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    Stephen Drayton Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 8.25" x 12.5"; "Charles Town"; September 23, 1779. A letter to General Benjamin Lincoln regarding the gathering of intelligence on the cusp of the Continental Army and French forces' Siege of Savannah. "I hope in God by this, you are my dear General, crowned with Victory, & that it was on our side obtained with little loss-anxiety fills the minds and hearts of every one, ___ Heaven is not wanting for prayers & petitions, not from doubts altogether, little of that exists, but that the lives of our valuable Citizens, shall be spared, & you among the Rest- Agreeable to your wish I have by the Governor's desire established Riders from this Town even unto Savannah__the inclosed list points out their different Stations, by this Means we can hear from each every two or three days... Steph: Drayton"

    On September 12, 1779 General Benjamin Lincoln marched from Charleston to the Savannah River, with French troops landing below Savannah and proceeding to within three miles of the city. On September 23, as Stephen Drayton wrote to General Lincoln, the combined American and French forces began their siege of Savannah.

    On October 9 when 4,500 combined forces sought to take the British post by storm, they had been compromised by a sergeant in Lincoln's army who had tipped the British off to the plan of attack. The allies were forced to withdraw after having suffered heavy losses including the life of Count Pulaski. Five days after Drayton's letter to apprise Lincoln about intelligence gathering, General Washington sent a letter on intelligence gathering to Lincoln, showing that intelligence regarding British action in the South was a paramount concern (September 28, 1779).

    Condition: Paper is gently toned, with bold ink. A few tiny pin holes (first word of the fourth line, and last word of third line); otherwise near fine. Filing docket on verso.

    More Information:

    Stephen Drayton (1736-1810) was born in St. Andrew's Parish, South Carolina to Thomas Drayton III and Elizabeth Bull Drayton. Thomas built Drayton Hall Plantation on the Ashley River in St. Andrew's Parish, South Carolina, which is currently a National Trust for Historic Preservation site.

    Lt. Colonel Drayton married twice: first, to Ann Betts, who died at 26 years of age; and second, to Elizabeth Waring, in January 1769, daughter of John Waring, and mother of his children, Edward Percival Drayton and Henry Augustus Drayton. He served in the South Carolina Commons House of Assembly from 1769 to 1771, and moved for a time to St. John's Parish, Georgia where he served as a road commissioner in 1773.

    During the Revolution, Drayton commanded South Carolina militia and was a member of the Georgia Provisional Congress' Council of Safety, appointed December 29, 1775, then appointed a delegate from the Council of Safety of Georgia to the Council of Safety of South Carolina. From January 7, 1776 to July 5, 1776 he was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Georgia Line, Second Georgia regiment. On November 29, 1777 he became a Major and Aide-de-Camp to General Howe. On November 12, 1778, he was appointed Deputy Quartermaster General of the Southern Department. He was a frequent correspondent of General Benjamin Lincoln's, likewise of General Nathanael Greene and General Horatio Gates, and carried correspondence between Governor Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and General Horatio Gates. In 1781 he was captured by the British and paroled in North Carolina, but his land in Charlestown had been seized by Lord Cornwallis during the British occupation, and Drayton never received compensation. In addition he had used his own assets to help finance the American Revolution, so he ended the war in a bad financial state.

    He became a member of the Georgia State Society of the Cincinnati. In 1793, while serving as secretary to South Carolina Governor William Moultrie, Drayton's former Revolutionary War colleague, he became embroiled in a controversy through the French ambassador and the French consul in Charleston, when he helped to found and become president of the Republican Society of South Carolina. Citizen Edmond Genêt and Consul M.A.B. Mangourit sought to capitalize on American sympathy for the French revolution by raising a militia in the southern states to assist France in its war against Spain in North America, to attack New Orleans and Florida, and by supporting the formation of "Republican Societies" that would be sympathetic. Drayton was arrested in South Carolina in December for having violated Washington's Neutrality Proclamation, and published a defense that argued he had been subjected to unreasonable search and seizure, and that Washington's proclamation did not carry the force of law. He lived in France for a time after his release, but was unable to gain a financial stable position there and returned to America after unsuccessfully writing to President Jefferson seeking an appointment in Europe and compensation for his Revolutionary War financial losses. Drayton died in 1810 in Charleston District, South Carolina.

    General Benjamin Lincoln (1733-1810), a staunch American patriot, received a commission as a major general of the Massachusetts militia. After clearing Boston Harbor of British ships in 1776, he turned south to assist Washington's invasion of Long Island. Lincoln was commissioned into the Continental Army as a major general, and participated in the victory over Burgoyne's army at Saratoga, after which he was sent to the south for the attempt to recapture Savannah, which was unsuccessful, followed by the defense of Charleston. Lincoln was forced to surrender his 5,000 troops in Charleston in 1780 after being trapped by Sir Henry Clinton. Lincoln was later paroled, but resented the slight by Clinton who had denied his army an honorable surrender. Lincoln rejoined Washington as his second-in-command, playing a major role in the ultimate victory at Yorktown, where he accepted the sword of Charles Cornwallis via his second-in-command, Charles O'Hara. Washington directed O'Hara to present the sword to Lincoln, vindicating him for his embarrassment in Charleston. He served as the first U.S. Secretary of War from 1781 to until the war's end in 1783, and was thanked by a vote of Congress at the war's end. In 1787 he led militia in suppressing Shays' Rebellion, participated in the Massachusetts convention ratifying the U.S. Constitution, and was chosen as Massachusetts' Lieutenant Governor, after which term he served as the collector of the Port of Boston until his retirement.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2017
    11th Thursday
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