RR Auction Home
Current Auction Is Open For Bidding
Bidding Closes Thursday January 23
Home |Sitemap|Contact Us| Past Auctions  
 How to Bid   Register to Bid   Auctions   Consign   About Us 
Bidder Login

New Bidder Registration
Forgot your password?

The Current Auction
Ends January 23rd
Advanced Search
By Item Number
Gallery Search
Past Auction Search
How Do I Bid?
What is BidTracker™?
New Bidder Registration
The 30-Minute Rule
Terms and Conditions
New to RR Auction?
About Us
Register to Bid
Jobs at RR Auction
Press Releases
Consign to RR Auction
How to Consign
2019-2020 Auction Calendar
Jan 8
Jan 16
Jan 23
Feb 5
Feb 13
Feb 22
Mar 4
Mar 12
Mar 19
Apr 8
Apr 16
May 6
May 14
May 21
Jun 10
Jun 18
Jul 8
Jul 16
Aug 5
Aug 13
Sep 9
Sep 17
Oct 7
Oct 15
Nov 4
Nov 12
Dec 2
Dec 10
  View All Dates & Deadlines

Item 117 - George Washington Catalog 508 (Sep 2017)

Back To Previous Page
(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $2,500.00
Sold Price: $30,191.35 (includes buyer's premium)


Revolutionary War-dated LS signed “G:o Washington,” one page, 7.75 x 10.25, December 26, 1777. Letter addressed to "Lt. Col. Wm. Lee Davidson, Carolina, Lt. Col. Heath—Virginia, Major Hull—N. England," but apparently intended for William Alexander, Lord Stirling, sent from Washington’s "Head Quarters" at Valley Forge. In full: "The light Horseman you sent up yesterday was by some means overlooked tho' your favor answered by another hand. The Deserters you mention in your last from Colo. Proctor's Corps I have the pleasure to inform were taken by Captain Tallmadge of the Light Dragoons, in the neighborhood of German Town, he has punished them properly. The sending your artillery back I think a very proper step. Should the enemy advance anywhere to our right I shall expect the very earliest intelligence from you, indeed if they move at all. When do you think we can make an attempt with a prospect of success let me have your sentiments on the matter, that if any thing can be done the necessary orders may be given." In very good condition, with toning and light foxing, professional silking to both sides, and all writing light but entirely legible.

Only a week earlier, Washington and his troops encamped at Valley Forge to begin what would become a famously brutal winter. Major General Stirling wrote two letters to Washington on December 26th: this letter appears to be in response to his first. Stirling wrote from General Potter’s headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania, about ten miles southeast of Washington’s Valley Forge camp. In Stirling’s first letter, he explained that a light horseman he sent on the 25th had not yet returned, and that ‘two of Colonel Proctor’s men deserted to the Enemy.’ He wrote, ‘Cannon of no Use here, I thought it most prudent last night to send the four peices of my Division back to the Artillery park,’ to which Washington here responds positively. Stirling also relayed intelligence on the position of the British Commander-in-Chief William Howe’s troops, ’the Bulk of his Army is on this Side Schuylkill.’

In Stirling’s second of the 26th, he referred to the receipt of this letter from William Lee Davidson, a lieutenant colonel of the 5th North Carolina Regiment: ‘I have Just received your Excellencys letter of this date by Lt Col. Davidson.’ Responding to Washington’s query about their “prospect of success” in attempting an attack, he wrote: ’I do not see, that any Attempt can be made with a proba[bi]lity of Success unless it be on those troops which are advanced to Knowles’s within a Mile of the White Horse on the Road from Derby to Chester.’ Based on this intelligence, along with information on troop movements from Major John Clark, Jr., Washington determined that the British troops could be too easily reinforced, and aborted any immediate plan to attack.

Perhaps most interestingly, this letter appears to be previously unpublished and unrecorded. As Washington’s letters have undergone comprehensive census and study, it is a rare occasion when an unknown example enters the marketplace. Boasting excellent battlefield strategy content and dating to Washington’s historic winter at Valley Forge, this is an ideal Revolutionary War letter of the utmost significance.

Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.

You must be a registered user and logged in to view Past Auction Item Images

If you do not currently have an account, click here to go to our secure registration page.

Important Information

Tips For Consignors


For a complete list of auction beginning and ending dates, check our dates and deadlines page.