Description

    Broadside Requesting Donation of Blankets for General Washington's Army Prior to Valley Forge. One page, 8" x 13", printed by John Dunlap, Pennsylvania War Office, May 2, 1777. Following the eventful year of 1776, George Washington's Continental Army wintered in Morristown, New Jersey. They were tired and plagued by poor training, high turnover, and a lack of supplies such as blankets. Nevertheless, they were a resourceful, hardworking throng of farmers, shoemakers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and other artisans, who were used to living a rough life in extreme weather. As would be proven later, they could make do with little, but blankets were almost a necessity. Knowing that the outcome of the American revolution (and the safety of Philadelphia) rested on this army, the "Board in the City of Philadelphia and the several Counties" authorized this broadside notifying citizens of the attempt to supply blankets to "a considerable body of Continental Troops, [who] by the want of Blankets, are retarded from joining His Excellency General Washington."

    The broadside reads: "Pennsylvania War Office,. May 2d, 1777. To the Public. The Honorable Major General Schuyler having informed this Board that a considerable body of Continental Troops, by the want of Blankets, are retarded from joining His Excellency General Washington, and requested our aid in collecting a quantity from the inhabitants immediately, - We cannot doubt but every faithful subject of the United States that are well attached to the cause of America, will spare all the Blankets (receiving the value of the same) for the use of the Troops which they conveniently can. And as the making an Assessment of Blankets has been recommended by Congress as a measure that would be more just and equal to the inhabitants in general than to oppress the generous and benevolent only, by voluntary contributions. This Board have therefore, by virtue of the authority given them by Congress and the emergency of the case, ordered such Assessment to be made; and they earnestly request the aid of all friends to their country in carrying the said Assessment into execution, as the health of the Army, a consideration deserving the utmost attention, depends upon it. The following is a list of the Gentlemen appointed to execute the Order of the Board in the City of Philadelphia and the several Counties." There follows a lengthy list of individuals given the responsibility to coordinate collections in and around Philadelphia. The documents ends: "Published by Order of the Board, Jacob S. Howell, Secretary."

    Philadelphia, where the Second Continental Congress met and signed the Declaration of Independence earlier in July 1776, was susceptible at the time to British attack. The Congress had already fled once, in December 1776, to Baltimore. Two months before this broadside was printed by the printer of the Declaration of Independence, John Dunlap, Congress had returned and recommended this order, undoubtedly concerned about an invasion into Pennsylvania. That invasion came later in September and was met by Washington's army at the Battles of Brandywine (September 1777) and Germantown (October 1777). Both battles were victories for the British who occupied Philadelphia from late September 1777 until June 1778. This order foreshadows the trials awaiting the Continental Army seven months later at Valley Forge. This significant piece contains two ink strikethroughs affecting three words, toning, and one cello repair on verso at separation which also has a bit of paper loss.




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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
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