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Lot 46: 1777 Hartford Wit DAVID HUMPHREYS + SPY Officer ELI LEAVENSWORTH Signed Document
29 October 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
David Humphreys Signed Document - AKA "Hartford Wit" and by SPY Iintelligence Officer "Eli Leavensworth"
DAVID HUMPHREYS (1752-1818). American Revolutionary War Colonel and Aide-de-camp to General George Washington, American Minister to Portugal and then to Spain, Entrepreneur who brought Merino sheep to America and Member of the Connecticut State Legislature, also Poet and Author he was one of the then famous "Hartford Wits."
January 21, 1777-Dated Revolutionary War, Partially-Printed Document Signed, "David Humphreys," 1 page, measuring 7.75" x 12", vividly printed and engrossed in rich brown on fine quality period watermarked laid paper, Choice Extremely Fine. Being an obligation to the State of Connecticut in which both Elijah and David Humphrey's guarantees that the 2,000 given by the State shall be used to raise a Company of Troops for military service from Connecticut in the Continental Army. A very necessary order considering that many Continental Army soldiers had left George Washington's Continental Army soon after the successful Battles at Trenton at the year end close of 1776 having Washington's army strength had dwindled to a mere 1,000 to 2,000 men.
This Document, dated less than one month later, appoints Elijah Humphreys as Captain of that Continental Battalion to be commanded by William Douglas. It is nicely Signed at the conclusion by both "David Humphrys" and "Eli Leavensworth" with their red wax seals to the right of each name.
Eli Leavenworth became Captain of the 7th Connecticut Regiment in July 1775 and Captain of the 19th Continental Army Infantry in 1776. He was also Captain of the 6th CT, later being promoted to Major and had active intelligence operations conducted on Long Island, New York. Eli Leavensworth was known to have served with distinction as an intelligence officer whose job was to track spies within the Patriot Movement and stay on top of the enemies' moves. He was a Spy intelligence officer during the Revolution and a postwar Counterfeiter! Two great historic signatures, and excellent for display.
ELI LEAVENWORTH became Captain of the 7th Connecticut Regiment in July 1775 and Captain of the 19th Continental Infantry in 1776. He was also Captain of the 6th CT, later being promoted to Major. Leavenworth was known to have served with distinction as an intelligence officer whose job was to track spies within the Patriot Movement and stay on top of the enemies' moves.
In the document offered here, the Revolutionary War government has paid him a bonus for enlisting in and helping to recruit a company of soldiers for what was to become an ill equipped company commanded by Colonel William Douglas. The men's incompetence frustrated Gen. George Washington, who, at one point, flogged some of them with his cane.
Douglas had raised the 6th Company of the 1st Connecticut Regiment and became its Captain. He took part in military campaigns along Lake George and Lake Champlain. He was promoted twice in 1776, first to Major and then to Colonel of the Connecticut State Regiment, also known as the "Connecticut 5th Battalion."
Douglas acknowledged in letters to his wife that his troops were often ill-equipped for battle. When British troops landed at Kips Bay in New York City on September 15, 1776, Douglas' men retreated wildly. General George Washington, encountering the retreating troops, reacted angrily and flogged some of them with his cane declaring, "Are these men with whom I am to defend America?"