WASHINGTON, George. Letter signed ("G:o Washington") as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, with a brief postscript, to George Clinton in Poughkeepsie, Head Quarters [New Windsor, New York], 16 July 1779. 1 page, folio, eight-line postscript of Clinton in lower left-hand portion. For address leaf, see below. Fine condition.
WASHINGTON PASSES ON THE NEWS OF ANTHONY WAYNE'S STUNNING VICTORY AT STONY POINT
The British seized and fortified two posts--Stony Point and Verplanck's Point on opposite sides of the Hudson--in late May. These clearly threatened the American strongholds in the Hudson Highlands, and Wayne was ordered by Washington to carry out a bold, night-time assault on the fort. Just before midnight Wayne led his advance units through tidal marshes and several abatis to assault the British outpost. A diversion fatally confused the garrison and in fierce, close-quarter fighting, in which Wayne suffered a slight head wound, most of the British defenders surrendered. American casualties were extremely light. The victory was a critical morale builder for the Americans. Here, Washington passes on Wayne's exultant battlefield report: "I have the pleasure to transmit Your Excellency the inclosed Copy [see below] of a Letter from Brigadr. Genl. Wayne, which this moment came to hand. I congratulate you upon our success, and what makes it still more agreeable, from the report of Captain [Benjamin] Fishbourn who brought Gen. Wayne's letter, the post was gained with but very inconsiderable loss on our part. I have not yet obtained the particulars of the Affair. I have the Honor..." &c. A hastily added postscript by George Clinton reads: "P.S. General Wayne received a slight wound in the Head with a Muskett Ball; but it did not prevent him from going on with the troops...."
The draft of this succinct and exultant message, in the Washington Papers, is in the hand of Robert Hanson Harrison. Washington reported the news in similar terms to Congress, and in an almost identical letter to Governor William Livingston of New Jersey (see Fitzpatrick, 15:430-431). The present letter to Clinton is apparently unrecorded.
[With:] WAYNE, Anthony (1745-91796). Transcript of his letter to General Washington, ANNOUNCING HIS VICTORY AT STONY POINT, evidently in the hand of Washington's aide, Robert Hanson Harrison, Stony Point, 16 July 1779 - 2 o'clock a.m. 1 page, folio, marked "Copy".
"YOUR OFFICERS AND MEN BEHAVED LIKE MEN WHO ARE DETERMINED TO BE FREE"
One of the most famous communications from General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, announcing his critical victory over the British fort at Stony Point: "Dear General, The fort and garrison with Col. [Henry] Johnstone [the British commandant] are ours. Your officers and men behaved like men who are determined to be free...." Wayne's hasty report, scrawled on the battlefield at 2 a.m., is in the Washington Papers.
[With:] WASHINGTON, George. Autograph free frank ("G:o Washington") on the address panel of an integral address leaf (now detached) to "His Excellency George Clinton Esq. Governor of the State of New York," 1 page, folio, seal tears. Docketed by Clinton "Genl. Washington's Letter inclosg. a copy of Genl. Wayne's on the taking of Stony Point." On the verso is CLINTON'S AUTOGRAPH DRAFT LETTER, 18 July 1779, responding to Washington's report of the 16th: "I have had the Pleasure of receiving your Excellency's Favour of the 16th Instant with the agreeable Intelligence from Stoney Point. I most sincerely congratulate your Excellency on this most Important and successful event" The letter prepared from Clinton's draft is in the Washington Papers. Series 4. General Correspondence. Together 3 items. Provenance: See note preceding 316. (3)