Lot 346: Revolutionary War–dated ALS signed "B. Lincoln," one page, 6.25 x 7.75, August 14, 1781. Letter to Colonel William Shepard at Springfield, Massachusetts, in full: "By the Law of our State, which ordered a Number of Militia to be raised for three Months, they are ordered to West Point or to such other Place as the Commander in Chief should direct.—I have it in Command from His Excellency Genl. Washington to inform you that the Militia from the County of York should join the Militia from the Counties of Hampshire & Berkshire at Albany or wherever they may be Stationed, & that when they arrive at Springfield, you give your Orders accordingly." In very good condition, with intersecting folds with partial separations (one vertical separation passing through a single letter of the signature), a repaired tear to the upper portion, overall toning, and light soiling.George Washington's original plan for the 1781 campaign was to attack British-occupied New York. However, after evaluating the formidably defended island of Manhattan, Washington and Rochambeau decided this would prove too costly. Learning that Cornwallis's army had fortified Yorktown in Virginia, the two decided to make an attempt to corner the British forces there instead. In a successful misdirection, the French began assembling in New Jersey as if preparing for a prolonged siege against Manhattan while militiamen were called in from Massachusetts to augment Continental forces, swelling the ranks of what was in essence a phantom army besieging New York. With the British convinced of an imminent attack on New York, this ruse delayed much-needed reinforcements at Yorktown and contributed to the Continental victory. Benjamin Lincoln commanded the Second Division at Yorktown and he accepted the British sword on behalf of America at the surrender ceremony on October 19, 1781—just two months after penning this letter.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 466
Wednesday, 9th December 2015
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