DescriptionGeorge Washington Soldier's Discharge Signed as "General and Commander in Chief of the Forces of the United States of America." One page, two sided, approximately 8.5" x 11", "Head-quarters," June 9, 1783. The Battle of the Combahee River, the last official skirmish between British and American forces in the Revolutionary War, was fought on April 27, 1782, near Charleston, South Carolina. In March 1783, an incident known as the Newburgh Conspiracy erupted. A group of Army officers threatened to confront Congress over the issue of outstanding back pay, and General Washington used his influence to quell their anger and disband them to allow Congress to deal with the matter fully at a later time.
This document is believed to have later been issued to one of those protesting officers, discharging him from the army. It reads, in full: "By His Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq; General and Commander in Chief of the forces of the United States of America. These are to CERTIFY that the Bearer hereof, John Murphy Matross, in the 2 or. New York Artillery Regiment, having [here, the printed word 'faithfully' has been scratched out] served the United States from 21 March 1777 till the present period, and being inlisted [sic] for the War only, is hereby Discharged from the American Army. GIVEN at Head-Quarters the Ninth day June 1783. [Signature] George Washington By His Excellency's Command, [signature] I Trimbull Inv. Sy., RECORDED in the Books of the Regiment, [signature] James Bradford Adjutant."
On verso, the discharge continues: "Head-Quarters, June Ninth 1783. THE within 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. [Signed in print] GEORGE WASHINGTON."
On September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Peace, more commonly referred to as the Treaty of Paris, was signed, officially ending the Revolutionary War between Great Britain and the United States and establishing official borders for the new nation. On December 4, 1783, Washington formally bade his officers farewell and on December 23, 1783, he resigned his commission as commander in chief. The Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784, thereby officially releasing John Murphy Matross from military service.
Document is somewhat tattered, with fold separations and small areas of paper loss at intersecting folds. Unfortunately, one fold separation impacts Washington's large and bold signature. The separations and areas of paper loss have been inexpertly repaired on verso. This delicate document has been sealed between plastic sheets, providing additional protection. Good condition. An extremely rare item relating to several important Revolutionary War dates and events!
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