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    Washington Sends Instructions to "inlist the drafts from Maryland".

    [Revolutionary War]. George Washington Letter Signed with Period Transcription. One page, 8.25" x 13.5", " Head Quarters," October 21, 1778, to General William Smallwood urging him to recruit troops from Maryland. The letter is in an unknown hand and reads, in full:

    "With the money you have [word missing due to paper loss] from the pay master general, you will use your best endeavours to inlist the drafts from Maryland to serve for three years or during the war, in the army of the [partly obscured] United States. To [text loss] the inlistments you will put the money into the hands of such officers as you may judge proper for the occasion. Each draft or soldier inlisting either for three years or during the war is to be paid a bounty of twenty dollars. [text loss] this he will receive the usual allow[ance] [c]loathing & of Land. Where the [text loss] three years it is to commence from [text loss] of the time of service for [obscured] inlisting stands now [text loss]. You or the [text loss] by you are not to inlist the drafts [text loss] belonging to any but your own state. The names of the [text loss] inlist - the time when - and the terms [text loss] the engage, whether for three years or during the war - are all to be particularly noted and set down, that there may not be any disputes or mistakes respecting the same."

    At the end of the letter appears a postscript reading: "you will make a weekly report of the numbers inlisted." Washington's signature is bold and bright and remains unaffected by the damage. Accompanied by a period transcription which measures 7.5" x 9.75".

    General William Smallwood (1732-1792) was a Maryland planter who turned soldier during the French and Indian War. When the Revolution began, he was appointed colonel of the First Maryland Regiment, leading them through the New York and New Jersey Campaign. Twice wounded at the Battle of White Plains, he was promoted to brigadier general, finishing the war with the rank of major general. In 1785, he was simultaneously elected to the U.S. Congress and governorship of Maryland, choosing to remain in his home state as its fourth governor.

    This letter does not appear in full in The Writings of Washington, but is mentioned in a footnote on page four of Volume 13 (October 1778-January 1779): "...according to an unauthenticated copy in the Toner Transcripts in the Library of Congress, Washington sent general instructions to Brig. Gen. William Smallwood to use his best endeavors to enlist the Maryland draft for three years, or the war. The recruits were to receive the continental bounty of $20, clothing, and land: 'You or the officers appointed by you are not to enlist the drafts or soldiers belonging to any but your own state.'" Docketing on the verso dates the letter as October 21, 1778.

    Condition: Heavily damaged throughout, there are several large holes which has resulted in loss of text though most can be inferred through context. Edges are heavily chipped. Moderate overall foxing, and backed with paper dating from the 19th Century.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    19th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 620

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