Description

    Caesar Rodney (1728 - 1784), Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Autograph Letter Signed, "Caesar Rodney", three pages with integral address leaf, 8.25" x 13.25", [Philadelphia], November 27 and November 29, 1775 to his brother Thomas Rodney detailing early intelligence on the fall of Montreal to Montgomery and arrival of British reinforcements in Boston.

    Rodney, attending the Continental Congress then in Philadelphia, reports on his safe arrival"After a very cold disagreeable ride, I am in town; and have had since I came a smart fit of the asthma..." After requesting more firewood and warning his brother about a major water hazard along the Delaware River, he notes that "Missrs. [Bushrod] Washington, Missrs. [Horatio] Gates, Collo. Custis & his Lady and one Mr. Lewis all of Virginia set out from here this morning for the Camp at Cambridge accompanied by all the military officers, the three Companies of light-infantry and the Company of light-horse - As they come up General McKinly with forty or fifty of his Battalion attended them to Schuylkill-ferry- We have certain intelligence that there are 2500 or at least 2000 troops landed at Boston from Ireland and it is thought by many, that with this reinforcement they will make a push to get out, by attacking our lines - If they should attempt it, I hope our brave American Boys who have been hitherto fortunate will give us a good amount of them - " Rodney continues the letter two days later to report: "You will find in this day[']s paper an account of the surrender of Montreal to General Montgomery on the thirteenth instant; The Congress has as yet received no Express, but expect one every hour as the account is generally believed; Mr Livingston being a man of Carrector [sic], Brother to a member of the Congress and brother-in-law to General Montgomery..." He adds a postscript: "Remember to bring up one of Caesar's frocks that I may have his Uniform made, and as you come by Land I desire you would inform yourself what State our Money printing is in, I shall want to know-"

    Richard Montgomery captured Montreal on November 12, 1775. An express rider from General Philip Schuyler reached Philadelphia on November 29 with official news from Montgomery the same day. Montgomery's express reached George Washington in Cambridge on November 28. Montgomery would soon march east to join Benedict Arnold in an attempt to capture Quebec. Rodney is probably best remembered for his all-night ride from Delaware to Philadelphia in order to break the deadlock in the Delaware delegation over independence. He arrived just in time to break the tie and cast Delaware's vote in favor of independence on July 2, 1776. Reinforced along left margin, a few very minor marginal tears, small loss (repaired) from wax seal tear, else very good condition. War-date Caesar Rodney letters with content are quite scarce -- this is a fine example. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
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