General Washington discharges a soldier from the Continental ArmyGeorge Washington Continental Army Discharge Signed "G:Washington" and countersigned by Jonathan Trumbull Jr. as secretary to General Washington. One page, 8.5" x 11.25", "Head-Quarters [Newburgh, New York]," June 8, 1783. "By His Excellency George Washington, Esq; General and Commander in Chief of the Forces of the United States of America. These to certify that the Bearer hereof Alexander Kidd in the first New York Regiment, having faithfully served the United States Eight Years and being inlisted [sic] for the War only, is hereby Discharged from the American Army." This document is toned, fragile, and bears some foxing and dampstaining. Separation along some folds exists, and the right edge is slightly uneven. It has been affixed along the top to a larger sheet (10" x 12.75").
Six months before General Washington - the feared American Caesar - dramatically surrendered his commission and army to the United States Congress at Annapolis, he oversaw the dissolution of part of the Continental Army, signing discharge papers with his aide-de-camp like this one. Though the commander in chief continued drilling his remaining soldiers throughout the summer and fall of 1783 as he waited for the finalities of the treaty with Great Britain, he was anxious to disband his unpaid army. Only a few months earlier, his officers had had threatened revolt and demanded pay. The general was able to ease the situation, known as the Newburgh Conspiracy, in one of his most impressive and dramatic speeches.
This discharged soldier served in the 1st New York Regiment, which was organized in May 1775. The regiment served Washington faithfully during the battles of Saratoga, Monmouth, and Yorktown. Its soldiers were given furloughs on June 2, 1783, and the regiment was disbanded later in November.
Jonathan Trumbull, the son of Jonathan Trumbull Sr., served as the paymaster and comptroller of the treasury of the Continental Army prior to his appointment as General Washington's aide-de-camp and secretary in 1781. Following the Revolutionary War, he served Connecticut in various high offices.
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