Lot 94: GEORGE WASHINGTON Manuscript Letter Signed
29 October 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Commander-in-Chief George Washington Amasing His Continental Army Troops to Fight the Battle of Rhode Island
GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732-1799). 1st President of the United States (April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797); a Founding Father of the United States, serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War; presided over the 1787 Constitutional Convention held at Philadelphia.
(August 2, 1778) Important Revolutionary War Content Manuscript Letter Signed, "Go: Washington" as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, 1 page, measuring 8" x 12.75", Very Fine. No date or place stated, yet can be properly determined to be written on August 2, 1778, from White Plains, New York. This important Letter, is accomplished in the hand of Washington's aide Robert Hanson Harrison, being written to Massachusetts Council President Jeremiah D. Powell. Here, General George Washington makes military arrangements to augment the Continental Brigade headed by General John Glover (then en route to Rhode Island) with the Massachusetts militia. This historic Letter reads, in full:
"Sir -- As General Glover's brigade has been detached to Rhode Island, and is intended to form a part of the Troops - which are to operate in that Quarter, I take the liberty to request, that such of the recruits of your State as have not actually marched, may proceed and join him. This will not only place them in a way of rendering immediate service; but will prevent them the trouble of a long and fatiguing march at this season. Your recruits now here will join the Massachusetts Brigades - which compose a part of this army. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect & esteem - Sir, Your Most Obed Sevt - (Signed) Go: Washington."
George Washington was sending General Glover's brigade from the main army in White Plains to reinforce General James Sullivan's army near Newport that culminated in the Battle of Rhode Island, also known as Battle of Quaker Hill, or the Siege of Newport, on August 29, 1778. Glover's brigade joined that of James Mitchell Varnum, both under the leadership of the Marquis de Lafayette in the march to Rhode Island. Mass. Council President Jeremiah Powell did indeed send Massachusetts militiamen directly to Rhode Island, though it took more time than expected to organize them. The ensuing battle was one of the first attempts between the two allied armies, and a large hurricane had scattered the French fleet, forcing them to sail to Boston for repairs.
This important Manuscript Letter shows light overall tone, having two minor glassine reinforcement remnants at the extreme top margin edge from prior display, small loss at top right has been conserved and infilled on the blank verso, and a horizontal centerfold separation repaired on the blank verso with archival tissue. Overall, the penned text is rich brown and easily readable on written on fine quality watermarked period paper and nice for framing and display, specially all being written on one page. The signature "Go: Washington" is large and bold at the conclusion having some trivial stray ink smudge and measuring a very large 3" long.
Provenance: Given to director Michael Curtiz (1886-1962) in 1945 during a broadcast of Vox Pop, a popular radio show of the period.