Revolutionary War-dated partly-printed DS, signed “Go: Washington,” one page both sides, 7.75 x 13.75, June 7, 1783. Continental Army military discharge headed “By His Excellency George Washington, Esq., General and Commander in Chief of the Forces of the United States of America.” In part: “These are to certify that the Bearer hereof Rich'd Cottrill Private in the Second N. York Regiment, having faithfully served the United States six years and six months, and being inlisted for the War only, is hereby Discharged from the American Army.” Prominently signed at the conclusion by General Washington, and countersigned below by Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. The lower portion of the document recognizes Cottrill's six years of service with the "Badge of Merit," and is endorsed by his commander Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt. On the reverse is a statement noting that the certificate "shall not avail the Bearer as a Discharge, until the Ratification of the definitive Treaty of Peace," and that he is to be considered on furlough until that time. In fine condition, with just a bit of light toning along the intersecting folds, rough edges, and show-through from print to opposing sides; this specimen is far more well-preserved than usual documents of this type, and it boasts an ideal example of Washington's signature.
As commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, General Washington took it upon himself to organize and train his soldiers. By war's end, this highly disciplined and hands-on approach carried over into Washington insisting on signing every discharge certificate personally. The 2nd New York Regiment was raised on May 25, 1775, in New York City for service with the Continental Army under the command of Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt. After joining the regiment, Richard Cottrill ostensibly saw action at the Battle of Saratoga, Battle of Monmouth, and the Battle of Yorktown. The regiment was furloughed in June 1783 at Newburgh, New York, and disbanded on November 15, 1783. Dating to the end of the Revolutionary War and featuring a bold signature of the nation's first commander-in-chief, this is an immensely desirable discharge for one of America’s veteran patriots.
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