Description[Revolutionary War]. George Washington Military Discharge Signed "Go: Washington" as General and Commander in Chief of the Forces of the United States of America." One and a half partially-printed pages, 8" x 10.75", "Head-Quarters [Newburgh, New York]," June 9, 1783. In full: "THESE are to CERTIFY that the Bearer hereof John Denise, Matross in the First New York Regiment, having faithfully served the United States six years and being inlisted [sic] for the War only, is hereby DISCHARGED from the American Army."
Countersigned by Jonathan Trumbull Jr., one of Washington's aides-de-camp who would go on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and as governor of Connecticut. Additional information on the verso states that the "CERTIFICATE shall not avail the Bearer as a Discharge, until the Ratification of the definitive Treaty of Peace; previous to which Time, and until Proclamation thereof shall be made, He is to be considered as being on Furlough." The Treaty of Paris, which was signed on September 3, 1783, was ratified on January 17, 1784.
Condition: The document was previously framed, resulting in uneven toning. Minor repairs to separations along the folds were previously made with archival paper on the verso, thus filing in bits of paper loss. Mounting remnants at top on verso. The original matting and frame backing is present, including a seal issued by Charles Hamilton asserting the document's authenticity.
More Information: On April 19, 1783, less than two months before signing this discharge, General Washington, from his headquarters at Newburgh, issued an order for the cessation of hostilities which served as a formal end to the fighting (though there had been virtually no military action in the colonies since the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown eighteen months earlier). Newburgh served as the headquarters of the Continental Army from March 1782 until its disbandment in late 1783 and would be the sight of many important actions by Washington that would shape the newly founded republic including: his refusal to become king; his diffusion of the Newburgh Conspiracy, whereby a group of disenchanted officers planned to overthrow the government; the creation of the Badge of Military Merit; and the site where the general penned a letter to the governors of the separate states that would have an influence over the writing of the Constitution.
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