WARREN, Joseph (1741-1775), patriot, Major General of Militia. Partly printed document signed ("Jos Warren") as President pro tempore of the "Congress of the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay," [Cambridge?], 19 May 1775.
1 page, oblong (12½ x 7½ in.), very slight mends at fold intersections. Accomplished in manuscript and countersigned by Sam Freeman, Secretary. On the verso, two justices of the peace certify that on June 7 Capt. Foster "appeared and repeated the Oath by Congress required to be taken by Officers...."
SIGNED A MONTH AFTER THE LEXINGTON & CONCORD ALARM AND A MONTH BEFORE WARREN'S DEATH AT BUNKER'S HILL.
A COMMISSION FOR A MINUTEMAN WHO FOUGHT AT LEXINGTON AND CONCORD. An appointment dated during the critical early phases of the Revolution in Massachusetts. Here, Warren officially commissions Gideon Foster a Captain in the "first company of the regiment of foot," commanded by Col. Jonathan Mansfield, "raised by the Congress...for the Defence of said Colony." Foster is enjoined to "diligently discharge the duty of a Captain in leading, ordering and exercising the said Company in Arms...," and to follow orders from "the General and Commander in Chief "and other superior officers, "according to military Rules and Discipline in War." On April 23, 1775, the Provisional Congress of Massachusetts authorized the raising of 13,600 troops. Gideon Foster (1749-1845) from Danvers, commanded a company of local militia. When a British unit was sent to Salem to seize cannon, on 26 February, Foster's was one of two American militia companies that held off the British. Two months later, he marched his militia to Concord and fought during the British retreat. Promoted to Captain (by this document), he served with Mansfield's regiment through 1775.
Warren (1741-1775), a distinguished Boston physician, orator and patriot, was a pivotal figure in the early revolutionary agitation in Massachusetts. He was responsible for drafting the Suffolk Resolves, was an important presence at all the town meetings during the British occupation, served on the Committee of Safety after the Boston Massacre (1770) and delivered fiery addresses to commemorate that event. He was a member of the first three Provincial Congresses, serving as President pro tempore in 1775 and then President (on May 31, twelve days after signing this appointment). It was Warren who, on the night of April 18, dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes on horseback to warn the patriots that Gage was sending troops to seize stockpiled arms at Concord. A few days after "the shot heard round the world" Warren finally left British-held Boston. When the Americans under Israel Putnam seized and fortified Breed's Hill (see lot 178) Warren offered his services, but declined a command role, as his commission had not been finalized. In the heavy fighting after the American fortifications were finally over-run by the redcoats, Warren was killed by a British musketball while attempting to rally the militia. DOCUMENTS SIGNED BY THIS IMPORTANT PATRIOT ARE INCREASINGLY RARE.