Lot 10: [American Revolution Officers.] A comprehensive archive of twenty-one letters and documents.
July 11, 2014
Calabasas, CA, USALive Auction
10. [American Revolution Officers.] A comprehensive archive of twenty-one letters and documents relating to major incidents and battles of the American Revolution.
An exceptional archive providing highly important information regarding major battles during the American Revolution.
The present archive of letters and documents on the Revolutionary War is a superb chronological testament of the war written, first hand, by major war Generals. The earliest letter in the archive, an autograph letter by John Thomas, Major General in the war, mentions the desperate situation in Boston. I…am sory for your Situation but at present it is not in my power to Give Releaf unless you Petition to the Committee of safety which if you will forward to me I will Doe Every Thing in my power to Serve you it if…I Should be glad that you and all my old friend was Clear from the Town of Boston as I must Suppose it will not be Long before that Situation will be Desparate. Thomas led his troops to the invasion of Boston in February 1775 and the Congress made him brigadier of the Continental Army.
With disease and sickness rampant, in an autograph letter signed, Horatio Gates writes to His Excellency General [George] Washington discussing the prevention of spreading small pox. Sir Yesterday Evening I had the Honour to receive your Excellency’s Letter of the 28th. Instant; I immediately consulted with Doctor [William] Shippen, & Mr. Morris, upon the best method of preventing the spreading of The Infection Small Pox, & have Issued Orders to Oblige all the Troops, & Recruits, upon their March from the Westward, to Avoid this City, & take their Route through German Town. Gates was given command of the Canadian Department and was quite disorganized with the retreat from Quebec. At this time, disease, especially smallpox, had taken a significant toll on the ranks. He eventually made it to Fort Ticonderoga, but had a tiff with Phillip Schuyler, as that was his territory. It was eventually worked out between the two.
Sickness did not elude the Generals. John Sullivan, whom Horatio Gates replaced, became ill and needed to leave the field. In an autograph letter signed he writes: At a time when the rapid and alarming decline of my health forces me (reluctantly) from the field, so flattering a testimony respecting my conduct by two brigades, which have so eminently distinguished themselves on sundry occasions…It is with great truth I assert, that while I feel the most lively sentiments of gratitude for the regret you are please to express on my retiring from the Army, I sincerely lament the misfortune which alone could have forced me to adopt a measure, so repugnant to my own wishes, and so contrary to these repeated solicitations of my friends…
However, not all battalions fell ill and many fought strongly. In an autograph letter signed, as Lieutenant Colonel William Stephen Smith reports to Baron von Steuben that: The Enemy detached a small party to engage those stationed at this post. I have the satisfaction to inform you that they retired with more expedition than they advanced and at present remain quiet but still keeping possession of the Main Bridge…A small party are again advancing. We Will Drub them and send you the account there. After receiving several wounds while holding the command of the 13th Massachusetts Regiment, Smith subsequently served for a short time on Baron von Steuben’s staff before becoming aide-de-camp to General Washington. Springfield, New Jersey, the town to which Smith addresses this letter, was the scene of a Revolutionary battle on 23 June 1780, at which time General Greene repulsed the British. The town of Elizabeth was an important point in General Washington’s maneuvers during the Revolution.
In an autograph letter signed, Major General Nathanael Greene writes to General George Washington on 23 June 1780 at 8 O’Clock P.M. about the Battle of Springfield that took place on the same day. Docketed 23rd June 1780 to Genl. Washington.
This archive concludes with a retained copy of John Burgoyne’s letter in which he is negotiating an exchange for Ethan Allen. On 2 October 1777, the letter to General Horatio Gates says Mr. Allen is detained as a prisoner of State; but without entering into that consideration, I think it would be inconsistent with the powers or propriety of Sir Henry Clinton’s station or mine, to interfere in a matter which has already been under discussion between Sir William Howe and General Washington…Ethan Allen was captured by the British following his disastrous attack on Montreal in September 1775. He was a liability to the English, who were afraid of reprisals if they executed him. As Burgoyne wrote his letter, the Crown was in the final stages of negotiations with the Americans to free Allen in New York City, an event, which occurred a month later.
Included in the archive are documents relating to Joseph Trumbull, Anthony Wayne, Benjamin Lincoln, William Howe, David Wooster, Philip Schuyler, Baron von Steuben and Israel Putnam. A significant archive that documents the personal accounts of defeat and triumph during the American Revolution.
$6,000 - $8,000