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A rare American Revolution orderly book led auction lots offered by New England Book Auctions on Jan. 29th 2019. Colonel Bedford’s book dated from May 11,1776 – November 6, 1776. This manuscript, particular to the Delaware Battalion, covers a series of battles and their participation, often joining other companies to assist where needed.  This battalion was active in both the New York and New Jersey campaigns.

From Bedford’s Orderly Book

Under the command of George Washington, Colonel John Haslet and Lt. Colonel Gunning Bedford, the 1st Delaware Regiment of more than 800 men, began the trek from Wilmington DE (July 26) to Philadelphia PA (August 4) to New York (August 17).  It was here they engaged in the Battle of Brooklyn, also known as the Battle of Long Island.  During the ensuing battle, the Delaware regiment fought alongside the Maryland regiment under the command of Brigadier General William Alexander (Lord Sterling.) They were given various tasks, that included creating a diversion to allow the Continental Army sufficient time to retreat and avoid destruction by a much larger British army.  During the battle and the bloody retreat that followed, Maryland lost up to 400 men; Delaware fared much better with the loss of only 31.

General Orders; Headquarters   August 23, 1776

Parole: Charleston     Countersigned: Lee

Lt. Colonel Gunning Bedford

…The enemy have now landed on Long Island, the hour 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 position and that of your poverty if you do not [equip] yourselves like men, remember how your courage and spirit has been despised and trodden by your cruel invaders, 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.  It is the General Washington’s express orders that if any man attempts to skulk, lie down or retreat without orders, he instantly be shot down as an example, he hopes no such scandal will be found in the army but on the contrary everyone for himself resolve to conquer or dye[sic], and trust the smiles of heaven upon so just a cause.”

(excerpt from book)

After the defeat in Brooklyn, the Continentals moved north through Manhattan engaging in numerous skirmishes and battles with the British including encounters at Kips Bay, Harlem Heights, New Rochelle, White Plains and Fort Washington in upper Manhattan.  Haslet and his men, who were engaged in all of these battles, took heavy losses and by the time they reached Pennsylvania the regiment was reduced to 100 men. The records in the book end with the final entry on November 6, just prior to the infamous “Crossing of the Delaware” during the night of December 25th.  The final hammer price was $32,000, not including the premium. 

                The rest of the sale went back and forth from past to future with 50 issues of Astounding Stories of Super-Science which brought $2,000,  John Adams and James Madison autographs that sold together for $800, ten (10) circa 1900’s Edward Custis photographs for $1,500, a First Edition  of Eliot’s Daniel Deronda in parts for $850 and Louis Sullivan’s System of Architectural Ornament for $1,000. For additional information visit or call 413-665-3253.

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  • Don Raucher

    Congratulations on a great auction Paul! I can tell when an Auctioneer truly loves the item he is selling and this is one you must have been really excited and honored to be the Auctioneer to sell it. Great job!

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