170
170
Washington, George, as Continental Commander
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 32,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
170
Washington, George, as Continental Commander
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 32,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

Washington, George, as Continental Commander
Autograph letter signed ("Go: Washington"), 2 1/2 pages (12 7/8 x 8 1/8 in.; 328 x 206 mm) on a bifolium (watermarked pro patria | gr), Morristown, 20 February 1777, to Samuel Washington, autograph address panel and reception dockets on verso of second leaf; silked, seal tear and repair costing a few words of the autograph postscript. Half blue morocco slipcase, red morocco labels, chemise.
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Provenance

Sotheby's, 22 June 1981, lot 287 (undesignated consignor)

Literature

Not in Fitzpatrick or the The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series

Catalogue Note

An unpublished George Washington letter, reporting to his brother about the martial progress of one of his nephews.

In winter quarters at Morristown following his successes at Trenton and Princeton, Washington is able to "snatch a moment ... either borrowed from Sleep, or taken from other business" to write to his younger brother about the situation of the Continental Army: "Since Christmas matters have gone on rather favourably, indeed much more so than could possibly be expected from our numbers, or the kind of Troops we had—how long this Scene of good fortune may continue is not in my power to say as we are reduced almost entirely to Militia, & our numbers (but this under the nose) greatly inferior to that of the Enemy who have lately receiv'd a considerable Re-inforcement from Rhode Island, and intend as far as we can collect from Circumstances and report to Move out of their present Quarters in Brunswic, Amboy, &ca.

"Of late, little of Importance hath happened—frequent skirmishes between our Scouts and Enemys foraging Parties have ensu'd, in which, tho' they are too strong always to be drove In, they generally fare worst, having more Men killed and wounded than we have.—"

Washington tells Samuel that his son is adjusting to military life: "in one of these skirmishes Thornton (your Son) has been a performer, and I have the pleasure to tell you that he (from Captn. Thurston's acct.) behaved well—None of your Sons hands can, as yet, bring themselves to stand the whistlings of a Cannon Ball although ther is less danger from them than Musquetry.—"

Washington can perhaps see a military future for his nephew, but he fears that his youth (probably Thornton was not older than seventeen) will hinder his ability to be an officer. "Thornton is in very good hands at present—I will, if things keep quiet, have him Innoculated in a few days; after which, if he should continue in the Service, which I hardly know how to advise, so young as he is, I will give the best attention to him I can, tho it is impossible for a person surrounded with business as I am, to bestow much.—his youthful appearance, with a Commission, would be quite a novelty in our Army; & Men do not relish the Command of boys so small as he is, however, whatever I can do with Propriety, I will.—"

Washington solicits his brother's aid in serving legal notice on some settlers who had moved on to some lands that he owned, and he asks to be remembered to his sister-in-law and "the little ones." In a postscript he informs Samuel that he cannot help an acquaintance gain a position in the Commissary Departmen because "the Commissary Genl. Colo. Trumbell appoints all his own assistants—I never concern myself with them as I look to him as the chief ... & I believe the applicants are already [nume]rous."

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York