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Lot 1. American Revolution

We are going to be starting 2019 off in a big way. Lot 1 of our January 29th catalog sale is an amazing one of a kind primary source document of the American Revolution. The period of May 11th to November 6th of which this book spans, was a precarious time for Continental forces and the book reflects that. Bedford writes about the strain of obtaining provisions and records court -martials for deserters. Bedford also records the orders for the daring retreat from Long Island on August 31st.

There are treasures galore in this primary source. This excerpt is one of many,” …the Enemy have now landed on Long Island, and the horn is fast approaching, on which the honor and success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding country depends. Remember Officers and Soldiers that you are free men fighting for the Blessing of Liberty, that Slavery will be your portion, and that your posterity, if you not acquit yourselves like Men, remember how your Courage, Spirit have been despised and traded by your Cruel Invader though they found by dear experience at Boston, Charlestown and Other Places, what a few brave men Contending in their own land and in the best of causes can do , against hirelings and mercenaries, be cool and determined, don’t fire at a distance, but wait for orders from your Officers.”

Here is the full listing for Lot 1 of Catalog 478.

1. American Revolution.

Manuscript orderly book of Lt. Colonel Gunning Bedford, Delaware. Numerous “return” tables. 120 pages. Oblong 8vo, full calf ruled in blind by William Trickett of Philadelphia, contemporary vellum-back, 2-1/4 x 3-1/2 inch booksellers’ ticket on front pastedown (abraded); shelf-wear, 1 leaf detached, some browning, generally sound.

Delaware & New York, May 11 – November 6th, 1776 [10000/15000]

An original unpublished orderly book from the beginning of the Revolution, kept by Lt. Colonel Gunning Bedford of Delaware (DAB) who served in Col. John Haslet’s 1st Delaware Regiment. Orders are given starting on May 11, 1776 at Wilmington (DE) to November 6th, Headquarters near Kingsbridge (NY), some with passwords and countersigns. Early orders contain details of formation, instructions for parade of the companies, rations, tables of returns, guard postings, court-martials and arriving at Philadelphia in early August.  Orders resume on August 17th at New York with notes that Alexander Scammell and Lewis Morris have both been appointed Aide de Camp to General Sullivan. August 14th, Gen. Sullivan orders 800 men to be on “fatigue” tomorrow & to be on the works by 9 o’clock and “the General flatters himself that officers & men who have already sacrificed so much of their own ease, in defence of their Country, will chearfully assist in fortifying those posts…” August 17th, “Benjamin Wallace of Captn Stewards Company…convicted…of desertion & inlisting into another company, sentenc’d to receive 39 lashes.” August 18th, “Tho the fire ships went up the North River last Friday evening were not so successful as to destroy either of the Men of War – yet the Gen.’ thanks the Officers & men for the spirit & resolution in that they shew’d in grappling the Vocscle (?) before they quit the two fire ships…” Lord Stirling’s orders August 23rd, “The whole division is to continue in readiness for action on the shortest notice, and are immediately to be supplied with two days provision…” August 23rd, “Col. Atlee’s Reg. is immediately to parade, & march to the Wharfs near Gen.l Putnam, where boats are ready to convey them to Long Island, there Col. Atlee will take his orders from Gen.l Sullivan. August 31st “After Orders,” “Both Officers and Soldiers are Enformed that the Retreat from the Island was made By the Unamimous advice of all the Gen’ls Officers, not from any Doubts of the Spirits, the Troops, but because they found the Troops very much Fatigued with hard Duty, and divided into many detachments…” September 2nd, “The Center Division under Gen’l Spencer…to hold themselves in readiness to march immediately to Harlam, to prevent the Enemy’s landing on the island.” September 22nd, “having found Eben’z Lefinwell of Cap.’t Cliffs Company and Col. Durkees Regm’t quilty of Cowardice and Misbehaviour Before the Enemy on Monday Last, and also presenting his Firelock…as [at] his Superior officer, when turning his Back a Second Time, which by the 27th article of the Rules and Regulations of this Army is Death, he is accordingly to Suffer Death [later pardoned].” September 28th, “Col Shea is to take charge of Genl’ Miflins Brigade till further orders. Gen.’ Saltonstall is to order in four of the Malicia [militia?] regmt. under his command, to incamp on the hill opposite to Mount Washington towards the point, opposite to the incampments on the other side of Harlam River.”  The final entry on November 6th orders “Every Regiment is immediately to be compleated with three days provisions which they are to dress as soon as possible and get themselves in readiness to march…”

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