Lot 111

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G. Washington Letter Boldly Signed, "valuable officers in our Revolutionary War," Dated 2 Months Before His Death

A letter signed by George Washington, responding to a military application for the Provisional Continental Army. 1p, measuring 7.75" x 9.75", Mount Vernon, dated October 21, 1799. Signed "Go: Washington" and addressed to Captain Abraham Shepherd, who had offered his services as a Colonel. Washington writes, "…Whenever the appointment of the officers of this army shall take place, it will be pleasing to find, in the list of candidates, the names of such as were valuable officers in our Revolutionary War…" Matted with a portrait of Washington to the overall size of 22.5" x 15.5". With flattened mail folds and small tears and holes at the folds and edges. Uneven toning throughout as well as some light foxing and soiling. Silking on verso can be removed. With a dark and bold signature by Washington. We believe that expert restoration will make this piece a true gem.

George Washington served as this nation's president from 1789 to 1797 before settling down to a quiet life at Mount Vernon. Despite having retired, Washington still remained politically connected and appealed to Secretary of War James McHenry to allow him to organize President Adams' army. During the Quasi-War, Adams appointed him commander-in-chief of the armies. Washington would serve in this capacity for only 17 months before his death. While inspecting his grounds in sleeting rain, Washington developed a sore throat and chest congestion. His condition was made worse by multiple doctors treating him with extreme bloodletting and other questionable remedies. He died two days later on December 14, 1799.

Capt. Abraham Shepherd (1754-1822) was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, reaching the rank of Captain during his service. He served alongside his four older brothers, making what is believed to be the sole incidence of five brothers having all fought during the war.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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May 31, 2023 11:00 AM EDT
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

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$100 $299 $20
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$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
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$50,000 + $5,000