(George Washington) Daniel Brodhead 1777 Letter Signed – “Excelly. Genl. Washington”


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Daniel Brodhead IV (October 17, 1736 – November 15, 1809) was an American military and political leader during the American Revolutionary War and early days of the United States. In 1776 as war broke out, Brodhead was commissioned as an officer of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment of colonial troops with the rank of lieutenant colonel. His first action came at the Battle of Long Island, where he was recognized by George Washington for his bravery and initiative. At the battle, Brodhead’s only son, also named Daniel, was wounded and captured. He was soon exchanged, but died of his wounds shortly after being released.

Brodhead took over command of the 8th Pennsylvania after the death of its commander, Aeneas Mackay, and was promoted to colonel. Brodhead led his troops during the defense of Philadelphia in 1777 and wintered with the Continental Army at Valley Forge in 1777-79 In April 1778, Brodhead led a successful expedition against the Lenape bands around the Muskingum River in the Ohio Country. In June 1778, Washington sent Brodhead and the 8th Pennsylvania to rebuild and re-garrison the frontier outpost of Fort Muncy, in what is now Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Brodhead defended local settlers from British-allied tribes.

Two-page letter sent by General Daniel Brodhead to the Board of War, discussing uniforms and officer appointments for the Continental Army, Summerset Courthouse [N.J.] May 20, 1777, signed “Daniel Brodhead” with paraph. Brodhead thanks them for the “bounty of cloathing” and writes that he cannot send them a suggested list of officers for appointment because General Washington wishes to handled that himself. At the time there was a scarcity of officers; Washington, headquartered in central New Jersey, had just under 7,000 regulars including officers, and a tenth of those were sick with smallpox at the time. He writes:

Sir, I am honoured with your favour of the twelfth instant and am happy in the assurance you give me of having my regt. cloathed.

The men were, previous to my appointment, furnisht with more cloathing than I knew of when I wrote you, and no stoppages have been made for those cloathing because Mr. Mease had not informed the officers what the prices were.

If I am rightly instructed, the men are by resolve of Congress entitled to a bounty of a suit of cloathing each, and stoppages shall be made out of their pay for those they have had.

I would with greatest cheerfulness send you a return of the officers of my regt. as it now stands, with the names of worthy gentlemen to fill the vacancies – but his Excelly. Genl. Washington having been wrote to by Genl. Lincoln, on account of the scarcity of officers to the the duty of the regt., hath commanded me to send him a list of the vacancies and officers in order that he might issue their new appointments in the regimental line, and condemned a proposition for filling the vacancies with more worthy men. If therefore your Honble. Board was to proceed to the appointments of new officers, such as I could undertake to recommend, your appointments would certainly interfere with those made in the regimental line by his Excelly. I wish his Excelly. had not been wrote to on the occasion and will write you as soon as I am informed what hath been done by the General.

If it will give you any satisfaction I will upon the the first Notice send you a list of the officers.

Housed in a wonderful half morocco and cloth clamshell box, spine gilt.

Folds. Light soiling and wear at folds, edges chipped with small loss to address text at top edge.