Florida: Dade, Francis Langhorne. Autograph letter signed to General Roger Jones, 14 Dec 1835
Florida: Dade, Francis Langhorne. Autograph letter signed to General Roger Jones, 14 Dec 1835
Florida: Dade, Francis Langhorne. Autograph letter signed to General Roger Jones, 14 Dec 1835
Florida: Dade, Francis Langhorne. Autograph letter signed to General Roger Jones, 14 Dec 1835
2113

Florida: Dade, Francis Langhorne. Autograph letter signed to General Roger Jones, 14 Dec 1835

Estimate: 15,000 - 20,000 USD

Florida: Dade, Francis Langhorne. Autograph letter signed to General Roger Jones, 14 Dec 1835

Estimate: 15,000 - 20,000 USD

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Lot Details

Description

DADE, FRANCIS LANGHORNE


AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("F. L. DADE") TO GENERAL ROGER JONES, WRITING IN ADVANCE OF HIS LAST POSTING REINFORCING THE GARRISON AT FORT KING AGAINST WARRING INDIAN FACTIONS 


1 page (10 x 8 in.; 250 x 202 mm), on a bifolium, Key West, Florida, 14 Dec 1835, integral free-franked address leaf, addressed to "General R. Jones | Washington D.C." with "free" and "Key West | Florida | December 15" stamped in red, the latter enclosed in a circle; light seal stain, loss from seal tear on second leaf (not affecting text), minor repairs to folds. 


A fateful letter sent from Brevet Major Francis Dade just days before his untimely demise in the "Dade Massacre"


Dade writes here of his impending move to Fort Brooke in the Tampa Bay area. From there, he would command the detachment that marched to the relief of Fort King, where Indian conflict with white settlers was reaching a fervid peak. Tensions could be traced back to the Moultrie Creek Treaty of 1823, wherein the Indians were allocated land too poor to cultivate or raise cattle, and the resulting years brought flooding, famine, and eventual attempts at removal. On 28 December, the Seminole leader Osceola planned an ambush to meet Dade's troops as they marched through the reservation, and about one half of his command were hit by initial fire. The remaining able-bodied men, now badly outnumbered, were gradually shot throughout the day-long engagement, leaving only a handful of survivors. 


Omitting his rank, Dade has styled this letter as a private communication. His concluding entreaty "Am I not entitled to the Command?" pointed out a vacancy in the Fourth Infantry Regiment, but cannot refer to the Fort King expedition about which he had no direct knowledge at the time. It probably was meant to refer to a permanent promotion to the rank of Major, which he then held only by brevet. Promotion in the old Army was notably slow, with most officers persevering in a grade for many years until an opening occurred. Dade's quick volunteering to lead the expedition was undoubtedly motivated in part by the possibility of a subsequent promotion. 


"Your communication of the 30th June was not received until this day, when I returned form Pensacola, where I received an Order from General Clinch directing me to repair without delay with my Company to Tampa Bay, where, I understand, some Indian depredations have been lately committed calculated to create considerable alarm. The Sutler's Store... was burnt by the Indians, and Capt. Saunders the Sutler narrowly escaped with his life. This event occurred a few days ago and was not known to Genl. Clinch when he wrote me. He directs me to visit Charlotte's Harbor and order the Indians that may be found there within their limits. I am now much engaged in preparing to obey the Order, and can only say that your plan for an increase of the pay of the Field Officers of the Army meets my entire approbation... P.S. I am the senior Captain now on duty in the Regiment. Genl Clinch, Col. of the Regt. on higher duty, makes the vacancy of a Major. Am I not entitled to the Command?" 


Dade arrived at Fort Brooke on 21 December. The orders for the march were already issued with Captain George W. Gardiner to be in command, but Gardiner's wife was ill and Dade offered to take over. The column set out on 23 December. Later Gardiner overtook the march after arranging for his wife to be transported to better care at Key West on the vessel that had just brought Dade; he would assume command at the battle, and meet his subsequent demise. Among other honors, what would become Florida's most populous county was promptly named for Dade.


Although a longtime officer, few of the Virginian's writings appear to have been preserved, with an apparent complete absence of auction records going back to 1916.

Condition Report

1 page (10 x 8 in.; 250 x 202 mm), on a bifolium, Key West, Florida, 14 Dec 1835, integral free-franked address leaf, addressed to "General R. Jones | Washington D.C." with "free" and "Key West | Florida | December 15" stamped in red, the latter enclosed in a circle; light seal stain, loss from seal tear on second leaf (not affecting text), minor repairs to folds.

In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana
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