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Sale 38 Lot 533

Scarce, war-date franking signature "Go: Washington" at the bottom left of an address panel addressed in another hand to: "Brigadier General [Edward] Hand". Docketed in another hand a bottom with date November 26, 1778. Edward Hand (1744 - 1802), was an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and assisted Washington at Yorktown. Washington was writing to Hand as the latter was traveling north to assume command at Albany to relieve John Stark in guarding the New York frontier. Hand was well experienced in frontier warfare, having been in command of Fort Pitt the previous year and helped prepare George Rogers Clark for his famous western expedition of 1778. In the letter once contained in this envelope, Washington wrote: "When I first ordered troops to the Minisinks, Coles fort on the Delaware was recommended to me as a proper place...but the Count [Pulaski] on his arrival...has represented to me the impossibility of taking post at Coles Fort, that place and its environs having been desolated by the enemy and being quite destitute of forage...". The one extant draft at the Library of Congress shows that Washington was also quite concerned about the overall security situation on the frontier in the wake of the Wyoming Valley Massacre (July 3, 1778): "The security of the Country against the depredations of the Savages, which you will consult as expeditiously as in your power so as to comprehend as far as possible the Western frontier of New York and...Pennsylvania...". Interestingly Washington chose to delete this passage, perhaps feeling he was stating the plainly obvious. Hand would arrive at his post in Albany in the wake of yet another Indian attack, this time at Cherry Valley, New York. Presented with a handsome portrait of Washington in the style of Gilbert Stuart and set into a wood frame. Very good to fine condition, not examined out of frame.
Estimate $ 6,000-8,000

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