Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    George Washington Letter Signed "Go: Washington." One page, 8" x 13", Morristown; March 11, 1780. A brief letter to Major Thomas Cogswell, regarding a request for a furlough. It reads, in full: "I have received your letter of the 7th inst. With regard to your request for a furlough; as the commanding officer on the North River has been authorised [sic] to act in such cases, and as he must be supposed to have a more full knowledge of the circumstances of particular corps, and the officers which may be spared without injury to the service, you will therefore be pleased to prefer your application to him and take his order on the matter."

    The winter of 1779-80 was the hardest experienced by the Continental Army during the entirety of the war (according to sources it was the coldest winter recorded in 400 years). From December 1779 to June 1780, General Washington and his army, some 7,000 troops, were at winter camp in Morristown, New Jersey. Starvation was rampant and the soldiers were in dire need of sufficient clothing. Desertions were a daily occurrence, and the prospect of mutiny ran high throughout the bitterly cold months. With such a crisis on his hands, it is easy to see why Washington was wary of granting furloughs unless it was necessary. Thomas Cogswell (1746-1810) was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts and served as captain of a company in Colonel Gerrish's Regiment at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was later made major of Vose's regiment and further promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 15th Massachusetts Regiment. He was ultimately made wagon-master general, a position that he held until the end of the Revolutionary War.

    Condition: Bold signature. Flattened mail folds, with small separations at the edges. A few small holes and separations at the folds have been repaired with archival material on verso. Light toning and soiling throughout. Wax mounting residue on verso, with some bleed through to the front.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 480

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 17 days left to consign to the 2020 February 22 - 23 Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $950,931