DescriptionGeorge Washington 1782 Letter Signed "G. Washington". One page, on plain paper, 7.25" x 12", Headquarters, Newburgh, July 2, 1782, to Assistant Deputy Quartermaster Nicholas Quackenbush at Albany, relating to the defenses at Fort Plain, New York. Possibly in the hand of Hodijah Baylies, his aide at the time. In full: "Sir, Colonel Reid has informed me of the ill condition of Fort Plain and of the Magazine at that place. As it is of the greatest importance that they should be repaired, I must request you to make every possible caution to supply the necessary materials, I am sir, your very humble Servt, G Washington".
Fort Plain was built in 1776 as a refuge for citizens against British forces of Tories and Indians throughout the Mohawk Valley. It served as the headquarters of General Robert van Rensellaer (who tried unsuccessfully to give his name to the Fort) and later to General Marinus Willett, who would became mayor of New York. A story is told that after British forces attacked Fort Plain on August 2, 1780, a woman was responsible for raising the alarm and the villagers fled to the fort. They were mostly women as the men were away delivering supplies to the army and the fort was essentially undefended. The women of the town donned men's clothing and patrolled, displaying themselves prominently along the walls of the fort. This fooled the attackers into thinking the fort was fully manned and they fled. A fair is held in the town every year commemorating this event. General Washington inspected the Garrison on July 31, 1783 during his tour of the Mohawk Valley near the end of the war. This is one of the few Washington letters mentioning Fort Plain. Fine condition.
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