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Lot
30115

Casimir Pulaski Manuscript Letter Signed "C Pulaski B.G. of Cavalry." in English, one page, 8.5" x 7". Headquarters, Wor...

2007 October Grand Format Rare Books & Manuscripts Auction #675

 
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Auction Ended On: Oct 25, 2007
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Description:
Casimir Pulaski Manuscript Letter Signed "C Pulaski B.G. of Cavalry." in English, one page, 8.5" x 7". Headquarters, Worcester Township, October 1, 1777. To Colonel Hand. Exactly as written, in full, "agreable to his excellencie's [Gen. Washington's] order, you would detach fiftyne good horse, very early in the morning, to attend general Reed and Cadwalader upon special business they will find general Reed at his quarters a mile or two to the right of Conner's house besides Major gimpson will select so many Light horses as he can, to be Ready to march with him tomorrow twelve of clock to the same hour all your Regiment shall joign at my quarter to the Regimens of my brigade." In 1776, Casimir Pulaski, who had fought against Russia for his native Poland (1768-1771), sought permission from America to fight for the new nation. In May 1777, with a letter of recommendation from Benjamin Franklin, the American commissioner in Paris, he left for the United States. Landing near Boston in July, in August, he reported to General Washington's headquarters near Philadelphia. On September 15, 1777, the Continental Congress "Resolved, That a commander of the horse be appointed with the rank of brigadier; the ballots being taken, the Count Pulaski was elected." Three days later, Congress left Philadelphia for Lancaster, Pa., then to York. On September 26th, British troops under General William Howe entered Philadelphia. On September 30, 1777, General Washington wrote "Comte Pulaski," in full, "Upon getting home [Headquarters, Skippack, Pa.], I found the inclosed from Genl. Reed. I therefore desire you will immediately form a Detachment of at least fifty Horse of which part are to be of Colo. Moylans, in their Red Uniforms, which will serve to deceive both the Enemy and Country people. I can give you no better directions than what are contained in Genl. Reed's letter, for the Route that the party is to take, I only recommend it to you, to put it under the command of a good Officer and to send them off immediately." According to Fitzpatrick, "Joseph Reed's letter is not found in the Washington Papers but it seems from Moylan's letter to Washington (October 1) that the purpose of the 50 dragoons was to surprise a small party of British light horse and foragers. Moylan's letter is in the Washington Papers." Ordered by General Washington "to immediately form a detachment of at least fifty Horse," Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski dictated this letter to Colonel Hand which clearly requests "fiftyne good horse," not fifty, due, perhaps, to a language problem. Pulaski's knowledge of cavalry warfare assisted Washington and his men at the Battles of Brandywine (September 11th) and Germantown on October 4, 1777, just three days after he signed this letter. Two years later, on October 9, 1779, at the Battle of Savannah, Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski was mortally wounded while riding his horse during a cavalry charge. Penned on thin brown paper, the letter has been expertly affixed to a green sheet. With folds, light stains, and minor paper loss affecting two letters. A vertical fold passes through the "l" of "Pulaski", otherwise very good condition. Pulaski's autograph is rare in any form. This military letter penned during a crucial period in the American Revolution, carrying out an order from George Washington, would be a magnificent addition to a military collection.

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