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Price Realized: $40,000 With Buyer's Premium Show Hammer Price
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Sale 2461 Lot 7
REQUESTING INTELLIGENCE FROM HIS SPYMASTER (AMERICAN REVOLUTION.) WASHINGTON, GEORGE. Autograph Letter Signed, "G:Washington," as Commander-in-Chief, to Benjamin Tallmadge, requesting intelligence concerning troop numbers and locations, and inquiring about a possible enemy landing. Written after signature is a statement in the hand of recipient's son, Frederick A. Tallmadge: "This letter was addressed to Maj Benj Tallmadge, 2 Reg't Dragoons. / F.A. Tallmadge." 1 1/4 pages, 4to, written on the recto and verso of a single sheet; lacking address leaf, folds. "H'd Q'rs" [Wayne, NJ], 4 November 1780
Estimate $25,000 - 35,000
"You would oblige me by ascertaining as soon as possible the following things.
"The number of Troops and different Corps that composed the last detachment which is supposed to have gone to the Southw'd.
"The truth of the present report of another Imbarkation taking place--when it will happen--and to what amount in Men and Corps--and who is to comm'd the detachment.
"The present disposition of the remaining Troops on Long Island and York Island and the number at each place.
"You cannot be too expeditious in your communications on these heads--distinguishing between things certain and matters of mere report."
with--Frederick A. Tallmadge. Autograph Letter Signed, "F.A. Tallmadge," to New York City Mayor William Frederick Havemeyer, sending "the last & only letter that I possess written entirely by Gen'l Washington[ton] to my venerable parent." 1 page, 4to, with integral address leaf. New York, 26 November 1845 * 7 letters between editor of The Writings of George Washington John C. Fitzpatrick and the owners of the present letter regarding publication of the letter's text. 1930s. Most with the original envelope.
Published in The Writings of George Washington, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, vol. 20, pp. 292-93.
The intelligence resulting from Washington's request in the present letter ultimately bore fruit. In his reply to Washington, dated November 7, Tallmadge summarized the reports of two spies, Samuel Culper and Caleb Brewster, remarking that 300 tons of hay is stored at Corum, NY, and that a detachment of loyalist refugees have built a stockade around a house nearby; he then offered to take the fort and destroy the hay before the enemy could use it. With Washington's approval, Tallmadge led a successful raid against Fort St. George (Manorville, NY) on November 23, destroying the forage and taking a number of prisoners as well.
Provenance: Benjamin Tallmadge and thence by descent to F.A. Tallmadge; thence by gift to William Frederick Havemeyer; thence by descent to Sarah Chandler Havemeyer Armstrong; thence by descent to William Frederick Havemeyer Armstrong; thence by descent to Sarah Chandler Armstrong Potter; thence by descent to Chandler Armstrong Potter; thence by descent to current owner.Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $40,000