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    [Revolutionary War]. John Fitch Autograph Letter Signed. Three integral pages, 8" x 12.25", "North Castle," November 20, 1776, to his sister. Having recently left Fort Worthington, he arrives in his present location, very nearly "...falling in to the hands of the Enemy..." He relates the tale, in part: "John White & My fellows take care of some Stores such as Pork, Flour, Beef, Wine, Rum, Brandy, Sugar, &c. with a Captains guard counting of Fifty men only. we expected Waggons [sic] enough that Night to carry off all the Stores but just after Sunset Two of the Enemies [sic] Light Horse came within about Eighty Rods of the Store & see that there was no Troops there except the small guard that was left. we was Determined to Stay as long as possible but about Midnight the Enemy had got almost Round us by that time we Concluded that it would be unwholesome to tarry there much Longer...having got about Fifty Rods from the Store there was Eight or Ten that was Determined the Enemy should not have the Rum, Brandy, Wine & other Liquor said they would go back & knock in the Heads into to Casks & spill the Liquor, but before they would get out...the Enemies [sic] Light Horse Surrounded the Store & took them all Prisoners..."

    He continues with news of a recent attack by British troops on "...the Fort which was Commanded by Col Robert Magaw of Philadelphia at the North End and also at the Lower Lines which is about a mile to the Southward of the fort. Col. Magaw went with a Party to the Lower Lines where he got wounded & he & his parties was taken Prisoners...Immediately after Col. Magaw & his party was cut off Gen. Howe sent in a flag a truce Demanding the fort...with that Col. Cadwallader like a Coward...Delivered the fort into the Hands of the Enemy...Gen. Washington was in the fort when the Matter began & Insisted upon Staying but was forced out & into a Boat & Carried over the North River into Fort Lee...had he a Been taken where Should we have got another Washington."

    Folds with scattered foxing. Moderate to heavy staining, especially on page three where there is separation along the upper horizontal fold and some loss of text. Small holes at the intersections of the fold with no loss of text. Some of the text is faded as well as the signature. Overall wrinkling and chipping at the edges.

    John Fitch (1743-1798) joined the Continental Army after his Trenton, New Jersey, business was destroyed by the British. During the harsh winter of 1777, he provided the troops at Valley Forge and at Philadelphia with food at his own expense. He was captured by Indians in 1782 and handed over to the British, spending the remainder of the war in Canada. According to some sources, Fitch was haunted by dreams of being pursued by Indians in canoes which inspired him to create a faster ship. His nightmares gave birth to the steamboat.

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    11th Thursday
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