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    Washington, George. Historic autograph letter signed as Commander of the Continental Army, 28 January 1781. Historic autograph letter signed ("Go: Washington") as Commander of the Continental Army, 1 page (8 x 12.6 in.; 203 x 320 mm), "Ringwood" [NJ], 28 January 1781, written "To The Officer Commandg. the Jersey Troops at Pompton". Archivally laid-in borders, mild staining at center of text. Washington writes as Commander of the Continental Army: "...the Pennsylvania troops have crossed the Delaware." Washington writes in full: Sir, If the posts at Smiths Clove and Dobb's Ferry have been deranged by the late disorders in the Jersey line they are again to be reestablished agreeably to former orders - and as the Pennsylvania Troops have crossed the Delaware, you are, till some other arrangement is made of the Stores at Morristown to detach about fifty men properly Officered & to be relieved once a fortnight to that place. The objects of the Officer Commanding are to cover the Public Stores which are at Morris- to aid the Q[uarte]r Mast[er] at that Post in forwarding Provisions and other Stores to their respective places of destination - and, when necessary to afford escorts. - The letters herewith inclosed you will please to forward immediately - the one for the Commissary of Prisoners requires dispatch. - I am Sir Yr, Very obedt. Servt. Go: Washington. On 1 January 1781, following a boisterous New Year's Day celebration, elements of the Pennsylvania Line encamped for the winter near Morristown, New Jersey, mutinied over lack of pay and disagreements over terms of enlistment. When officers led the orderly regiments of the Line to Quell the disturbance, it only took a few warning shots for the rest to fall in line with the Mutineers. General Anthony Wayne, commanding the Pennsylvania Line, tried to convince them to return to order peacefully to little avail, and as the soldiers marched toward Philadelphia to air their grievances with the Pennsylvania assembly, he followed them while dispatching letters to Washington and the government in Pennsylvania. The central disagreement lay in the interpretation of the term of service, which was often stated simply as: "for three years or the duration of the war," with no reference to which was to take precedence. Naturally, officers assumed the soldiers were committed for the duration of the conflict, while the soldiers were of the understanding that their terms had expired at the end of three years. Additionally, men who had enlisted in 1776 and 1777 had taken $20 enlistment bounties, were disgruntled over the fact that those enlisting later were offered much larger sums. Pennsylvania Governor Joseph Reed travelled to Princeton to meet with the mutiny's leaders on 7 January and negotiations went fairly quickly. On the same day, an agent of Sir Henry Clinton offered the men all of their back pay if they would agree to abandon the rebel cause. The leaders refused the offer and placed the agent under guard. In the end, Pennsylvania agreed to allow those who had enlisted for the $20 bounties to be discharged and reenlist at higher rates. Between 12 January and the 29th, approximately half of the regiment was discharged, while the remainder were furloughed until 15 March when they reassembled to join operations against the British in Virginia. However, the amicable resolution to the Pennsylvania Line mutiny also inspired members of the New Jersey Line to follow suit. On 20 January, about 300 members of the New Jersey Line at Pompton mutinied. This time Washington, wishing to restore order, ordered General Robert Howe to lead a detachment to compel their unconditional submission, which he quickly accomplished. Howe made an example of the two sergeants who led the revolt by executing them on the spot before a firing squad. Now that both mutinies had been quelled, Washington looked to protect the Continental Stores at Morristown that were essentially left unguarded after the Pennsylvania mutineers had marched south. This letter was written to the commander of the New Jersey troops who had just revolted. In an ironic twist, Washington notes that the Pennsylvania troops had "crossed the Delaware". These same soldiers who crossed the Delaware River in 1781 were among those who crossed the same river with George Washington on Christmas Day 1776. Washington's crossing the Delaware is the greatest historic event tied to his legacy. Indeed, Emanuel Leutze's 1851 painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" remains as one of the most universally recognized images in the history of art. This letter remains as only the second Washington letter in private hands to mention the crossing of the Delaware.

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    July, 2020
    23rd Thursday
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