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    "[T]he officers commanding Continental troops or militia in New Haven . . . are ordered to march them immediately for Stratford."

    [Battle of Ridgefield] David Wooster Letter Signed Beneath and in Response to a Gold Selleck Silliman Letter. One page, 8" x 13", "Apr 26, 1777 10 Clock am", Milford [Connecticut], signed "David Wooster/ Major General". This single page document is comprised of two desperate letters : Brigadier General Gold Silliman's letter, which covers the top half of the page, and Major General David Wooster's letter, which covers the bottom half. Wooster's letter, written two hours after Silliman's letter, reads in part: "On receipt of this the officers commanding Cont[inental] troops or militia in New Haven & the adjacent towns, are ordered to march them immediately for Stratford. . . . This order they will forward on to the Northern & Eastern Towns whose Militia are ordered to hold themselves in readiness to march at a moments warning-Genl. Wadsworth has orders to march his Brigade immediately to New Haven to defend the Sea Coast." Wooster has added at the foot of the page, "Send a copy of this without delay to General Wadsworth/ D W." (Brigadier General James Wadsworth later became the major general of the militia, the second-highest ranking officer in Connecticut.)

    Brigadier General Gold Selleck Silliman's letter, signed "G. Selleck Silliman", was written on "April 26th, 1777/ 8 o'Clock A.M.", from his home in Fairfield [Connecticut]. As soon as Silliman discovered that the British had landed on the Connecticut coast, he fired-off several letters to notify neighboring towns. This letter, likely dictated, reads, "The enemy have advanced above the County Road at Saugatuck Bridge and are advanceing on, I suspect toward Danbury. Pray join us directly and order some more Troops for the Fleet are lying off Compo and I don't think it prudent to send all the Troops off from the sea shore for . . . [the British] now on shore don't by our accounts exceed a Thousand men."

    These two letters were part of a flurry of communications and confused activity by American leaders on April 26, 1777, after they had learned that the British had landed at Compo Beach, Connecticut. On April 25, one day before these letters were written, the British invasion force of 2000, commanded by Major General William Tryon, marched north to destroy a supply depot at Danbury. On the day after these two letters were written, a combined American force under Continental Army Major General Wooster, Brigadier General Silliman, and Brigadier General Benedict Arnold--700 strong--engaged the invasion force near the Connecticut town of Ridgefield. When the battle was over, American forces reportedly killed or wounded 200 British soldiers and captured 40 more; American losses included 20 killed and 80 wounded. Wooster died five days later from battle wounds. Although Tryon's raid on Danbury and actions in Ridgefield were British successes, the influx of American forces in the area would deter the British from ever again attempting a landing by ship to attack any inland colonial strongholds. These important Revolutionary War letters are age-toned with remnants of red wax seal and resulting seal tear resulting in a small amount of paper loss, though no text is affected. Matted and framed to an overall size of 14" x 19.25", this manuscript has not been examined outside of the frame. Near fine condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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