Item #7491 [Manuscript pass dispatching two men to Fort Ticonderoga during the Revolutionary War.]. Capt. John Kirtland.

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[Manuscript pass dispatching two men to Fort Ticonderoga during the Revolutionary War.]

Norwich, Mass., 20 May 1777. Manuscript document in ink, 4.75” x 7.5”, and separate nineteenth century note in ink below, 1” x 7.85”, both mounted on a larger leaf, 6.75” x 10”. CONDITION: Very good, one small black ink stain at middle-right of the pass, light dampstains to pass, old folds; tears to larger leaf, but no losses to the pass.

A manuscript pass authorizing two men to join the forces defending Fort Ticonderoga, issued less than two months prior to the siege of the Fort (2–6 July 1777) by British General John Burgoyne during the Saratoga Campaign.

The pass reads in its entirety:

Norwich [Mass.] 20th of May 1777 by Virtue of Liberty from Major [Lemuel] Clap and the approbation of Col. Ezra May. I order the bearers Sirjt[?] Elijah Geer and Jabez Storey who were detach’d from ye company under my command to reinforce at Ticonderoga for two months in the Division commanded by Colonel David Wells, who was not able to march with the Company they are to join, to proceed on their march to Ticonderoga by the way of Bennington and join the company commanded by Capt. Christopher Bannistor in the above said Division. [Signed,] John Kirtland, Capt.

A nineteenth century note affixed below the pass reads, “A Revolutionary Pass—preserved for its antiquity, as a holy relic. Found among the papers of Doct. Jason Bannistor, son of the [present] Capt. [Christopher] Bannistor.”

In May of 1777 it was well known that General Burgoyne was organizing troops in Quebec for a campaign intended to take control of the Lake Champlain/Hudson river corridor, thereby dividing the New England colonies from those to the south. Fort Ticonderoga, commanded by General Arthur St. Clair, would be a key target of Burgoyne’s efforts and St. Clair busied his men—some 3000 regulars and militia—in strengthening the fort’s defenses in anticipation of a siege. In spite of these preparations, Burgoyne’s superior force of 7000 regulars and 130 artillery pieces forced an American retreat in early July and Ticonderoga fell to the British. As the length of their service at the fort was specified as two months, the men dispatched by the pass offered here would have been present for these events.

An evocative survival of the military activity surrounding the Saratoga Campaign, and Fort Ticonderoga in particular.

Item #7491

Price: $2,250.00

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