o Washington"), TO GEN. "MAD" ANTHONY WAYNE, Head Quarters Colo. Dey's, 20 July 1780. 1 page, folio, discreet repairs to creases on blank integral leaves. Text in the hand of Tench Tilghman." /> WASHINGTON, George. Letter signed ("G:<V>o Washington"), TO GEN. "MAD" ANTHONY WAYNE, Head Quarters Col<V>o. Dey's, 20 July 1780. <I>1 page, folio, discreet repairs to creases on blank integral leaves</I>. Text in the hand of Tench Tilghman. | Christie's
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    Sale 2272

    Fine Books & Manuscripts including Americana

    24 June 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 123

    WASHINGTON, George. Letter signed ("G:o Washington"), TO GEN. "MAD" ANTHONY WAYNE, Head Quarters Colo. Dey's, 20 July 1780. 1 page, folio, discreet repairs to creases on blank integral leaves. Text in the hand of Tench Tilghman.

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    WASHINGTON, George. Letter signed ("G:o Washington"), TO GEN. "MAD" ANTHONY WAYNE, Head Quarters Colo. Dey's, 20 July 1780. 1 page, folio, discreet repairs to creases on blank integral leaves. Text in the hand of Tench Tilghman.

    "THE ENEMY HAVE SO MANY EMISSARIES AMONG US THAT SCARCE A MOVE OR AN ORDER PASSES UNNOTICED"

    A fine Washington letter, ordering Mad Anthony Wayne into battle at Bull's Ferry and worrying over the numerous Tory spies within his lines. "You will proceed with the 1st and 2d Pennsylvania Brigades and Coll. Moylan's Regt. of Dragoons upon the execution of the Business planned in yours of yesterday. I do not at present think of any necessary alterations in plan submitted to me, except that of detaching a few Horse this Afternoon to patrol all night, and see that the Enemy do not, in the course of the Night, throw over any troops to form an ambuscade. They need not go so low down, or in such numbers to create any alarm. They may inquire as they go, for deserters, after whom they may say they are in pursuit. The enemy have so many emissaries among us that scarce a move or an order passes unnoticed. You are so well acquainted with the critical situation of the Ground, that it is needless in me to recommend the extreme of caution. I most heartily wish you success..."

    Washington had several objectives in mind: to capture a large number of cattle and horses "on Bergen Neck, within reach of the enemy" and to destroy a stockaded blockhouse at Bull's Ferry manned by "a Body of Refugees [Loyalists]...who committed depredations upon the well affected inhabitants for many miles around" (quoted in Fitzpatick 19:260-261). Wayne's attack on 21 July, however, was not a success. An hour of heavy shelling failed to put a dent in the thickly built blockhouse, and raking fire rained down on his men from the stockade. In an act of what Washington later called "intemperate valor," the enraged Patriots charged the stockade--deaf to the commands of their officers--and tried to force their way in. They could not. They retired with 15 comrades dead on the ground and some 50 wounded, including three officers, one of whom later died of his wounds. They did, however, secure the livestock.

    This letter represents a rare and significant example of Washington discussing the problem of espionage and loyalist sympathizers--if not outright traitors--in his ranks. Three days after this letter Benedict Arnold took command of the garrison at West Point, and set in motion would would have been (had Arnold succeeded) the greatest betrayal of the American cause. Published in Fitzpatrick 19:216-217.


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