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    David Evans Manuscript Document Twice Signed "David Evans." Two pages of a bifolium, 12.75" x 7.75", Pittsburgh, June 8, 1798. This is an invoice billed to the United States for outfitting the President Adams, the nation's first armed galley to ply the Ohio River for James Wilkinson's 1798 expedition against the Spanish. Light toning at weak folds, some of which have been reinforced with glassine tape, else very good.

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    Evans submitted the bill the same day the galley, named the President Adams, departed Pittsburgh to lead an armed flotilla to assert control over the Mississippi over Spain.  In particular, Evans bills "The United States . For Sundry Carpenter work at fitting up Boats for the Commander in Chiefs family and stores - Also Boats for the Paymaster Genl. and Stone Boats- making Gun Carriages Rammers and Sponges Compleat [sic] - Smoothing the Bottom of the Adams Galley - Making Aunen[?] in the Commander in Chiefs Barge &c." After listing the names of fourteen laborers and craftsmen (including himself) and the work and amounts due, Evans adds a postscript: "Myself and Seven of my hands when imployed [sic] at Gun Carriages planeing [sic] the Galye and making Aunem in the Genl Barge - Between the 14th April and the 7th June . the Reason this work was not included in the Former Account was in Consequence of Major [Isaac] Craigs wish to have the Repairs of the Garrison Charged Separately form Other services."


    According to a letter from Isaac Craig to Samuel Hodgedon (25 May 1798) the galley had been launched on 19 May (Isaac Craig to Samuel Hodgedon, 25 May 1798, Papers of the War Department). On June 27, 1798, the Farmer's Register of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, described the event, noting, "A handsomer, or tighter boat, never stemmed tide, or floated with the current. Well built, well manned, well armed, she is able to protect the weak, or to humble the haughty; and we will hazard the assertion, that in the cause of our country's rights, honor, and independence, she will not disgrace the illustrious name she bears. The President Adams favoured the town with a federal salute, as she went off, under the acclamation of hundreds of spectators, who crowded the banks of the Allegheny." The two-masted ship measured 50 feet long, 14 feet wide and carried an 18 pound gun on the forecastle and a smaller piece on the quarterdeck. The President Adams led a flat boat expedition in June 1798 down the Ohio and Mississippi to challenge Spanish control of the latter river. The presence of the President Adams-its two mounted guns made it the most powerful vessel on the Mississippi-was enough to convince Spain to retreat from Memphis and Natchez for the safety of New Orleans (Leland Johnson, The Headwaters District, A History of the Pittsburgh District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [1979], 32-33).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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