjutant General
  13. *Printed General Order: H.Q. Montreal, 23 August 1814 (Document appears to have been clipped.)
  14. *Printed Broadside: "Volunteer Incorporated Militia" Aeneas Shaw, U.C. [Upper Canada], annotated 24 April 1813 by Gen. John Clark
4 12 Diary of General Orders, July 27-September 8, 1814, at Kingston, Montreal and Fort Erie. (1 item). Available on microfiche: MB/FF,973.52,G226,200-5116
5 1 Order book [sic] of the U.S. Army, Left Division, April 7, 1814-July 24, 1814, re; campaign on the Niagara Frontier (1 item) (transfer from accession BD11225) Available on microfilm: MB/FM 973.52 G226 206-10018
5 2 Letterbook of Charles Kitchell Gardner, 1809-1810, re: military affairs.
5 3 Documents relative to the history of the United States Army (3 items)
  1. "Military Peace Establishment" – Report by C. K. Gardner on organization of the U.S. Army, 12 April 1822 (9 p.)
  2. "Table of the present and proposed organization of the Army," April 1822
  3. Preface on the History of the Army, [ca. 1822] (11 p.)
  4. History of West Point (missing 2/2008)
5 4 Commentaries and notes on military matters, [ca. 1820s] (3 items)
  1. Criticism of General Ripley's military memoirs
  2. General [Andrew] Jackson's speech at New Orleans
  3. General Wilkinson's defenses
5 5 Journal regarding the Niagara Campaign, [1814] (28 p.)
5 6 Notes regarding the Niagara Campaign
    Personal and Family Papers, 1805-1861
6 1 Gardner Family Correspondence, 1812-1852 (32 items)
6 2 Correspondence of John McLean, 1820-1862 (37 items)
6 3 Legal and Estate papers (2 items)
  1. Last Will and Testament of Thomas Gardner, December 30, 1803
  2. Release, Charles K. Gardner to Julia Gardner, October 2, 1813
6 4 Bill of Sale and Indenture of a slave, 9 November 1836 (4 items)
6 5 Petitions of the merchants of New York City, November 1, 1841 (2 items)
6 6 Speeches and Orations of Charles K. Gardner, n.d. (6 items)
  1. Fourth of July oration: "Liberty and Equality"
  2. "Presidency"
  3. "Charles" endorsement on patriotic address (2 items)
  4. Draft of address, 1811
  5. "American Way"
6 7 Astronomy and Geography Notebook, 1805 (1 item)
6 8 Printed Materials (8 items)
  1. Broadside: Prospectus for New York Patriot, April 1823 (2 items)
  2. The Globe, Washington, May 19, 1832 (1 item)
  3. Daily National Intelligencer, February 16, 1816, September 9, 1848, and September 12, 1848 (clippings – 3 items)
6 9 News Clippings re: Crocker & Co.
6 10 Poetry and other miscellaneous papers (19 items)
7 1 Invitations and Regrets from Presidents and wives (16 items)
  1. John Quincy Adams (3 items)
  2. Mrs. James Madison, February 22, 1832 (1 item)
  3. Andrew Jackson, 1829-1835 (5 items)
  4. Martin van Buren (1 item)
  5. John Tyler (1 item)
  6. James K. Polk (3 items)
  7. Franklin B. Pierce (1 item)
  8. Millard Fillmore (1 item)
7 2 Invitations:  Washington Birthday Celebrations (6 items)
7 3 Invitations: Presidential Inaugural Balls, 1841-1869 (7 items)
  1. National Ball February 1841
  2. William Henry Harrison, 1841
  3. James K. Polk, 1845 (2 items)
  4. Zachary Taylor, 1849 (missing 02/2008)
  5. Union Ball (Lincoln) 1861 (missing 02/2008)
  6. Abraham Lincoln, 1865 (missing 02/2008)
  7. *Ulysses S. Grant, 1869
7 4 *Presidential Inaugural Souvenir, William McKinley, 1897 (3 items)
7 5 Souvenir Invitations
  1. Centennial Exhibition Opening, Philadelphia, May 1876 (3items; invitation, ticket, and cover)
  2. *Brooklyn Bridge Opening, 1883 (4 items: invitation, ticket, program, and cover)
7 6 Draft Exemption Certificate, 1864, and other papers of George Clinton Gardner  (4 items)
7 7 Programs, tickets, etc., Columbia College (15 items)
7 8 Petitions, ca. 1842-1862 (9 items)
7 9 Invitations (3 bundles)

* Items recovered in 2008 by the Office of New York State Attorney General

Last Updated: September 22, 2009