The Diaries: Volume 3

DATE 1771 – 1775, 1780 – 1781

The third volume of The Diaries of George Washington covers Washington’s effort to expand his milling operations and to secure western bounty lands (1771), his involvement in the events leading up to the Revolution (1773-75), and his journal of the Yorktown campaign (1781).

Volume III recounts Washington’s increasing involvement in the social and political life outside Virginia which brought him into close contact with the leaders of other colonies and eventually led to his appointment as commander in chief of the Continental army.

This volume contains the only section of Washington’s diaries that deals with the military aspects of the Revolutionary War. This section, from May through the beginning of November 1781, describes the military activities around New York City and the extensive and secret preparations for the campaign against Cornwallis in Virginia. The entries and annotations reconstruct the march to Virginia, the relations between Washington’s army and its French allies, and the siege of Yorktown with the surrender of Cornwallis.

Every available entry by Washington during these years appears here. All entries are newly transcribed from the original sources, and many have never before been published. The accompanying annotation is more thorough than in any previous edition, yet carefully balanced to give the reader essential information without cluttering the text.


Donald Jackson, ed., The Papers of George Washington: Diaries volume 3, 1771 – 1775, 1780 – 1781. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1978.