Description

    Nathanael Greene letter of introduction in preparation for the Battle of Red Bank

    [Revolutionary War]. Nathanael Greene Autograph Letter of Introduction Signed "N Greene." One page with integral address leaf, 7.5" x 11.75", Metuchen [New Jersey], October 18, 1777, to Colonel Christopher Greene regarding the reinforcement of Fort Mifflin four days before the Battle of Red Bank. Christopher Greene (1737-1781) joined the Continental Army shortly after the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1775 and, by October, 1776, he had received a colonel's commission. Following the capture of Philadelphia in 1777, he was placed in charge of the defense of the newly constructed Fort Mercer and its twin, Fort Mifflin. The forts, under siege at the time of the writing of this letter, were constructed on either side of the Delaware River in an effort to prevent the British from supplying the city.

    Here, General Nathanael Greene, one of General Washington's most reliable and trusted generals and a distant relation of Christopher Greene's, writes a letter of introduction for a third Greene (no relation to either of the previous Greenes) who is being sent with his troops to reinforce Fort Mifflin. In full:

    "This will be handed you by Lt Col Greene who commands a detachment from my division sent down as reinforcement for the forts on the Delaware. they are exceeding good troops and are to be depended on as much as any troops in the Army. I am in hopes with this additional strength you will be able to baffle all the attempts of the enemy to dislodge you. the Barron Brandt Col of the German Battalion an officer of experience and abillity [sic] is coming down to take the command at Fort Mifflin agreeable to the determination of the council in the first instance. he is thought to be an officer of great spirit. Remember me to all friends."

    The Battle of Red Bank, as the assault on Fort Mercer was known, occurred four days later. Defended by some 400 colonials, the fort was attacked by a force of Hessians under the command of Colonel Carl von Donop that outnumbered the colonials three to one, supported by six British men-of-war in the river. Overly confident in his advantage, von Donop ordered the attack on the fort, but his men were cut down and were forced to retreat with von Donop sustaining a mortal wound. Though the fort was taken in November, 1777, the victory was successful in alleviating the pressure felt by Washington's army posted just north of the city and served more as a morale booster than strategic victory.

    Uneven edges with smoothed folds. Damage at left edge from opening at wax seal. Small spots of foxing scattered throughout. The text is very clear and bright. A fine piece of Revolutionary War history.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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