Lot 334: Incredibly rare Revolutionary War–dated ALS, one page both sides, 8.25 x 13, May 20, 1777. Letter discussing uniforms and officer appointments for the Continental Army. In full (spelling and grammar retained): "I am honoured with your favour of the twelfth instant and am happy in the assurance you give me of having my regt. cloathed. The men were, previous to my appointment, furnisht with more cloathing than I knew of when I wrote you, and no stoppages have been made for those cloathing because Mr. Mease had not informed the officers what the prices were. If I am rightly instructed, the men are by resolve of Congress entitled to a bounty of a suit of cloathing each, and stoppages shall be made out of their pay for those they have had. I would with greatest cheerfulness send you a return of the officers of my regt. as it now stands, with the names of worthy gentlemen to fill the vacancies—but his Excelly. Genl. Washington having been wrote to by Genl. Lincoln, on account of the scarcity of officers to the the duty of the regt., hath commanded me to send him a list of the vacancies and officers in order that he might issue their new appointments in the regimental line, and condemned a proposition for filling the vacancies with more worthy men. If therefore your Honble. Board was to proceed to the appointments of new officers, such as I could undertake to recommend, your appointments would certainly interfere with those made in the regimental line by his Excelly. I wish his Excelly. had not been wrote to on the occasion and will write you as soon as I am informed what hath been done by the General. If it will give you any satisfaction I will upon the first Notice send you a list of the officers." In very good condition, with brittle overall toning, partial edge separations to folds, and chipping to edges.At this time in 1777 the Continental Army was largely in disarray—smallpox, desertion, resignation, and poor recruiting made for a weakened military force. Desertion was an especially large problem for the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment, of which Brodhead had been put in charge less than two months earlier. The disorganization of Washington's troops is demonstrated in this letter, with confusion about basic necessities like procuring uniforms and filling vacant officer positions. Brodhead led his troops in conflicts with both British forces and their Native American allies, and commanded several different frontier outposts throughout the war. Showing reverence for the leadership of George Washington by adhering to his command above all others—"your appointments would certainly interfere with those made in the regimental line by his Excelly...I will write you as soon as I am informed what hath been done by the General"—and touching on the critical issues that plagued the early Continental Army, this is an outstanding and extremely scarce letter.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 466
Wednesday, 9th December 2015
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