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Lot 34: Henry, Patrick. Autograph letter signed as Governor of Virginia, 2 pages (9 ½ x 7 ¼ in.)
December 18, 2012
Calabasas Hills, CA, USALive Auction
34. Henry, Patrick. Autograph letter signed (“P. Henry”) as Governor of Virginia, 2 pages (9 ½ x 7 ¼ in.; 241 x 184 mm.), “Willamsburg,” 27 May 1779, to Governor Thomas Johnson, the first Governor of the state of Maryland; light browning and scattered spotting, skillful repair to head and foot of leaf and integral address leaf.
Details on the Mathew-Collier raid.
Henry writes in full: The enemy who lately invaded this State with a Fleet of Ships of War consisting of the ‘Raisonable’ of 64 guns, the ‘Rainbow’ of 40 guns, the other of 14 and sundry other armed and unarmed vessels commanded by Commodore Sir George Collier, together with a number of Land Forces amounting to 1500 or 2000 commanded by Maj. General Mathew evacuated Portsmouth on Tuesday last after committing ravages and depredations (plundering) of the most cruel and unmanly sort. After their departure of Portsmouth they drew up their whole Fleet before Hampton and by a parade of their flat-bottomed boats threatened a descent on that place. But a considerable body of troops under Col. Marshall were so well prepared to receive them and maintained so firm a contenance that they did not choose to hazard the experiment, and yesterday about noon they hoisted sail and proceeded to sea. No conjecture can be made concerning their destination from their course, but from the Immense quantity and particular kind of some of their plunder, there can be little doubt but that they will return to New York.
On 10 May 1779, British forces captured and burned Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia. The Mathew-Collier raid was a particularly brutal and successful one for the British forces. Without the loss of one man, they captured huge quantities of naval supplies, ordinance, and forage, and sunk 137 American ships. Henry mentions that if Colonel Thomas Marshall (1730-1802) had not been prepared for them at Hampton, they would have done further damage. An important letter containing a detailed description of military action during the Revolutionary War.