Lot 1(Mexican - American War) Major Archive of Military Life in Mexican War, archive consists of 9 long letters from Members of the Anson County, North Carolina Volunteers covering the critical period of March 1847 to March 1848, totaling 23 pages and approximately. 6,000 words, seven are dated and postmarked with varying types of "Brazos" straightlines; one has a light New Orleans cds, and one was hand carried, the 8 postmarked letters have matching "10" rate markers, seven of the letters are from William Ross Allen Jr., one from John Ballard, and one from Alexander Birmingham, all three men were members of Company c of the Anson County Vols. under the command of Captain Martin Shine, written to their friends and relatives back in Wadesboro or in the care of the Beverly Post Office in North Carolina, the letters are in nice condition, complete with primitive spelling and grammar, the Anson County Volunteers of Company C were primarily assigned to escorting supply wagon trains, but these letters give a vivid account of camp life during several important battles including Buena Vista and Cerro Gordo, disease and contaminated water took their toll on the troops, and discontent with the lack of pay created tensions in the camps, Very Fine and interesting.
Estimate $7,500 - 10,000.
An example of the archive, the first letter March 16th 1847 from William R. Allen reports on his 17 day ocean voyage from Smithville to Brazos, Santiago, stating that "…they was one man that died on the water one of Yancy Company by the name of Currer. He was buryed in the ocean and on the day we landed they was one of the men kild by a rod of iron that broke on top of mast and struck him on the head and split his open - he died in short time…" He goes on to describe the perils of the trip, the bad water on board, and the mistreatment of the volunteers. He then suddenly talks about the first major battle of the War, known as the Battle of Buena Vista. On February 22, 1847, Santa Anna with 20,000 men, marched north to fight General Zachary Taylor. Entrenched in the Buena Vista Pass with but 4,600 men, Taylor was attacked by a force of about 15,000 men after refusing to surrender. Allen describes the events, "…Now I must tell you some thing about the great battle that took place at Santilio (Saltillo was a city southwest to Monterrey that Talor had occupied). They was about 7 thousand marines killed and one thousand americans killed. The Mexicans force was double the amount of americans. I have thought I have seen a great many waggons in Ceraw but that was nothing. They is one thousand and fifty at this place and five mules to a wagon. You can make a calkerlation and tell the amount and about five hundred yokes of oxens - it is amazing to see them all…". A full description of the archive has been made and is available on our website.
Lot 2(George Washington) Last Letter Dictated by George Washington in the Hand of His Secretary, Tobias Lear, Autograph Letter, one page with George Washington's watermark, unsigned to John Halsey datelined "Mount Vernon, Decr. 13th: 1799" ordering Madeira win for Washington one day before his death, in the letter Lear tells Halsey, a New York merchant, that a Mr. J.M. Pintard had offered to sell George Washington "one or two pipes" of Madeira wine "at three dollars per gallon." The wine was in the custody of Halsey in New York and Lear had written Pintard to take him up on the offer. But, worrying that Pintard may have already left the country, he asks the merchant "to send to the General one pipe of the wine mentioned, upon the terms expressed…", in an unintentionally poignant postscript he adds: "You will be pleased to address your answer to His Excellancy General Washington.", the next day however Washington was dead, Very Fine.
Estimate $15,000 - 20,000.
It was a stunningly fast moving tragedy. Washington seemed in good health on the morning of 13 December - certainly the fact that his secretary could make such casual plans about wine shows there was no dire sense of urgency, no deathbed vigil-taking place in the Washington household. The General made a horseback inspection of his plantation in wet and wintry weather and returned complaining of a cough and hoarseness. Thinking he was suffering from nothing worse than the cold Martha Washington had recently experienced, he took to his bed, but woke up at 2am with fever and severe shortness of breath. Martha called for Tobias Lear, who summoned Washington's physician, Dr. James Craik and the plantation overseer, George Rawlins, an "expert" in bleeding. Lear would be a witness and chronicler of the tragedy that unfolded over the next 20 hours, as Craik and a sequence of other physicians administered a disastrous and painful regimens of bleeding and blisters. They extracted an astonishing 80 ounces of blood - 40% of his body's supply - in a 12-hour period. At about 10pm, with Lear and Martha at his side, George Washington died. Undoubtedly, this letter was the last dictated by Washington prior to his death.